Telegraph Calcutta

Memory Of my Melancholy Lasches 

What would we do without our lasches? Ever wondered? Perhaps not, because you had no opportunity or occasion to. A world without lasches? Unthinkable. Why even wonder what we would do without lasches when there is such a cascading abundance of them all around among us? Lasches to the left of us. Lasches to the right of us. Lasches behind. Lasches in front (Or, the lasches that have not yet turned to lasches but most certainly will in the days to come, the way we are going).
And through such a blizzard of lasches we barrel on, volleying and thundering. A lasche gets flung in the air, four lasches are flung back in retort. You claimed a lasche? Here, take four lasches. Tum ek maaroge, hum chaar maarenge. Tum chaar maaroge, hum solah maarenge. And so on and on and on in cataclysmically doubling multiples until everything all around has become a mangled heap of lasches, such that my lasches are indistinguishable from your lasches.

Lasches aren’t like us in many merciful ways, painful as that is to say. Lasches make for more lasches, oh yes, but once a lasche has become a lasche, it becomes purged of a few human things other than life. Such as memory and the bitterness of it. Such as animus. Such as animosity. Such as anger. Such as rage. Such as hatred. Such as suspicion and mistrust. Such as avarice. Such as need. Such as desire. Such as the compulsion for vengeance and vendetta. Such and such and such many such things. And having become rid of mostly all such things, lasches are able to embrace other lasches where they have fallen in heaps and mangles. Your lasches. My lasches. Lasches that were neither mine nor thine, and lasches that had nothing to do with this terrible business of mine and thine but just came in the way my lasches battling your lasches and become, in strategic language, collateral lasches. Bechaaarey lasches.
But in the process of being purged of those and many such and such things, some of which are aforementioned things, this is what lasches do: they bequeath to us all of those, or many, such and such things. And we become inheritors of those burdens bequeathed to us by the lasches. And we become the proud carriers of all those things, all and many such things that lasches forsake but leave behind for us. And so it is that from lasches come even more lasches and the more lasches that become lasches the more ammunition there gathers for creating even more lasches. When we turn out in frenzied hundreds of thousands around lasches and fall upon them and scream revenge. When we line up lasches and drape them in mourning and solemnly salute them and carry them on our shoulders, all the time being photographed and filmed doing those things with lasches. My lasches. Your lasches. You give me lasches. I give you lasches. Mutual exchange. Mutual benefit. This trading of lasches. And so it goes on and on, the game of competing lasches which spawn even more lasches.
Now there are lasches to burn and lasches to bury, but both kinds of lasches have one thing in common, if not more. Lasches beget more lasches. Inevitably. Not quite sure it always works this way, that the things that are no more beget things that are no more. Perhaps it is a good question to ask Mahadeb someday: do his tea leaves, when they have been boiled and boiled over and over and squeezed out of shape and size and of flavour and fame (such is Mahadeb’s chai), also beget tea leaves. But alas, there’s no knowing where Mahadeb is, although it can be said there is never the possibility of him becoming a lasche. Lasches do not speak, though what a thing it would be if they did. What a thing it would be to listen to what lasches say on why lasches become lasches and what they thereafter feel.
Let us go then, you and I
When the lasches are strewn about to dry;
When blackbirds are dense about the sky
And there’s nothing left for us but to cry.

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