He wakes up in a dungeon. His hands are crippled, legs twisted into each other. He tries to move, a shrill pain runs through each bone. Eyes sore and throat running dry. He cannot move. He is just sitting there, seething with pain. A feeling that this is how it was and how it is going to be. As if the pain isn’t enough, the air is laden with a moist, damp dirty smell of inside of a cave and is pressing him down. He feels a constant pressure, helplessness of not being able to move. The more he tries to get away the more painful it gets. Pain is challenging him with an evil grin. He hears a distant song somewhere, echoing in the cave. It grows on each wall, throbbing across. A melody that is determined to get etched on his lips. It stops. Pain returns like a cold dagger. He tries to move but Pain cripples his legs, runs through his spine, silently spreading into him. In his mind still, there is an afterimage of that melody still. It is playing itself again and again like his mind has captured and trapped it. His throat vibrates to the broken hymn and mind fills in the gaps, and in his deep well of pain, he feels a prick of immense joy. Elation. His mouth opens and sings that song, not anywhere close but it still sings. His fingers start to turn around. He sings. Pain recedes and he can move his hands. With both arms he drags along the ground and grabs the fruit lying on the ground and eats it. Tears come rolling down his cheeks. He drags around to eat more, his legs still twisted but he has just realised how hungry he had been. Soon his stomach is full and he finds a cool place to nap, his legs trudging behind him.

He makes his routine thus. Trudging along, eating and napping. He moved out of the cave. All the trees outside had rotted and a forever doom was hanging over that place. He kept dragging along and eating fruits and sleeping on the way. He saw many like him. He felt content but for one small corner in his heart. A fear that this will last forever. The song was erased from his memory as he was now engrossed in this new doomed world. Sometimes out of the dark and mysteries of the heart, the song played in its old charm it played in his heart. But he never sang it. He never felt the need to.

All of them trudged along, ate fruits and writhed and screamed when the pain overburdened their legs. Some stood by as if to give Pain respect and it would disappear. It never did. He felt his legs twisting more and more. Pain, like a creeper, wounding on his legs move towards his ribs. He felt he was going to choke on that pain. He wanted to scream like everyone else did. He wanted to scream till his throat broke down and there was nothing to choke. Sweat broke on his face and he felt a rock in his chest. Lying in the puddle of sweat, unable to bear it, he held his crumpled legs as if claiming them back from Pain but never succeeding. In that agony somewhere like a bird let loose, creeped in the forgotten melody. Instead of screaming, his lips obeyed his mind, he sang the melody like a prayer, like a final blow against pain. He sang and the elation he found with it, pain could never supersede it. He sang it at the top of his voice, numbing his pain. He sang like the song was etched in his soul. He forgot his pain, his hands, his legs, the doomed land, the fruits, his hunger, the people watching by. He only had to sing. His voice rose and fell with the elegance of Nature. When he opened his eyes, he was running at full speed, the wretched world had gone, the limped people had gone, his legs were fine, his heart was fine and he was, free. He sang , he couldn’t stop. He felt air gushing through him, bubbling up every pore. He thought he was flying, so high was his happiness, its fervour. All the pain had ceased. He couldn’t feel his body to feel any pain. He was consumed in an eternal fire of elation in which he wanted to burn and burn and burn.

December 29, 2016

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