By Kabir Deb
Night fell with clustered stars selling toffees. I have never thought of being a part of her night & the upcoming dark days. She slept after a quarrel with her brother over the baby the mother horse just gave birth to. “It’s mine, I used to feed her every day,” her brother spat with fury & anger, the innocent anger. She overlooked his anger to let him keep her, but decided to name it after her own life, Pashmina. He took the name with a smile on his face, lips fading off the anger he had for the horse, to evolve into love for his sister. Pashmina was still a baby, not able to catch the balance this world demanded. Rehnuma took the blood-drenched body, after her brother fell asleep with dreams of Pashmina carrying him to the far-off land of surprising heaven. She took Pashmina to make her bathe with the water she safely kept for just her birth. No one knew that Pashmina was going to land today, except her. Maybe that’s what peace looks like, always knowing when chaos will erupt. She made her bathe, gave her a manger full of grass with the knowledge that she had to walk miles with her & her family.
I lay inside Pashmina. Inside the bigger & complex dimension of birth, I tried to curl myself to know Rehnuma more & more. When Pashmina slept, I peeked through her closed eye, to witness Rehnuma curled with her brother. Night went to sail on the sea of the day’s age-old darkness. Rehan, Rehnuma’s brother, had to go to pick up logs & make the goats graze off winters, evidence of death. “Please take care of my Pashmina,” he said to Rehnuma with a praying face. “Ours, I gave the name,” she said with a smirk. They hugged tightly, as deep down inside that small, naughty heart, he wanted Pashmina to be with his sister only. The grip was so tight, that even roots would feel inferior before them. And then both of them departed towards two hills lined with natural witnesses.
Pashmina grew the balance with ticking time. With every speed block, her tongue met winter’s last breath, taking it off the grass. Rehnuma was jumping with Pashmina’s child – like walk. It was a walk, as the balance was still to be learnt. Far away, the temple bell rang like Rehnuma heard about the gong of Frankenstein. “Listen Pashi, the bell just made your food come near you,” she spoke for the first time with her horse. Pashmina suddenly felt a jerk on her back, making her land hard on the ground with Rehnuma failing to stay on her feet. It was Deepak Kaka, who threw a stone over her house, when they first made the tent above the hills. He took Rehnuma on his shoulder and kicked Pashmina from the hills taking her life. I came out with that death, learning that I was not caged, rather I never knew that I can fly. I flew behind Rehnuma with curious eyes searching for a single sigh from her mouth.
All of a sudden, a sound, the mixture of failing breath & incoming death, struck my ear. It landed so hard on my eardrum that I was pushed to change my route towards it. I saw Rehnuma being taken towards the singing bell of the holy temple. I knew that temple. Pashmina had that inside her heart. Rehnuma was making the bell sing as Deepak pulled her with her fingers wrapped around the string of the bell. My route changed again after two shoulders, one from eastern side & other from western side, pushed me hard. Two forces from opposite directions made me change from the same position back to the same position. They ran to catch Rehnuma with arms strangling her neck to stop her breathe. Her hand lost the grip & she was taken before an idol of a red saree-wrapped woman, sitting above a tigress. They took Rehnuma to her room & made her spread her legs. One tight hand ripped away the skirt, whose thread fell over the woman’s red saree. They threw her, while Deepak wore a saffron cloth to light a lamp to make him enlightened with new ideas to keep violence alive.
After finishing his work, he gave his two pupils a handful of sweets to make them drip violence over Rehnuma. The walls of the idol’s room started to bathe in the blood she was losing with every pierce of their penis. Another push & I faced another drop of blood as I got stuck in the walls filled with blood. Her blood spat me over the idol, which was all wet with her excreted pain. I never saw the arbitration of time, a prayer-filled room turning into a zombieland of future. I came to know that the idol was their God, when the third person knelt his head before it. Dumbstruck. Surprised. Out of breath. Out of words.
I kept my struggle with the idol to fade away her pain. The struggle maybe was my prayer for Rehnuma. The third one entered with a dusky brown skin all around him and said, “Is that whore dead? We have to set an example for her community. Remember?”
“Oh yes, I do remember. She is alive. We would set fear in their heart. Have you bought the sedatives?” Deepak said. The third one took out 24 sedatives to make her sleep & fertile before she wanted. “You two have completed your thirst. Where’s Surdeep?” he asked. “I called him, he will be here. Oh look, here he is. Come on you asshole, look at her.” I saw the bloodthirsty eyes of life for the very first time, as Surdeep looked to the sedated & hundred-times raped Rehnuma. “I want her to die,” said the third one, the protector. “Sure, I will first make her pay her birth & then gift her death,” Surdeep said with a loud laugh.
He went near Rehnuma, as she lay there before me with death curling over her sedated & bloodstained body. He took her in his scary arms, did the penetration that I witnessed for hours with fading day & much darker night. He strangled her with the churni she bought last winter. Broke her backbone with his knee & slowly with ticking clock dislocated her neck taking her life. I felt all of that but the surprising moment came when I got detached from the idol & slowly lost my consciousness. My eyes started to see through the darkness & no, there’s no light after darkness. It’s just more darkness with more curiosity of what lay ahead. I never knew that I was not in Pashmina. Nor in the world. I was in Rehnuma’s wishes. She wished me to be a part of Pashmina’s life & meet her pain, which replicated every day with thousands.
Now as I lay with Rehnuma, she was conscious in my unconsciousness & vice-versa. We felt the throb as they threw us into a jungle, immersing us beneath a pit full of clay. We heard Rehan’s cry over Pashmina’s death & the last thing she said, “Forgive me Rehan, I failed to take care of Pashmina but I will make sure that Pashmina comes inside every woman you will meet with your passing life.”
Kabir Deb was born in Haflong and completed his schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Karimganj, graduation and Masters from Assam University, Assam. Poetry has been his passion and a hobby from childhood and he looks forward to change society with the power of poetry. His work has been published in ‘To be my Valentine’ edition of Hall of Poets, Reviews Magazine, Bhor Foundation, Different Truths Magazine.
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