I’ve been trying to wiggle a lot this past month. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, till my face is blue in the corner one-seater as apoplectic debaters fume and combust the television over the carnage of nineteen soldiers in Uri by Pak grown terrorists.
The moon over the window remains as pale as ever though. Worse, I think there is a shade of blood on its face.
Wrapped in the national flag, frame after frame of shoulder-borne coffins bound homeward to mourning families take over in high definition grief. This is not the first time that we are a witness to mangled returns of the investment of a father, a mother, a wife, a brother, a sister, and sons and daughters, into the motherland. Sadly, this would not be the last time either. Thousands have laid their lives heretofore in the ‘thousand year war to bleed India to death by a thousand cuts’. Countless more will follow them in tricolour shrouds. We have been leaking red all over as per the script of our enemies.
But at 357 degree Celsius, the mercury had hit its boiling point in India with the fedayeen attack on the army camp on September 18, 2016. With the tough guy image that had propelled Modi to the prime ministerial chair, eyes of the nation were glued to the man feted for the girth of his chest. Yet, for six tortuously long days and nights, not a word could be heard from the portals of Delphi. The silence would be broken after six days in a speech where the incident was mentioned in a sentence, that the martyrdom of the soldiers shall not be allowed to go waste. I wiggled some more to digest the vague claim, little knowing the oracle for the ‘surgical strike’ had been delivered.
The nation has wasted a million man days since joyriding, speculating and regurgitating the Indian Army’s Jack Reacher moments in the killing fields of Pakistan on September the 29th. Popular conclusion has it that not less than fifty monsters have been dispatched to whatever heaven they had been aspiring for by the Indian para-commandoes wielding formidable weapons of assault that night. To the long aching hearts of the commoners, it was like a cool mountain stream finding its way into the parched lands. Sweet is the river of revenge.
Sweeter still, is the fear that it instilled in the deathly hollows of jihad. Pakistani establishments, civil and military, caught with their pants down were one in their vociferous dismissal of the claim. It was not only their honour at stake, the entire façade of a state resting on pillars of subversion and radicalism was experiencing tremors. As if to reassert their existence, they relapsed to their nuclear blackmail like a clockwork. After all, they are the ones who have been eating grass for a long while just so they have the atom bombs.
There is a grimmer understory to the saga, however. Or depending on the viewpoint, there seems to be a silver lining in the dark clouds. While the masses in India were on cloud ninety nine, a deathly quiet had descended on the home-grown political mafia. For about a day after the ‘surgical strike’ was revealed to the populace, the powerless and the power-starved mimed along with the government in situ. And then, a certain Muffler Man struck deep with a video that is rumoured to have given Machiavelli a paroxysm in his grave in Florence. Even as he saluted the Prime Minister for his courageous decision in his clip, he requested him to furnish a proof of the surgical strike to counter the Pakistani propaganda trashing India’s claim. And with that, the first pebble was hurled at the condemned minister, loosening the inhibitions of the predators. Claws holding on to stones swung and took aim. Raucous notes rose to a cacophonous symmetry. A hailstorm of execrable innuendos was let loose. Fake! Joke! Brokers of the blood of martyrs! Molesters of the army! Stop, kneel, apologise and never ever dare! Country’s most risible bachelor and his puppets had spoken. The balloon of Indian euphoria had been pinched hard and was diminishing in size. The congress of crows had descended.
Weirdly, a few days later, when a Pak police officer blabbered the truth about the high precision Indian operation, the crows flicked their beaks a tad to the right. Surgical strikes? They came a dime a dozen when the ravens wore the crown!
In case you have forgotten my predicament through all this rambling, I am still wiggling in the corner sofa whose springs have scribbled an epic on the very organ they are meant to comfort. Much has been said and evaded about Pakistan by the powermongers of the world and I will spare the readers the details. However, if the ruthless turncoats within the country are feeding the fangs of a terrorist state by corroborating their lies, they are also absolving them from the burden of an overt military response, among other things. And by joining the chorus of generals and their puppet governments that keep promising to unleash a nuclear rain on India, they are saving the whole planet from a certain nuclear holocaust.
To cut a winding story short, I realise, nothing less than a Nobel Peace Prize is in order for the crow-in-chief and his muffler-cloaked cohort, regardless of their original intent. I trust the Academy has wiggled its definition of greatness of late, has it not?
OMG – you know how to swing a cricket bat…
Bruce, I have been trying hard not to swing anything of consequence of late. Yet, I’d love to do that if only to hear you say something. Thanks for being there!
How beautifully you write of terrible things…and as the springs of the sofa scribble their epic on your derrière I ricochet between caring about the suffering (and stupidity) of humans and the sublimations of your art.
I believe you are correct about the wiggling of the definition of greatness….so many scoundrels, including the soon-to-be-replaced presider of my country, have been awarded the Nobel Prize of late.
