Narayan… Narayan…

October 30, 2008

Remember… remember…

As I hear news about the serial blasts in Assam, I am reminded about something similar that happened in Hyderabad… yes, serial blasts…

I am publishing the words of a good friend, Parnab Mukherjee.

CHORUS: I took the shortest route through Belief’s sad country

where archangels. on the Word’s command, slew my word

Aga Shahid Ali

CHORUS:

Please don’t slice the sky

Dip your dissenting finger in this pock-marked landscape

Make Che a little more than your T-shirt

Yes,

it is secular list

so said a political leader in Rabindra Bhawan

after the Hyderabad blasts

yes, one of the many in politics

who feasts on that old rhetoric of “our” and “their” divide

for heaven’s sake let’s not dig this scrutiny and surveillance trenches anymore

somewhere cowards who have programmed

a Prince quartz clock

to let go at 7.40pm at Lumbini Park and 7.50pm in Koti

must have drawn up their private secular lists

too

Sir,

I am looking at the list

and feeling ashamed

you must have a self-congratulatory smile on your face

CHORUS: I don’t think artists can avoid being political. Artists are proverbial canaries in the coalmine.

When we stop singing, it’s a sure sign of repressive times ahead

Theresa Bayer

And looking at the images of photographers shooting the lonely shoe

and also the passerby who keeps flower at Gokul Chat

Yes,

the list is out approximately 45 killed

or rather between 42 and 45

approximate lists for approximate human beings

about 60 injured

numbers do matter in preparation of secular lists

don’t they?

I know how the stake knife is sharpened

and how the little blood clot forms at the tip of this knife

I know how blasts rip apart our consciousness

how bodies fall like nine-pins

how dead bodies roll on the floor

gets collected in a heap

before you throw a white sheet over them

I know how we die

how we eat splinters

as they explode and implode

how bombs enter and change the nature of our gullet

I know

that’s why I bleed

We all know

that’s why we all bleed

Gokul Chat in Koti

Lumbini Park overlooking Hussainsagar lake

series of blue benches

headless bodies, legless bodies, lonely shoe, pool of blood, buckets of blood,

new blood, old blood, stale blood, trickle, downpour, drops…

all kinds of blood make dying look so easy

dying was never difficult

as bombs ripped apart our consciousness

claiming, reclaiming, declaiming

at the end of it all add a “y” to make the word blood

bloody

I mean add a “why”

WHY

mangled real

mangled surreal

Time kills. Time heals. Gaping old scars. And the eyes that grow inside the scars.

I know now why cold blood is called cold blood

hot blood is hot blood

I know that beyond redemption

forgiveness

hell

there lies a zone called

burning ghat

burial ground

crematorium

and out there somebodies become some bodies

motionless

still

stone tablets that proclaim that you once lived

I know so I bleed

We all know so we all bleed

I can see that you see my wounds

And you can see that you don’t see yours

Small doses of blood

that turns into experimental playground of dynamite sticks

Neogel 90 with ammonium nitrate

I know how the stake knife is sharpened

how the edge drips with blood

how blood takes it’s own shape

how we realise that we bleed

that I bleed

why hot blood is hot and cold blood is cold

yes

there’s still this bomb that never went off in the Dilkhushnagar area

then the saga

of

half-burnt bodies,

half-baked hands,

half roasted legs,

half-barbecued upper parts,

half-fried lower

would have had more names

Names do matter to those who draw up secular list

CHORUS:

A secret turning in us

makes the universe turn

Head unaware of the feet,

and feet head. Neither cares.

They keep turning

Jalal-uddin Rumi

blood bandage

bandage blood

What do i do as a theatre person?

sentences after this are never straight

they become curved, crooked, grammatically incorrect with disorienting imageries

sentences that float mid-air

sentences with lost alphabets,

missing vowels

sentences that rebel

each phrase slugging it out with another

sentences fight

sentences meander

sentences tell me

about the sentence that I cannot write

at the relative anonymity of the drawing room and chat rooms

we still shed crocodile tears

smile crocodile smiles

and write crocodile small cheques for solidarity fund

Hyderabad,

I can see a pile of solo heads becoming the neck of the Necklace Road

headless, neckless, limbless, bodiless spectre

visit me

in my insomnia

I can see death in conversation with dead

deliverance in conversation with hellish redemption

And life re-asserting itself amongst the mounting stockpile of private sorrows

a pool of dried tears

an art gallery installation of small wine goblets filled with red-ink to signify blood

and as artistic tributes flow in

Buddha laughs

Buddha smiles

at the Hussainsagar lake

dead people grapple with the memories of dying

the lonely shoe on the road

the lonely pair of glasses

red stains amongst the white sheets used in the morgue

all add upto the jigsaw

why

who

why

whowhy

who

whywho

why

why so much blood

as whys multiply

poem becomes a cliche, death becomes numbers

the lonely shoe is packed up as evidence

it will remain as one

till the time

it withers

fall apart

flying comments

fly like papers all over

typically out of a Guru Dutt frame

CHORUS:

The fences have grown to a jungle

now how can I tell my children

where we came from

Tenzin Tsundue

raw skin brushes against the sky

open wounds

does not want to be covered

Hello Hyderabad

the new and the old

the one with three colour-halftone-zinc

and the one with digital

the hi-tech

and the sepia

the liberalised new distancing

from the old

the new trekkers and the old

ones who lost way on the zigzagbad

all of you

all of us

and most importantly all of them

It’s time for another a play

we have to invoke Cherabandaraju

and talk about the otherness of the body

locate Buddha smiles, lonely shoe, dead sentences, dead captions, dead lines

please don’t talk about secular lists

sir,

death is a death

ashes are ashes

tombstones are tombstones

crocodile tears are crocodile tears

lop-sided development between the old and the new parts exist

any death is a death

any loss of life orchestrated by those who bulldoze humanity

must be condemned

and in our extreme nowhereness

let’s just raise a silent toast to

our shamelessness

And be ashamed

CHORUS:

And be ashamed

I have been associated with Parnab during my theatre experience. An excellent orator, an artiste and a great person. I had done a play “The Otherness of the body” – a performance based on a series of poems by Cherabandaraju and other Telugu writers interspersed with some of his texts

This was a piece of his production “Finding Hamlet”, and was written immediately after the August 2007 Hyderabad serial blasts.

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