A Ramadan Story



There is a certain grace with which Fire burns objects. It reddens brick, turning those blocks of earth earthier. It is more unsympathetic towards leaves, charring them brusquely, watching them curl, spew smoke, and die. Cloth burns without grace, as Motilal Mandiwala noticed. Fire left patches of black, trying uncomfortably to gobble, destroy, and survive. In all the crowd of thick impenetrable smoke, he realized that Fire was burning itself out.

Fire barbequed flesh with delight. It licked off hair, leaving clotted threads of ash. And as skin begins roasting, water oozes out of leaks and cracks, sizzling with the flames, fizzling out. And as it digs deeper, after the charred skin retreats, tasting raw flesh, liver, and blood, the flames rise higher thriving on the fuel of sweat and bone.

The city had been finished off by Fire, smouldered to the ground. Incinerated stumps of dead trees, gaping pane-less windows hung precariously to skeletal remains of the cityscape. Molten metal, toasted sand, political graffiti-ed debris like a pile of painted egg shells. Final remnants of democracy and communal partisanship in piles with burned galli-ka-kutta and burned galli-ka-kutta shit.

Only one house remained…At the centre of it all, unfazed…yet. Fire peeked into the dark room through the filigree windows. A man, reclined peacefully on a chair, his kurta with no-milk-no-sugar tea stains. It was an empty room, a pair of spectacles lay beside him on the floor, and a knotted roll of newspaper. His eyes were closed, and his face bore an almost Buddhist sense of tranquility. As if that chair, that moment in that room, was Nirvana itself.

And then Fire saw, kneeling in one corner, a shadow against the green tiles of the wall, sat Wind. Wind had its hands on its knees, and in soft murmurs, was moving its head from one side to the other. While Fire was charring the walls outside, the room was pregnant with a cold breeze, ballooning, as if forming a cloud itself.

Try as much as it might, even though Fire engulfed the whole house, deep inside that one room, Wind cradled that lonely man with its broad wings in absolute peaceful slumber.

[More original short fiction will be featured on the blog, both mine and by other writers. Stay glued]


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