In the blistering month of June, there were a dozen parched throats on the road, desperate for a few drops of blood — regardless, if pure or impure. On this day, the purity of the blood did not matter. The different shades of the red did not matter. The beast was hungry and it could smell blood — flesh and its kind did not matter. The noise of grumbling stomachs was loud enough to bring the traffic to a standstill. To a halt. No amount of golden wheat fields and mango trees seemed sufficient to feed the growling stomachs. No number of rivers — no land of five rivers — seemed adequate to sustain lives. No amount of water seemed enough to satiate the thirst of dried throats. No amount of peepal trees, in the scorching heat, seemed large enough to provide cover and shade. No tumbi, no dhol, no sapp, seemed loud enough to drown the noise of those on a rampage. No flesh seemed out of range. No act seemed out of bounds. No God seemed strong enough to mediate; to prevent it all from taking place.
Long after the storm passes, it’s the silence before it that speaks volumes. That echoes in the four walls of our house. Yet, it’s this voice that we refuse to hear, until it becomes all too familiar. Until, it never leaves us. No matter how many times we change our house, no matter how many borders we cross, no matter how many dead bodies, we have to leap over.
Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet and activist of Indian origin, currently based in Macao. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of the recently released book, Burnt Rotis, With Love, which was long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK. Her work has been published widely, most recently in The Ofi Press, Red Wedge Magazine, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism and Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture, as well as anthologized in several collections. Learn more here.