The night is really silent today. It is dark here. The wind is sharp too, pinching my bones. It’s cold, it’s black, it’s an appalling manifestation of death itself. I look into the darkness, and something looks back at me, a constant shiver runs down my spine.
Look at the trees there, why are its boughs moving in such a bizarre way, what is there? And that noise, a bird? or an animal? or something else? Oh my God, why is it so dark here? Or is it that I have gone blind? I don’t understand what is it going on around here?
Hang on, what was that? A bark? A dog’s bark? Is it wild? It sounds hungry, it sounds angry. But it sounds similar. Wait, I can see it, there it is, slowly walking towards me. But is it…no it can’t be. It is Mars, my pet dog. No it just can’t be, I killed him myself, so that she did not sense me sneaking out of home a month ago.
Oh…what am I doing, what am I saying. Am I getting mad? Why is everything so blank? I run my hands through the air, why can’t I hold anything? It is amazing isn’t it, air is all around you but you can’t hold it.
I laugh, a clear laughter of a drunkard, a mad and dirty laugh fighting its way up a dry and coughful throat.
Now, as I sit underneath the cloudy sky, I feel sad, I feel lonely, even the stars have decided not to show their faces to me. I am such a misfit. I am such a miserable human being. I killed my own wife, my own sweet little daughter. I wonder, do I have the right to stay alive? Do I even fit in this world? Do I even deserve to show my face to anyone?
I cry. But no tears come out. I scream. But it’s just a whisper. Funny isn’t it, even my body is betraying me now.
I laugh again at my miserable self.
I feel a cold sensation near my waist. I know what it is. I hold it and take it out. Oh, just look how it shines in this darkness. It’s so magnificently beautiful. Its beauty is best felt at night, in this moon-and-star-less night. But it has got some red stains on its body, stains of blood.
Ah, what am I doing? I have drunk a bit too much today. This bloody piece of metal severed me from the world, and I am praising it? Shame on me. But I don’t know why whenever I look at it I feel mesmerized, I feel like caressing it, I feel like loving it. After all it is the only one that is still with me even after all the crimes that I have committed. It has proved itself to be a worthy friend.
Those days seem like some long lost dreams to me when I had a family, a loving wife and a frolicking and cute little daughter. I used to own a farm of chickens and I used to sell them to the sellers who would in turn sell the chickens in the market.
Life was good, really good and safe and without any worries. But I, from the very childhood, loved adventure and was craving for something or the other. I, gradually, became bored and tired with this humdrum lifestyle, where I knew everything that was going to happen. Waking up in the morning, I knew what was there for breakfast. I took the same bus to my farm everyday. There I did my usual chore. At night that same dinner almost everyday, except for some festive days. Who would like such a non-happening life? I considered myself very lucky at the beginning, but then with time, I felt suffocated, and they say time is the best healer!
I started to lose my temper very often. I started to beat my wife. I started to grow unhappy with my life. I started to consume alcohol. I went to the dance bars. But still, none of these could give me the happiness, or rather the craze that I was looking for.
Then one day, my helper, Ramu, came to me, asking for some money, his mother had some disease that needed to be operated.
He gave me a knife, a well carved and sharp knife. He promised to return the money that I would give him and take back that knife.
I agreed, and gave him the money.
That day before closing down my farm I took the knife out from my drawer and looked at it. It had some kind of a magic in it, some incoherent magic presided in it. I ran my finger along its edge. It got painted in red. I got surprised. Yes, this was really magic.
I put it back in the drawer and left the farm licking my wound.
That day, I spent very happily with my family. I played with my daughter, I loved my wife. Everything seemed to magically come back to normal. I felt relaxed. A strange happiness engulfed me, I felt light.
The next day, as soon as I got back to the office, I took out the knife and kept staring at it. It was so nice, so beautiful. It was like I could spend my entire day staring at it.
I closed the farm from inside so that no one could disturb me. I took the knife inside the farm, took a chicken and one run of the knife through its neck was all that it needed.
I again felt that same kind if happiness, that relaxed feeling. I came back to my cabin and closed the door.
I was feeling sick, so I turned the fan off and I sat at a corner holding the knife hard. The knife was mine, I won’t give it to anyone. No one. I can let everything go but not this knife, never, its going to stay with me till the very end, it is mine, only mine, mine, mine and mine. Anyone who comes to snatch it from me would have to face its sharp and smooth edges.
