“There is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings”
– James Shirley
Recently, one of my readers who often leaves precious footprints on my desolate blogs, remarked how an image posted by me invoked both disturbing and pleasant memories in him. I was left with little choice but to ask what it was that stirred him so.
He wrote back that while he was still a child of five, he had witnessed dogs feeding on a human body on the banks of Ganges, somewhere near the scene of the photograph. He was probably pleased also because it brought back the other memories of childhood.
My friend, if you forgive my little game of one-upmanship, I also happen to have witnessed dogs feeding on human carcasses twice. While on one occasion it was a headless adult, it was an infant the second time. Please don’t ask me which of the two was more sickening. It is probably part of the bargain of living so close to a river as holy as Ganges.
It also boils down to the sad cliché that death is a great leveler. Not only in the sense that it eventually ‘lays its icy hands’ on all, but also in that once it has befallen, all are reduced to helpless bags of meat ready to rot, if not quickly consigned to fire, water or earth, or be eaten by maggots, vultures or rather less fashionably, by dogs. Different cultures have had different methods of performing last rites and none of which may be particularly exhilarating for the one awaiting the farewell.
But the dead are beyond pain and fear. It is for the living to writhe in agony. More than the cadaver, it is for our sake that we mourn the death and perturbing ends.
Think instead how it is like being chewed by rabid dogs alive? Sounds barbaric? Kings, generals, raiders and tribesmen are known to have submitted their victims to various kinds of carnivores alive, not long ago. If the heinous deeds of Adolf Hitler are already a saga, gentlemen like Idi Amin have had first hand taste of the victims. Back home, the legendary master-servant duo of Nithari should still be smoking fresh in our memories.
But, my friend, I want you to focus on more sinister phenomena that put both cannibalism and canine-balism to shame. We are being ruled by morlocks who are restlessly prising out billions off our bleeding entrails to fill their overseas coffers. Even as we pine for basic needs and amenities, they are erecting monuments and statues of self costing millions. They are rewriting the history to establish their unquestioned right on our living body till they can extract the last ounce of protoplasm out of it.
Take a look around the quotidian business of life, too. The grocer mixes deadly substances in our groceries, the milkman supplies white liquids worked out of urea and the chemist supplies caricatures of drugs. If the education system renders us desperate enough to rob and steal, the healthcare system has the potentials of turning us into assassins. Bristling industrialists pay ridiculously low income tax and power bills even as we pay through every orifice of the body. The criminals itch to pounce on our families and meagre fortunes. The police want their own pound of flesh or else they beat the hell out of the complainants. The courts tell us they jolly well know who the criminals, rapists and murderers are but are unable to do anything because the investigating agencies have eaten up the evidences without any trace.
So fear not the dogs that merely clean up the system and fill up their stomachs in the process too. Beware of the morlocks who rip off our living flesh because we gave them the gift of life.