The Final Journey

A death march was in full swing. A cacophony of drum beats, trumpets and noise disturbed the peace of the otherwise silent surroundings. Flowers were littered throughout the stretch of the road and the place looked like a wedding in full swing what with the dancers and the musicians. Some solemn and glum faces were visible amongst the crowd in stark contrast to many who seemed to enjoy the procession.
Amidst the exuberant celebrations, a speck of white was visible. On close inspection one could see a man in his late 40s, cursing the procession. He was tired and badly in need of rest but he willed his ailing back to bend forward and sweep. Cars and bikes whizzed past him. He was beginning to feel dizzy now. He took a few uncertain steps here and there, and suddenly, dropped to the ground.
Lying face down on the bed, she was still brooding and crying. Despair and fear continued to haunt her even with the police reassuring her that her child would be found soon. He was always a difficult child to deal with, but now alone, in his absence, she realized that her world held more love for him than what she had portrayed down the years. She was missing him and it was hurting. She remembered … All those arguments, all those negative emotions, the tension, the trauma, the uneasiness that had crept into their relationship. God, please, please…give me another chance.
He was carried home by his friends, he was told. His children were crying. He had no money to even buy them a meal. Overcome with overwhelming guilt, he didn’t have the guts to face them. He looked away into a far corner of their hut and lived his life all over again in his mind. God had not been kind to him. He had not even helped him out during his troubles. He thought of all the others in the world, those politians, those cricketers, those actors… Sometimes, he wondered, if God is really all that goody-goody as his devotees claimed. He wondered whether god even had any heart at all.
She wasn’t able to sleep. Facing the ceiling, she wondered if the police had sorted things out. She didn’t have anyone to fall back on, to lend her a helping hand in these turbulent times. God is cruel, she cursed. He had after all, left her all alone in this world with her baby for company after a car crash wiped out her family. He wasn’t really that bad a child, she thought. She was now feeling guilty. Her hard ways seemed to separate the two of them hour by hour. He had gotten so upset at one point that he had stormed out of the house, only to come back the next day. He came back for me, she thought. He loved me. Silently, she wept. The empty bedroom was her companion and maybe, God too… if He was lurking somewhere nearby.
The night passed.
Today, is payment day, he gushed. Putting on his best clothes that he could afford, he rushed early in the morning to the government office. He had promised his wife new provisions. Maybe he could buy a doll for his children. Maybe a clay horse… something to make them happy.
“Good news, ma’am, we’ve located the gang. We’ll bag them soon…” The police had called early in the morning. She was overjoyed. God was alive after all, she thought. She really wanted to put the past behind her and start afresh. After all, her child was the only one whom she could call family.
“Don’t you know, the government went on an inspection yesterday and found your beat littered with flowers and all. They say your job is not satisfactory. They refused to give you the month’s payment.” Shell shocked, he leant against the office wall, hands on his face, and cried out loudly. Cursing God…cursing fate… cursing life. There was no way they could survive now. He had seen enough of it. I’m tired of my life, he wept. God, I’m coming to you… I’ll give you a peace of my mind as soon as I get there…
“ma’am, on inspection of their grounds, we found that your son is no more. He has been murdered on these very grounds sometime yesterday. We’re sorry ma’am…We truly am”. Overcome with remorse, she couldn’t cry… tears flowed but it was silent. She turned right and there she could see it. There it was, yearning to be visited by someone. Her empty outstretched hand… it was crying out for warmth of her child. Crying out for the comfort of his soft hair that tickled it as he slept. Whatever the day, whatever the hour, he had always slept on this outstretched hand for fifteen years. But now truth finally dawned on her. She couldn’t go on, she couldn’t bear her outstretched hand to be of no use anymore. Gasping for breath, she turned her eyes towards the ceiling, towards heaven… towards the fan… she had an idea.
A death march was in full swing….
Three of them, infact.


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