(on a lighter note, the poet/musician/painter Bob Dylan, now aged 75, was recently awarded the Nobel and—typically of my coevals of the 1960’s who were his fans—is just going along with his usual work…not sure he’s even going to go to the ceremony to accept…)
Cynthia, these have been testing times for all of us; they continue to remain so. Tricoloured coffins are heading home day after day. The mantle of peace that India has been covering itself with is tattered and bullet-ridden. To that extent, we are glad that the country has shown a willingness to meet its butchers upfront and serve them a dose of their own medicine. For a while though, we were all afraid there will be a war and it will set us back by at least ten years or so, or a hundred years, if it were to be a nuclear war. The planet would suffer too. Remember, Pakistan makes no secret of its intentions stated succinctly in its First Use Policy at the drop of a hat. Who else they are going to nuclearise: China or Russia? However, India’s problems do not end just there —it is harder to fight the enemies within. We are more a Mafiocracy than a Democracy.
Then, I may have no locus standi in the affairs of the United States of America but I am stunned at the show that is underway there. Come to think of it, it used to be a nation beheld as the touchstone of human values. How have the mighty fallen!
As for the nobility of the Nobel Academy, I am afraid it may have bitten more than it can chew in Bob Dylan. Time to wiggle, folks!
Wow, you really know your words. Loved this.
What are words but a sleight of tongue? Thanks for the feedback.
But I’m more worried about goons who are taking the refuge of patriotism to bully and threaten.
Also, I don’t see anything wrong in questioning the veracity of the surgical attacks. Isn’t this what democracy is all about?
Purba, we are confusing the cause with effect. People don’t need a reason to be bullies. Anyway, ideals like country and patriotism are passé. Certain Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will testify to that. The problem with questioning the veracity of the surgical strike is it was announced by the army rather than a political party in power. If you don’t trust the guys who stand their ground in fusillades of 45 mm bullets and howitzers just so the façade of democracy keeps going, you may as well be living in fiction.
Now, thats what I always love about your art of perfect expression………….neither screeching/ loud to the extent where words lose their meaning and only sound remains nor so subdued and muffled that it becomes inaudible but just the perfect…… One can’t ignore it…it hits the nail on the hand. Sarcasm wrapped in the ‘muflar’ in such a way that it becomes hard to cry that a blow has been delivered. Springs of corner sofa must be rocking with delight….after all with this piece ,that one is honored seat.
Namita, I will cherish that compliment for a while even though the attributes you have alluded to remind me of a half-cloaked face in muffler… 😉 I am abdicating that corner seat for the well-being of my cardiac muscles, if not for the bumper. I will return to the wooden perch set against a glass top in the diner.
Legitimate sentiment well expressed.
I will take a wiggle.
Aye mere vatan ke logon……why does all your beautiful writing always remind me of songs! Someone wrote the other day….Lata Didi please sing again. Uma Shankar I had goosebumps as I read this….I salute your courage in writing this.
To tell you the truth, Shubha, I needed courage to stop me from writing this. I managed to smother the urge for about a month before I succumbed. Many thanks for those kind words!
Loved it. And agree with every word. Only you can write about news in haunting lyrical prose. My friends husband, a colonel in the army was equally sad. What can be worse than your own doubting you at a time when the coffins are arriving almost every day.
As it happens with almost all your posts, I’m going to read this again. And that says it all.
Those are kind words, Alka. These must be doomed times when doubting Thomases and Janes are the latest rage, institutions like JNU have been hijacked by parasitic kraits, treason is in the very air.
Anything is possible in this era… a singer getting Nobel prize for Literature, heads of states for peace prize….a Fox News/Times Now anchor for world peace is not far fetched anymore…May be they can be awarded for literature as well, as one can hear the hilarious cacophony of virulent populism can be interpreted in any manner.
Finally, someone gets to my cribbing against the mockery of literature by Nobel Academy touched upon in the post. Then there is the Monkey Justice of the Peace Prize coronations and I wonder if our home-grown thugs aren’t prime candidates. Thank you for the razor sharp observation, Sabyasachi.
It is only in this country, where the media deigns itself the mantle of questioning and explaining in detail all the military operations without even considering whether they are equipped to do so. It is voyeurism of another kind. They have no inkling whatsoever of how demoralising it is for the soldiers. It is only India where the stature of the men in uniform will be degraded every time there is a pay commission. But that is another story. Use and throw seems to be the mantra. Frankly, I was sick of the ‘surgical strike’ on all kinds of media and the visuals of tricolour shrouds in a loop when they did not mean anything except for a few days of tut tutting. Your words, dear friend, struck a deep chord.
No, this might not be the only country where media are the self-appointed Solomons. What is happening in USA is eye-opening. That said, there can be no parallels to the depths we are capable of descending to and that includes the media. And when the blinding lust for power of the Indian political mafia combines with the hurricane of ‘breaking-news’ tribe, the outcome has to be lethal. The country is being methodically administered this deadly poison, the end is near.
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