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Leh Belaiyaa Bhool Bhulaiyaa

What is this claustrophobia of repetitive sameness? One leader. One slogan. One flag. One colour. One caste. One.

By Sankarshan Thakur

  • Published 31.03.19, 9:55 AM
  • Updated 31.03.19, 9:55 AM
Is it a dungeon? Is it a catacomb? Is it a labyrinth? Is it a hall of mirrors?
Is it a dungeon? Is it a catacomb? Is it a labyrinth? Is it a hall of mirrors? Image: Anon

We are heading somewhere. But where it has become difficult to tell. In fact, more than just difficult. It’s baffling to tell where we are headed, because we seem to be heading in many directions and different people are saying very different things about what it may mean to be going in those directions. When we are told we are heading straight, other people seem to think we are heading backwards. When we are told we are heading up, other people seem to think we are heading down. When we are told we are headed sideways, other people seem to think sideways, this side or that side, is no way to head. Ki mushkil. Are we even headed? As in, do we even have heads any more? Or have we all been beheaded and are flailing about six inches shorter than we used to be? Without heads any more, and without, therefore, the ability to do what heads are meant to do. Perhaps that is what it is then, we are not headed.

And therefore it has become even more difficult to make sense of where we are headed or where we might not be. It is like staring at that grid of whatever that you see. What do you make of it? No, it is not the way Mahadeb headed out, or the way Mahadeb might be heading back. Mahadeb is followed by illumination, even when he vanishes into the dark.

There is no illumination here. There is only a repetitive darkness and confusion. Can’t tell what’s what. Can’t tell one thing from another. Can’t tell what’s the way in. Can’t tell what’s the way out. Can’t tell what may be going up. Can’t tell what may be coming down. Can you? Is it a dungeon? Is it a catacomb? Is it a labyrinth? Is it a hall of mirrors? Look at it again. Carefully. And try to tell.

What is this place we are in, this uneven, ill-lit place? A place from where there seems no way out. Is there where we had wanted to head? This closed suffocation? This claustrophobia of repetitive sameness? One leader. One slogan. One flag. One colour. One caste. One. One. One. One. One. One. One voice, the only one, echoing ad nauseam, bouncing and ricocheting off these walls, and getting shriller and shriller… haaanw, haaanw, haaanw, haaanw, haaanw! Chow, chow, chow, chow, chow!! That same voice. That only voice. That voice which has brought us here. Into this place where it is likely we are all beheaded and flailing and headed nowhere from.

But go we must, should we not? From this noir setting closed upon itself? You see doors. And more doors within them. And within them, windows. All shuttered. And so opaque of shape you cannot tell which way they open, if they open at all. You see a city, piled upon itself. You see masonry fallen upon masonry, and masonry packed so tight it will not let anything through. Not even us. You do not see us. But that is the thing.

We have arrived at a place where you do not see us. Nobody sees us. Nobody sees the other. Nobody can see nobody. Although everybody is here, in this space, where they have been brought. Beheaded people cannot see other beheaded people. And they cannot be headed anywhere because they are beheaded.

But those beheaded bodies have bodies — arms and legs and full torsos, and they must be flailing about somewhere to some end. Flailing to be noticed, flailing to fell something, flailing so something gives and way opens. Flailing so they can, again, head somewhere. Somewhere less dark and forbidding, somewhere more airy and better lit, somewhere there is the sky to behold above.

The same sky

Which we recently rocketed

With such sound and fury, my

And all the gain to be pocketed.

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