COUNTDOWN

60
59
58

 A loaded vest fits snugly on my slender frame. It clings to my torso comfortably. My loose salwar-kameez flutters against the breeze and I hear memory murmur…

Rude grunts of one-sided lust
Overcome subdued screams of despair.
A pair of eyes hidden in the dark
Cry silent tears behind coarse greens
Tracing paths of teardrops behind armed lines. 

45
44
43 

My dupatta flaps around my braided hair, tamed by branded rubber-bands. I feel the texture of memory…

Sleek shiny metal fits into fingers
As hands run over the surface
Of carefully crafted earrings
Hanging from earlobes pierced by bullets,
Dancing around armoured smiles with AK47s for teeth. 

38
37
36

I climb the steps of the abandoned warehouse, adjust the ‘PRESS’ badge dangling from a noose-like ribbon around my neck, and peer at the scene from the rooftop. A large crowd chants his name and memory tickles my nose with the smell of…

 Freshly mowed grass fighting with dirty boots
Kicking unconscious bodies of suspects.
Suspicion forces batons onto battered frames
Pain satiates rifle-butts
And torture grins over bloody carcasses. 

21
20
19 

I make my way through the crowd, push past enthusiastic supporters with an apologetic smile and fix my head into a knowing nod to assure my cameraman. Nervous sweat trickles onto my lips as memory tastes…

Smoky ash swimming in freshwater,
Rendered stale by the stillness of algae-filled lakes.
As paradise flicks salty tears into the bosoms of its people
Salinity floods lives confused by
Legal terminology and censored news.

10
9
8

I discretely press a button resting behind my kameez and bestow a 1000-Watt smile on the Minister. The electricity of my grin begins the countdown as I ask a flattering question. The Minister chats like an old acquaintance while his bodyguards restrain the crowd. I see numbers flashing past…

5
4
3
2
1

 Fireworks spin around our bodies
Cracking bones with light and sound
A loud disclaimer rends the air
And fatal blasts leave smithereens behind
To decorate currency-garlands
With soil drenched in my people’s blood. 

 May peace be with you.

Written by Tript Kaur
Featured Image by Kanishka

 

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