I took it to my home with me. But I didn’t show it to anybody, nor did I tell anyone about it. It was my secret, it was my life. I carried it with me to anywhere I went. Its sharp pinch at my waist always gave me some unknown happiness and I felt relaxed. Gradually the left side of my waist got wounded. But I liked these wounds, these were the wounds of my new found love.
And then after a few days Ramu came back. I remember that innocent smile on his face, he carried a box of sweets for me. I remember him telling me that his mother was well again. And then he returned me the money, and asked for the knife.
I extended my right hand as if to hug him, and as his smiling face got behind my ears, I was surprised to see how smoothly the knife went into his stomach. And when he pushed himself back, I saw the power of the knife, how it transformed a smiling face into a frowning face, full of pain and disbelief.
I saw him, how he succumbed on the floor. I sat on my chair, my beloved knife in my hand. I watched how he
writhed in pain, how the blood went profusely out of his body, his vain attempts to stop the flow of blood, his eyes crying for help and mercy, and how he gradually seized moving anymore.
In the evening, I returned to my senses, I buried him in the farm, washed the blood on the floor and went back home.
That night as I slept, I thought, what did I do? I murdered a person for no reason at all. I murdered. I would have to go to jail for the crime that I had committed. Ramu’s mother might still be in the hospital waiting for her son to discharge her and get her home. He was such a nice guy. I got up from bed and took out the knife from my jacket. Oh, how it shined in the dark. In a flash, all my depressions and horror was wiped away by an evil comfort.
A few days after that went by. Ramu was still missing.
Then one day the police came to my farm. They knew me quite well, so some nice words and showing some fake compassion for Ramu and his mother was all that was needed to persuade the police.
That night I felt a bit more relaxed. I knew that I had committed an ignominious crime, I should have felt sad and scared. But none of such feelings occurred to me. I was somewhat light and relaxed only. I had unknowingly grown a liking and belief for that knife. I felt powerful and unconquerable every time I held it in my fist.
A year went by. I had then grown bored of testing the might of knife on meager chickens and stray dogs. I had by then started killing people. Every month one or two murders was necessary to keep myself calm. And it had grown something very normal to me, something as a part of life. I had realized that death is always coming closer and closer to us how much we try to hide from it. I had started looking at the many people around not as living beings but as mere objects walking on the earth.
Oh, and I must not forget about my and my daughter’s most beloved Mars. He was more of a son to me than just a pet dog. How it barked everyday when I came back home from work! How it licked my feet and cuddled up beside my slippers on those long nights when I would be calculating my monthly profit and loss! It obviously sensed my killing instincts, but it remained silent, faithful in every sense (I laugh).
That night I had no intention of killing it. My wife and daughter were away. And that night only my killer instinct pricked me. Normally I used to come home late on the day of my murders, killing people on my way back home. I got up from bed, took my knife and was about to go out when Mars started to bark, feeling my presence. I tried to pacify him. But he didn’t let me go, perhaps he sensed that I was going to do something bad, perhaps he smelt the blood stains on my knife, my best friend and well-wisher in every sense! I became happy to see how much he love me. I sat beside him, he licked my face. I can’t explain how happy I became at that moment. This is all that we want, to see our love being reciprocated by the ones whom we love. Mars cuddled up on my lap. Then suddenly, I don’t know from where a shining piece of metal went into its throat and a harsh and soft bark was all that Mars could do in protest.
It coughed out blood, and tried to bark to me, the barks grew softer, yet deep. I could feel the impossible pain he was going through in order to bark, but barking was all that he could do. It ran, or rather tried to run, around the room for a while, and fell on the ground right in front of me.
Then it did something I have never experienced before. He crawled on my lap, and rested his head on my thigh, just like little children running to their mother only, even if she is the one scolding them, because perhaps they know that their mother’s lap is the safest place on the earth for them.
I was overwhelmed by the love Mars showed me. I sat there for how long I don’t know, running my hand over his furry and soft back.
I got up. Took some good amount of money, our land-line telephone and our radio along, broke the lock on the main door. It was supposed that I had to go out that night for some important work, and burglars broke the lock on our door, stole some money, the phone and the radio, and brave and poor Mars lost his life when he tried to stop them.
