In my wildest dreams,I would not have thought of the scene my eyes witnessed. Everywhere I could see blood. My eyes reflected the red as my heart felt the hatred.
The place where there were fields full of greenery,now soaked in red. I heard voices.
“Oh they are back!!” My reflexes worked and I quickly looked for a place to hide.
I pretended drop dead as I adjusted myself between two dead bodies. A filthy smell covered me all over. As the voices came nearer, I held my breath. They shouted religious statements. I could smell kerosene. Suddenly the smell seemed stronger. I dared to look what was happening. They threw kerosene all over the dead bodies and they lit matches. The whole field started burning. The smell and the lightning engulfed me and I waited… I waited to be burnt alive. Suddenly the heat reached till my legs and my nose filled with smoke. I closed my eyes and prayed.
The rotten smell of the bodies was now replaced with burning smell . I wanted to run, but I could not move. If I moved they would cut me into halves and if I didn’t I will turn into ashes in no more than fifteen seconds. Baffled and scared I thought to chose the former. I tilted my head and saw no one was around. I realized I cannot hear religious chants anymore. I jumped on my heels and took shelter behind an almost burnt tree and gazed at the burning bodies, the bodies between which I was hiding a few moments ago, were now ashes.
I had to escape, I wanted to run.. run back to my hometown, to my mom, but I could only run till the end of the field. I wanted to call home but I didn’t had a phone. I searched for a known face while hiding behind whatever I could find. But all I could hear was cries, curses, chants and prayers. All I could see was blood and flesh and red burning eyes with vengeance. I remembered a place near the field where we used to go after our college. I ran to the familiar place. The place which was no more familiar but at least had a roof. I decided to hide there for the dark night.
The dawn gave me some warmth and I peeped out in search of some life. As I searched around my eyes got hold of a little child clinging to a dead body. I went near by and almost had a feeling of nausea. The body seemed to be of the child’s mother. there was a rope tied to her neck which meant she might have committed suicide. I tried to separate the kid from the body and take him somewhere safe so that he can be unseen by someone who can harm him. The kid was tired and hungry. He looked like three year old, with tearful eyes he looked at me. I got hold of his hand and took him near my shelter for the last night. In an attempt to soothe him, I asked his name.
“Aaquib” he said and I went in an afterthought, should I be with him or not… The memory of last night flashed in my mind. Even when inside I was having a war with myself, outside I kept calm and tried to talk to him.
Then the kid asked what I had feared, he asked my name and I uttered “Ram”. The horrifying look on the kids face made me wonder that how this small kid can identify the religions by name. It was the most disheartening feeling I had ever had.
“Don’t worry , you are safe” Somehow the words came in my mouth.
He kept his head lowered, still scared. I didn’t knew what to do next. I knew he was hungry and so was I. I thought to go in search of food. We walked hand in hand for a while. Today there were no chants, I looked around to find half burnt trees, roofless houses, door less houses, crying women, crying men, directionless children, wandering crying children, all scattered….. and then I spotted a newspaper guy, a tea seller, a policeman, few people on their bicycles. I could see life. The life that pretended as if nothing has happened. the life which overlooked the grief caused. I stared at the policeman who was eating Tabaco and asked people if they will like to take name of any certain person responsible for the chaos. The Hindus blamed the Muslims and the Muslims blamed the Hindus. Losses were on both the sides, so did this mean anything anymore?
“Bhaiya I need some food” Aaquib said and I knew I had to move on.
I went to the tea shop, searched my pockets and asked “two teas and that biscuit for me and my brother please”.