Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Symbol

Another poem- a political one... (I know...forgive me)...& not very well written I'm afraid. I've been seeing far too many people sporting T-Shirts with Che Guevara's face splashed across.. & I've been wondering whether most of them realize the supreme irony underlying their garb

The Symbol

He waved
They cried Che!
Fight the capitalists
Change the power structures

Workers unite
The owners shall die
Profiteering stopped
The poor shall thrive
We feign

The United States
Huffed and puffed
Blew him away
The people remembered...
His face

His face, his name
The poor will fight
His face remembered again
And again

From flags to Tees
Badges, head-bands?
50 Rupees, 100 Rupees
500 dollars
A bale

We remember him on T-shirts
500 bucks if new
100 bucks old
The poor can wear it

Looks like we’ve got him
Like we got the rest
His face for 20 dollars...
Capitalists rejoice

Monday, November 10, 2008


Another short story! I wrote this for an On-the spot Creative Writing competition recently. The topic was a picture clue: a hazy and distorted image of a road (not the picture on the right, that's just a similar one I found) . Well here's the story. Comments welcome!


Rene careened around the corner with tires skidding, fighting to keep control of the steering wheel. The road was swaying before her eyes, and the streetlights appeared as giant orbs, blinding her. She sped past the scant traffic, and hurtled into a side street. Her head felt heavy, and unconsciousness was threatening to overpower her any second. She tightened her grip on the wheel and shook her herself. She couldn’t lose control. The results would be disastrous. She must reach home safely before she collapsed. Once more she groaned aloud for not letting one of the others drive her home.
She was never any good at holding alcohol, and tonight the party had been especially wild, celebrating the safe return of the Zaffar twins from the Kalinga Empire. Rene turned into another narrow street at breakneck speed. Thankfully, the roads were all deserted. It was already past midnight. Through the corner of her eyes Rene saw the world becoming increasingly hazier. Tiny blue spots had started flickering before her. Rene cursed under her breath. Alcohol always affected their powers. But they still insisted upon hosting drinks at every get-together. Tonight again three time-travelers had shifted into another time after downing one too many. No one really worried, unless they took long enough coming back, like the Zaffar twins had done.
Rene shook her head violently to clear the mists and squinted ahead worriedly. If she reached too late the colony gates would be shut and her parents would come to know that she had been out past her curfew. She had almost reached. She just needed to hold out for a few more minutes until she could safely succumb to the waves of dizziness throttling her. The blue specks had become more pronounced. She stepped on the accelerator and the car lurched forward past the blinking red light in the crossing and into the dark street up ahead. She kept her foot pressed on the accelerator, moving at an incredible pace, her headlights dispelling the gloom in the otherwise pitch dark street.
Suddenly, a small dark form rushed before the car from the right. Becoming aware of the onrushing car, the figure froze directly in its path, putting up its arms to be shielded from the glare of headlights. Rene watched horrified, as the kid came ever closer. She slammed her feet on the breaks, and the screeching of tires filled the air. It was of no use- she was going too fast. She saw as if in slow motion the kid hitting the bonnet of her car and fly overhead. She heard the soft thud as its body fell on the road behind her. In her momentary distraction she had let go of the steering wheel. The car crashed against a tree on the sidewalk and came to a halt. Regaining her breath she glanced quickly at her rear view mirror. She could just make out the outline of the body lying in a crumpled heap on the road. It wasn’t moving. Fear and dread flooded her mind. Her conscience urged her to pick up the child and rush it to a hospital. However her mind kept conjuring up images of a court case, fine for drunken driving, or perhaps even jail. She winced at the thought.
She looked again into the mirror. The form was completely still. The kid was probably dead; there was nothing she could do about it. If she took it to a hospital now she would only get into trouble herself. Her conscience pricked her a little, but her conscience had through long association learned to give way to her more selfish impulses. Rene revved up her engine and drove home slowly. The shock had effectively cleared her head. She managed to reach her compound just before the gates shut for the night. Parking the car outside, she quietly let herself in. Her parents had gone to bed early as usual. She tiptoed to her room and sank thankfully into her bed. She tossed and turned for a quarter of an hour, and finally sank into a troubled sleep.

Rene came tripping down the stairs a week later and sat down to breakfast, pulling the newspaper before her. She scanned the news items carefully, and saw again that there was no mention of any accident in the area. Relief flooding though her she pulled a bowl of cornflakes towards her and started wolfing them down. She turned to the newspaper’s magazine section instead. She had been checking the news everyday for the past week but had found no news of a death.
Her mother came down just then and sat down in the place opposite her's, giving a wide berth to the empty chair on Rene’s left. Before beginning her meal her mother lightly touched a photograph that stood framed on the side table, as had been her habit for the last five years, and murmured a prayer, after which she picked up her tea cup and started sipping slowly. Rene paid no attention. At first this habit of her mother’s used to make her uncomfortable. But with time she had grown accustomed to it, just as she had grown accustomed to the emptiness of the room beside hers and the perpetual silence in the house. The death, when it had happened, had shattered her and her family. Ritu, two years younger than her, had been the only creature she loved outside of herself.
Memories of her death still filled her with a furious ache. Ritu had been returning home from a friend’s house late at night five years ago, and had been run over by a car while crossing the street. The police hadn’t even been able to catch the killer. They had found paint scratches on a tree on the sidewalk, but the discovery hadn’t led to any result. The paint scratches hadn’t matched with any car in the neighbourhood. The pictures of the car taken from the traffic light camera behind where the incident had occurred had been too unclear to provide them with a clue. The make of the car had been unrecognizable.
Rene flipped a page of the magazine section, and saw that it was full of glossy pictures of the latest car models. She stared at the page before her, hardly registering what she saw. If only the driver had had the humanity to take Ritu to a hospital, she might have been alive today. The post mortem report indicated that she had been alive for an hour after being hit.
A hot tear splashed onto the picture of a car. She saw that it was the same model as her own. The car in the picture was painted lime green- the same as hers- and the same as the colour of the paint scratches on the tree.
Suddenly, the world seemed to grow quiet. The air felt heavy around her. Her own blood seemed to move sluggishly through her body. She saw, as if in a dream, her own fists clenched around the paper. As with pieces of a jigsaw, her thoughts had fitted together to give a clear image. An unbearable thought. And a single word played repeatedly in her mind, echoing through the recesses of her brain, making it throb with its every syllable- ‘NO!...’