In Love and War

“Get the fuck out of my fucking house.”

She shrunk away from him, turning away so he wouldn’t see the tears filling up her eyes. She needn’t have bothered, as a moment later, the door had slammed loud behind him, and his angry footsteps faded away from where she knelt. Her stifled cries turned to sobs, but only for a minute. Had she not cried enough for this? Had these stone floors not drunk enough of her tears?

She limped to the door, and bolted it from the inside. She was safe now, at least until he decided to return. She had to be gone before that, she thought dully. Gone somewhere far. Where he couldn’t find her.

The mob stormed the village, screaming obscenities and firing indiscriminately as they came. The villagers ran about in panic, many getting slaughtered in their futile attempts to protect their families and children. Shops and houses were set on fire, and the people seeking shelter inside were hunted down and killed as they ran from the burning buildings. An infant wailed endlessly somewhere in the distance. A dark haired boy darted across the burning streets, two younger children in tow, making his way towards the college at the center of their once-quiet settlement. The college of Magic. Abruptly the wailing infant fell silent, and the three children shuddered to think of what that meant.

A loud crash brought forth a strangled sob from her throat. Until she realized it was only their cat. It made its way over and licked her bruised knuckles. “Hey, kitty cat”, she whispered, stroking its soft fur. The cat purred and rubbed against her, and she thought of how they had first found the kitten. Alone and lost in the middle of a fierce thunderstorm, it had taken shelter under his car, meowing piteously until they had found her. At first, he had insisted that they leave it outside in a box, and she had managed to convince him to let it spend the remainder of the stormy night in a corner of his house. The next day she had come home from work to find him fast asleep on the sofa, with the kitten curled up on his chest, also asleep. They had been nearly inseparable since.

She shook her head, as if trying to clear it, and rose up to put out some food for the cat. That’s when she saw the flowers he must have brought home that morning, and her heart ached. Everything was so confusing. How did things get to this? When did they stop laughing at shadows and chasing falling stars?

The boy managed to reach the college grounds undetected, and pulled his young charges inside the gate. Here he stopped to catch his breath, and the two children looked about themselves in awe. Civilians were generally not allowed inside the campus of the infamous college of magic. Though the Council maintained that it was for their own safety, rumor had it that some of the students and teachers at the college dabbled in.. more than just the white arts.

“Alistair, take Nova to Professor Edward. He should be at the top of the North Tower. If anyone stops you, show them this.” Saying so, the older boy pushed a small rock into the younger boy’s hands, even as the young girl looked on, startled. “Nova,” he started, and she backed away from him. “That’s not my name”, she whispered, her eyes locked on to the parchment he held in his hand. “Listen to me, Nova”, he said, louder than he had intended. And now it was Alistair’s turn to watch as she backed further away from the older boy. “We’re not going in without you”, she said, looking past him and into the fires scattered just outside the gates. The older boy looked upset, and bowed his head. But when he looked up again, he was smiling. That made Nova begin to cry, and that made Alistair want to cry as well. But he held on to the rock in his hand tighter instead, and grit his teeth to help fight back the unwelcome tears. “I’ll be alright, Princess”, the dark haired boy assured her, and taking two steps forward, he suddenly knelt in front of her. “Please take the scroll”, he said, head bowed and hand outstretched. Nova hesitated, then reached out and plucked the parchment from his fingers. He looked up and smiled, and asked her to dry her eyes.

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Why I don’t prefer Modi

In light of the protests at Turkey, and the disturbing comments made by the Turkish PM, Erdogan, here, I would like to once again warn my dear fellow citizens as to the bleak, oppressive and fascist future that awaits us were we to make the mistake of allowing Modi to become the Indian PM.

Now, I’ve had this conversation with a lot of people, over a lot of forums. But, I think I’d like to briefly present my reasons once again:


1. Have you paid attention to any of Mod’s speeches? He never says we will do this, or we will achieve this; it is all “I will”, “Under me”, “I can”. He is clearly not too big on democracy. The words reflect an ego that definitely parallels Erdogan’s. And guess what else they have in common? Boasts of awesome economics-shaping abilities!

2. Which brings us to how Modi treats dissent. When he came to a college to give a speech about the economic future of India, he brought with him enough police protection to fight off a hundred terrorists. Which police force was then employed to harass and threaten the handful of college kids standing around with posters about the Gujarat riots.

3. And when Modi’s own enthusiastic saffron brigade showed up, the same police stood by as those guys beat up, groped and threatened the students, telling the women to watch it or they would face the same consequences as the Muslim women in Gujarat. Point being: Even if Modi is harmless (which I really, really do not believe) and his Hindutva merely an act (which really does not concern me), too many of his followers are juvenile fanatics who will take his assent to PM-ship as a sign that India is ready to forgive you if the people you fuck up, rape and kill are only minorities.

4. Modi is not very keen on the development or patronage of literary and fine arts, and his government has been known to give a hard time to all sorts of authors, revoking licenses, getting galleries shut down, etc.

5. Not to mention the strict intolerance towards unfavorable news reports in the local papers.

6. You all, who accuse the Congress of being weak and ineffective, saw the way protests were dealt with in Delhi last December. Do you really believe the Modi govt. will be any less brutal when it comes to dealing with dissent?? Especially if involving minority rights..

7. His repeated speeches at Women’s colleges/to women reek of primitive patriarchal ideas such as how women should use their natural talent at food cooking, and set up restaurants etc., so that India can develop. 
Arre, fuck his development. What am I gonna do with a thousand more malls if the streets are full of crime and intolerance? No, thank you.

8. Gujarat. 2002. [You can be a regular guy belonging to a community and wish vengeance for wrongs against “your” people. You can’t claim to represent an entire state and still make that wish. And, if you do, then you aren’t fit to rule. I don’t want such a man representing me, or my country. I’d rather be poor and cling on the little bit of pride and freedom I have left as an Indian, than have to always be chauffeured around in A/C cars to places.]

9. Lastly, but almost as important as the previous point, his claims regarding Gujarat’s economic success are mostly exaggerations and lies, as various reports have already conclusively proven. Yet, of course, people see what they want to see.

~~~

Note: The reports I have referred to are not media reports, but NGO, NHRC, etc. reports. Also, there is the fact that it isn’t about his involvement alone in the Gujarat riots, but the fact that it happened while his party was in power, and they did very little, if anything, to stop it. And the fact that it doesn’t matter whether he was leading the orange brigade or hiding under his bed. The point is it happened. And he is responsible in more ways than just legally.

Anyway, I fervently hope that this country doesn’t have to see those days. But, with India’s growing inequality, high unemployment rates, and eager friendship with MNCs, I think it’s highly optimistic to assume that, under Modi, we won’t be heading down exactly the same path as our Turkish brethren.

Much faster, too.