Soon, the area where I lived became a scary area, with murders almost every month and burglary also starting to take its toll. Even I felt scared, and warned my daughter to not stay out of home for late. I used to come back home earlier than usual. It was not that I was really scared and freaked out, neither was I turning into a psychopath, I knew very well about the murderers. It was just that I was enjoying my part in the play.
As a part of the play I started sleeping with my most beloved knife under my bed. One such night my wife mockingly told me, “This old knife is not going to help in anyway if we are attacked.”
I couldn’t sleep that night. I twisted and turned on the bed. At last I got up, and one swift and smooth cut at the neck was all that was needed to show my wife the power of this old knife.
I came back to my place on the bed, and I kissed my daughter, I loved the way she slept at night, so innocent, so sweet, so calm. I loved kissing those soft and bulging cheeks of hers. I playfully ran my finger over her cute little face. She sleepily pushed my finger away. I smiled, and did the same thing again, and she again pushed my finger away. I was loving the game. I did it again. This time she held on to my finger in her fist. I kissed her on the forehead. She is my life, she is my everything, she is my queen, she is MY daughter, MY blood runs through her veins, she is my and I am hers.
And then slowly her fist got lightened as blood spurted out of her small tummy, as the tip of my knife pressed harder and harder on her stomach. And I fell asleep.
Suddenly I sat up on bed. I was feeling cold. The whole bed was wet, with blood.
I had a bath, covered myself in a blanket, took my knife, and came out. I walked to the station, got up on a random train, and I have been traveling since then. I would get down at a helter-skelter station, and board another haphazard train from there.
My killing rate increased to almost a person a week. I would wait for anyone to go to the washroom, and as that person would open the door of the washroom to come out, my knife would welcome them. The money I got from their purses would help me buy my food. My journey in that train would end in the next station only.
Then one day, as a train stopped in the middle of a jungle, I don’t know why, but I got down from the train.
I had been traveling on foot since. I had been to many villages, killing the people who did the mistake of letting me stay for the night at their place. I was more of a walking stone then, devoid of any feelings, any ambitions, any destination. I could not feel the warmth of summer, neither the cold of the winter, nor could the rivers after the rains. Slowly, even nature gave up on me. I was as hopeless as one could be. I was alone, I was nothing but a waif. Funny isn’t it, at one point in my life I wanted adventure, now that I had the scope for adventure, I couldn’t feel the taste of a cliffhanger.
I was leading a miserable life. I always had to stay under cover. I grew feeble due to malnutrition. I grew thin and weak. My face got covered in beard. The only thing that was still full of elan and youth and still shining in the color of blood was my knife. It never grew old. It was evergreen. It was magic.
It is magic.
How it changed my entire life!
I sleep. I can see the sky, a sky full of stars, but I can’t appreciate it. I feel bound. Oh I can’t take it any more. I want to go back to my life as a free and normal man. As if my hands, legs, my entire body, even my mind is tightly roped. I can’t move, I can’t think. Only a push from behind is driving me. Is it what they had for me? I had always believed that everything that is around me was there to give me company, they were there for me. But now, is this what they have got for me? This? How much I try to untie this rope, it gets even tighter. Aaaahh.
What is it there in the sky? The stars…no…the pattern made by the stars…oh I see her, it’s her, it’s my daughter. Oh my lovely little daughter. She has come to her daddy seeing him in pain. Oh you don’t know how much I love you, my queen. I think of you. I haven’t slept. I can’t forget you, never. I roam around, but, my child, but my heart is still there with you. You are always in my heart. I feel intoxicated. Thank you I say to the stars. I request them to please stop moving. Just stay where you are. Just one request, I want to see her. There, her sweet little nose, and there her soft pink colored lips, and her bulging cheeks, there I kiss you. Oh so soft! I want nothing more. I just want to lie here, lie here for the whole life and stare at your pretty face. It fills my cold empty heart with an unmatched warmth. And I just discovered one thing. I might be mad, but I am not dead.
I feel happy. Yes. I am not dead. Yes this is for me. All of this. Thank you again, to make me realize I am still alive. My heart might pound madly, but it still beats.
I look at my knife. I feel proud.See, you are not the only one alive and youth, I am no less than you. I control you, not the opposite. You are mine, I am not yours.