Lives for lineage

A newly-wed couple set on fire in a village in Maharashtra.

The headline catches me by the throat,
Not for long though
before I glance at the picture of the young couple.

They look happy together even in that still photo.
Leaning into each other for a selfie,
his smile bordered by a faint sparse moustache,
hers by that gleaming nose-ring.

Weren’t their eyes not bright enough to outshine the rage of families in the background?

Maybe reality did not have enough depth.
Perhaps it had too many filters and not enough colour
for their laughter to seep through into family.

Maybe it was just that were as alike as water and fire.
And water and fire cannot live together, let alone love.

They belonged to different castes I read.
Did that make it easier to strike the match?
Did one of the two light up more easily?
Did the smell of burning flesh mark out one from the other?

I talk about this to my friend at work.
He says these rivers of red run deep and wide,
even spreading into his state.
Friends ganging up on a friend,
shedding blood to keep their bloodline clean,
to keep the race alive,
and not die out with contamination
the way they believe the Neanderthals did.
If this wasn’t about murder, their beliefs would be funny.

I hope one day these rivers will dry out,
and the salt left behind
will not pile up in walls tall or thick enough
to build fortresses,
or even if they’re see-through,
they will not create lenses with distorted views.

For now, fear trumps hope.
The fear that one day,
there will be so much blood in our streets,
in our villages and cities,
we won’t be the blue planet anymore.

We may not be a planet at all.

Maybe there’s hope
if we remember the moustache and the nose-ring.

This was triggered by a news post I read about last week.


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