My homeland is ruined. Man and nature alike robbed us of our land.
I sensed the tears that ran down my cheeks. I was infuriated by this mockery. The tears were of no use now. All they could do was wash the blood off my face as they rolled down.
I could hear the scuffing jackals in the distance. Something slithered over my feet. A good stare at it and it looked like my spine was leaving my body. All my tendons and ligaments laid waste without it to support them.
It was pitch dark, the only light were those of the stars in the sky which reminded me of burning pyre of my family and friends. Pyres that were lit for reasons unbeknownst to me. The fire had no warmth. It was cold, cold as death.
The foul smell of the putrefying flesh invited the rats and the vultures. The only purpose of vultures’ life was to tear apart the rotting, pus-filled flesh with their sharp beaks. They waited few days before they began. One almost felt thanking them for their courtesy. The battles of foolish men always left a feast for them.
The men will find me soon. At least that is what I hope. Or else I will be lost in the scorched and cracked landscape. In a few days, there will be no distinguishable difference between a dog’s cadaver and mine.
I hope they give me a proper burial. After all, I was a ruler.
Death gestured towards an open grave. I wasn’t afraid of it. I have been thinking of it for some time now. Thousands of us fought bravely and lay slain in the mud where once stood a great kingdom.
I was born in Vidharbha, a beautiful city in the west-central India. Our lands were as fertile as our mothers. Mother Nature was kind to us. Our religious beliefs were simple – Live and let live. Our women gave birth to great rulers who ruled their land with benevolence and kindness. They provided for everyone.
Our homes were simple and we built even simpler palaces. Our homes had lands especially carved for gardens, orchards, and vineyards. We loved our trees and plants and they loved us back. In Vidharbha everyone was equal in the eye of nature.
A sharp pain woke me from my dream. I saw an old, saggy vulture tearing my guts out. My blood was not sufficient to quench the thirst of my land. I saw a lonely star in the far corner with its fire burning low. The fire, an all-consuming, all-destroying fire. My Vidharbha was destroyed. I can still feel the embers of my dying city. We lost all hopes. Our gardens were gone. Mother Nature left us. She couldn’t bear the heat.
We elders sat and discussed our future. It was during one of such introspective days that, these strange looking men came to our city. They closely looked and observed everything, they made notes. They were the priests from the temple of Lord Kubera. Kubera, was the wealthiest man in all three realms. He was worshiped as a God. He had many temples across the Aryan land. Every temple had multiple priests. These men would walk the forests, cross the rivers in order to help the needy.
They offered to help us rebuild the city from the ashes but in order for their services, we need to pay the price. We agreed. With their help, we rebuilt the city.
It was noon now. The sun was on fire. The old and saggy vulture was gone. The heat was killing me. Not that I wasn’t dying already. My mind takes pleasure in vanity even now.
Vidharbha was built again. We plowed and tilled our lands. We sowed the seeds. Then we waited. We waited for the rains. We waited a long time for them. We cut open the heart of the ground and dug deep. The mother earth’s bosom was also bereft from any respite for us.
There was no water. We prayed and we prayed hard. We prayed with all we had. All that we could muster. It was time to pay the price. The priests came back. We begged for more time. But time was something they didn’t have. They took our cattle and forced us out of our homes.
A rogue red ant found an unusual way up my ear canal and chewed upon the ear wax, perhaps the only savings I had.
Our city turned into dust. We had to pay the price. The elders met. The women and children were sent away. The men followed me to the forest. We needed to pay the price. We slit each other’s throat. Those who couldn’t do this hung themselves on trees.
I lie here with my brothers waiting for my debt to be paid. I think I saw a rain drop. It’s difficult to see with rats chewing on your eyeballs. Perhaps the mind is playing tricks. The skies betrayed us.
I just hope I got a proper burial…
“20,504 farmer suicides have been reported in Maharashtra since 2001. The government data shows Vidarbha was hit the worst last year, with around 1,541 farmers committing suicide last year.”