So here we are, in another slipstream, it would seem. In a time and place which is not so easily grasped, in a time and place which could be real. Or unreal. Or surreal. Tough to tell what sort of time we have arrived in. Or what sort of slipstream we are slipping into if this is indeed a slipstream. It is more likely one than less likely. Because this cannot be the thing; it can only be not the thing. Like we already know there never was any achchhe din, there was only kachchhe din — Friends, Underpants, Tatters, lend me your things. Lend me your everything. I need your things. I need your everything. The nation needs your everything. Now. Well. Well. Well. Everything. The nation needs your everything, which, translated, means I need your everything.
This is a slipstream of reality, unreality and surreality. Where are we? Yeh kahan aa gaye hum? Who are we? Are we this side or that side? Which side is this side and which side that? Nothing is distinguishable in this confounding smog. We are in the nether hours, somewhere deep past the darkness and well before light. There are sounds, screaming sounds. Louder than screaming sounds. Screeching sounds. Screeches that sound like they could tear the skies apart and bring everything falling down upon us. Like a knife through living flesh, it will rip.
It will bring down the air upon us, all of the air, the air that we breathe and live on or die of included. And all of what that air contains — birds, the preyers and well as prey, the benign and the belligerent; and butterflies, and moths; and any aircraft that might be afloat at the time and all they are carrying in their bellies — men, machines, mayhem.
And the clouds will come down too. All and every variety of cloud that travels the skies. The moon, its absence of gravity, its alleged pockets of life, all its pockmarks and all its fables. The planets big and small, known and unknown, of this hue or that, inhabitable or not. And the satellites looping around them. And all the satellites that get fired into orbit from terra firma. And all the stars, named and unnamed, recognised and uncharted, and the galaxies and everything that lies in the spaces between one star and another and one galaxy and another.
How many? How are we to know? How long? How are we to know? How wide? How are we to know? How big? How are we to know? How heavy? How are we to know? How old? How is one to know? How powerful? How is one to know? But know for certain that falling after them will be the sun as well. Just next in line. Swaha. Everything. In an instant or in a fraction of an instant. Swaha. When all of it comes down. Swaha.
And what will be left up there when everything has come down? What shape or colour would that be, whatever it is that will be after everything has fallen? How is one to know? But know for certain that all that is going to come down from this screeching sky is going to come down this side of the barbed fence and that side of it. And it is going to pulverise the fence as everything this side of it and that side of it and leave nothing of whatever we have known to be or exist. Do not look up, the skies are tearing up. Look down, where it might all come crashing down. Do not look at the fence as if it will protect you. There are fences behind you, and to the left and to the right of you too, which you cannot see but perhaps you must. Fence, Countrymen, Neighbours! What have we made of ourselves? And Mahadeb? Where are you in this hour of the drumroll and all this shaking and screeching? In this hour of this taandav?
I can say it properly
Or I can be just ho-gung
’Tis no time for being soberly
So let’s all go shitty-shitty jung-jung.