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E-Pao! EI - To the lane of Butchered and back

To the lane of Butchered and back
By: Kshetrimayum Imokanta Singh *



One steamy summer afternoon and a semi-non-vegetarian (fisheggtarian = fish+egg+tarian, to be precise) navigating the lane aside which his vegetarian friends lied butchered, whose bloody frozen heads piled one above another on the altar of that pot-bellied butcher with that wry smile on his bearded face!

One never dare not construing the amusing analogy between the two, both having the quota of turf in their chins, one is natural and another religious/ritualistic. But the analogy stops short there and the stretch of contradictions start unfolding, one 'serving' and another 'served'.

That was a day when the maaa...yyy...ing of those goats was silenced with the single strokes of the razor sharp jumbo knife of that butcher, in the lane of the Jama Masjid of Old Delhi.

Two tales of state of being haunted me constantly, even after I left that 'religious' yet 'callous' lane, one of the 'lived' and another of the 'living'. The former is less enchanting as their share of acting and culmination to the destiny had already been accomplished.

Their story was told by those mortal remains - battered heads with fixed and expressionless gazes to the passers-by, billowed reddish fleshes on their ribs, skinned lower halves of their legs, complete with their hooves... and finally the 'turmericed delicacy' brewing in the large pots, ready to be savoured.

I thought they were done once they settled down in the serenity of the gastric juices of the non-vegetarian tummies.

The tale of the living has two facets, one of fastidious and the other gay abandon kinds. The former was exemplified by the character which was dragged by its long crumpled ear, by his tormentor and butcher-in-waiting.

It was a scene of resilience, rebellion and finally individualism which were trying to resist the incursions into his state of living. I thought it would not easily give in to its destiny which was already crafted by others on the guillotine.

His was a foregone case of a struggle bound to be trampled. But it was determined to leave a mark of how he tried to wring the hands of destiny and how he died.

The other character, a well-fed and clean one, was cosily seated, just next to that industrious and sweaty dhabawala, ruminating, probably, its last lunch. The sun was tormenting for us, Homo sapiens, but it remained oblivious and relaxed, its head held aloft with those two curled superstructures called horns.

It seemed that it had already thrown itself into the jaw of destiny, understanding the futility of kicking and jumping, saving its energy at least to enjoy the remaining lifespan no matter how short it was. What an unmotivated character! Then I thought in verse,

"He who has neither memory of the past nor
the sight of the future lives the freedom the present bestows;
His is the life lived ceremoniously, whose is not smelted by the callous world of consciousness and education;
O goat, thou remain tranquil in the face of hardship!"

Returning from that lane was easy but not stamping out the scenes from the curtains of my mind was. What a homology I find between them and the characters in the human societies or for that matter the various facets (id, superego, ego, if one likes) and their tussles and compromises present within the mind of a human individual or the repressed desires of the 'unconscious'!

Some characters live their seen world (front stage) with meticulous strategies to leave their prints in the leaves of the history, cloistering their unseen (back stage) world of sleaze. Some relentlessly tread along, taking both their front and back stages braided in one string of life.

There are some who remain only at the back stage shying away from the limelight, irrespective of their roles being active or passive.

Then there are characters, like the well-fed goat of our story, who are elated just chewing their share of life oblivious of 'goods' and 'bads' of life.

Are they just passive creatures whom should be silenced? May be there is politics of/in silence, I wonder!


* Kshetrimayum Imokanta Singh, a Ph.D. Scholar at JNU, Delhi, contributes to e-pao.net regularly.
The writer can be contacted at [email protected]
This article was webcasted on Sept 19th 2005



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