Thirty Eight

Om bhuur bhuvaha swaha, tat savitur varenyam,
Bhargo devasya dheemahi, dheeyo yo naha prachodayaat.

The head-priest at the temple two kilometers away plays it on his tinny but loud speaker system, every morning at four. I know this not because I’m religious, but because I’m wide awake at this time, standing at this accident prone intersection, and trying to make sense of different kinds of mangles.

Here, the drunk, the sleepless, the one who couldn’t gauge the curve of the road and the incidentally there, come from every demographic. Male, female. Owner, sibling, child, parent, friend, thief, chauffeur. SUV, moped, public transport. Driver, pillion, pedestrian, homeless.

However, they all break at the same joints, hemorrhage and bleed the same red.

Standing at this junction, dealing with the deceased is something that I just do.
Like breaking official rules and smoking the 4:00AM cigarette. Like chanting the Gayatri Mantra by default, without really giving thanks to the creator.

The abruptness of how these lives have ended, is routine for me.
The cruelty is in telling their survivors to move on with life.

Today, I find myself censoring gore to a mother. The boy was 22 years old, clearly pinned and decorated with each of his mother’s hopes and aspirations. I can barely tell her he was recognized by his bike insurance papers, and very little else.

This woman refuses to break down.
Maybe it’s in the way I say it.

I try again. Try telling her she will never see her dear one, ever again. The dead, they’re part of a time that was.
And now, time has changed. Now is something else.
A something else needing new cognition.
We pray for divine light to illuminate our minds.

I don’t know how else to tell my wife our son is dead.

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