A bag of hungry bones

The women lived across the railway tracks, haggard and vulnerable.
They had their vulnerability on ...
loved deeply within her soul .He sat on the large wooden box near the
kitchen expecting an answer from her to this questio...
The magic of my body
Belongs to me alone
And not to this moron

I look in the mirror
I have gone through it all
The creaki...
refusal of her child to come into this world? She had no option other
than to protect herself against these dangerous peop...
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A Bag Of Hungry Bones

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A prose poem

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A Bag Of Hungry Bones

  1. 1. A bag of hungry bones The women lived across the railway tracks, haggard and vulnerable. They had their vulnerability on their bodies deceptive to the eye. Underneath there was a steely toughness of spirit and a most cutting irony which was not lost on him. They did not need his sympathy and a reformer's gushing empathy. They could take care of themselves. Did he imagine an abyss of bottomless misery in the holes of their eyes? What was it that lay in the depths of their hearts waiting to be discovered? He could not swallow their pride and the utter comic relief their apparent helplessness provided as though the women were laughing at him, a most despicable member of the human species which conspired to create their apparently helpless condition. Once he accompanied a bunch of cronies, at the dead of the night, to a local brothel merely because he wanted to experience it not as a young student trying to go through the chiaroscuro of life's varied experiences but merely because he wanted to feel one with the women spiritually .He wanted to take their souls in his hands to comfort them for the nice feelings it left behind in him. That was how his thinking worked in those days. At the same time he felt guilty about God knows what when he confronted the woman who seemed to laugh at him for his apparent lack of nerve. He espoused freedom which meant not merely of the soul but of the body. It was ludicrous to imagine that the women had forfeited their freedom merely because they bartered their physical forms for a few pieces of silver. But that was what he thought and believed. He abhorred violence .He never approved the physical battering his mother’s cousin used to routinely perform on his hapless wife. When he asked the woman why she had been tolerating the violence on her body being inflicted by a thin and wiry husband she laughed it off saying that she had no option. But why would she not protest? He looked into her laughing eyes looking for an answer to the terribly vexing question of why she would carry on a love affair behind -the - curtains with a low-caste man knowing full well that she would get a battering at the end of it all. It was all a part of the deal: that was what she used to say. She carried on an affair with a low-caste man because that was what one would expect from a woman who would get a battering at the end of it. And why would she get a battering at the end of it all? Because she carried on an affair with a low-caste man! It was all a part of the deal: that was what she would say as he sat near her in her kitchen sipping her tea while her cows were returning home. He wanted to ask her whether it was true that out of her four children one resembled, in facial features, her alleged low- caste lover but that did not matter and he never asked her the question. Her shining nose-ring sparkled against the fire of the stove as she expected this devastating question from him, whom she
  2. 2. loved deeply within her soul .He sat on the large wooden box near the kitchen expecting an answer from her to this question which he had not brought himself to ask. She wanted the question from him very much because she did not want it from anybody else. He only wanted the answer to the question but never wanted to ask the question because he loved her deeply within his soul .She wanted to tell him the truth which she alone knew if only he asked. He wanted the truth from her from her own account so that he could continue to love her. A lot of questions came to his mind. What was it that made her go through the banality of an extramarital relationship with a low-caste man who had nothing to recommend as a lover? When he wanted to ask her the question a lump in the throat came from somewhere and nothing eventually came out of him. Again she wanted to tell him why she went through the horror of this relationship and the absolute pointlessness of it all. There was something about him, which made it impossible to complete the triangular transaction of a fruitless relationship between him, her and the faceless lover because it was he who made the relationship pointless. Years later he tried to capture the pointlessness of an adulterous relationship in a poem: Adultery This wretched body A handful of bones And aching tissue Plays the melody of purposeless passion His bony fingers Wrought fine music Out of my rosy-hued body In the warm summer nights I steal another's man Our sweaty union Derogatorily called Adulterous love, goes on Under drawn curtains And smothered lamps. Waves of tiny ants crawl Under the burning skin Tingling, tickling The underside of the knees This pathetic creature Wants me to whisper Love-words into his ears
  3. 3. The magic of my body Belongs to me alone And not to this moron I look in the mirror I have gone through it all The creaking door , The sound of the flush The gathering of the clothes The inane small talk The attempts at politeness It is so painfully boring . This wretched body A bag of hungry bones And aching tissue Remains as yearning as ever. His cousin Laxmi had her first bout of depression, like her mother, at the age of eighteen. She sat morose and hunched up with tears streaming down her cheeks .Everything was wrong with the world and there was nothing one could do about it . Her splintered personality took no notice of him who tried to superimpose some external meaning on the entire thing. He tried to comfort her saying that everything was not wrong with the world and even if it was , it did not really matter to her or to him . She did not apparently agree probably because she felt that the world was beyond repair. The more he tried to comfort her more she cried because he gave her the feeling that he was responsible for all the ills of the world. He felt absolutely distraught and could not look her in the eye. It was only the next day that she shifted the blame on to her brother and he felt relieved. After marriage Laxmi went into a second bout of depression this time leaving a permanent scar on her fractured personality .She felt that her husband had no business to carry on an affair with a girl in the neighborhood .She also felt strongly that he might kill her because he did not like her at all and wanted her to go away to the dark inky infinitude of the other-world. She kept vigil at night because he might strangulate her or liquidate her otherwise because she had heard of such things happening. She had her own logic as to why this would happen .Her logic never failed and it was better she remained vigilant. It was this logic which haunted her all the time. There were phantoms of people all around her who were making wild gesticulations at her trying to make her feel that her inner logic was at fault. The specters of people around her were closing in on her jabbing their filthy fingers at her face. Weren't they responsible for the
  4. 4. refusal of her child to come into this world? She had no option other than to protect herself against these dangerous people who were getting ready to finish her once and for all. The dark rings around her eyes betrayed no emotion but only fear, a stark fear of the cruel world which was gunning for her all the time. Alone she stood in this terrible world trying to defend herself against their machinations. Years later, he recapitulated her condition in a poem: Ramblings of a Schizophrenic My splintered consciousness is A medley of broken images Shards of shattered tough-glass Pierce through forced attempts at order Dark and threatening circles Close in on my eyes, concentrically. My muscular male arms Negate my underlying femininity Sometimes I am male, sometimes female Sometimes I am me, sometimes somebody else. In my unified moments I attempt in vain to gather pieces of broken glass for a multi-hued kaleidoscope the kaleidoscope remains a dream I only collect bleeding injuries. My soul lies inert, in a glass jar in the amniotic fluid of primordial confusion as research material for neuroscientists Cushioned in chaos, there I lay Afraid that the jar would break one day.

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