Telegraph Calcutta

Aankh Mein Bhar Lo Paani

I do not know where I am. I cannot know. Did you just shift the ground under my feet and give it away? Is this ground no longer mine? I was brought here on the pledge of supreme duty. That is how I am this man, a man of duty. I do not ask. I do. And in doing what I am asked I may no longer be capable of doing any more because in doing I may die. It happens to everybody. But we sign up for it. Like you probably sign up on a contract that says it can be terminated. Our contract says we can be terminated. That is who we are. Think what that takes. Signing up on your death warrant and being chuffed you got a job and a uniform and a rank to go with it. You’ll follow orders, and the orders might mean you go, uniform, rank, body, being, desire, memory, past, present, future, smile, smirk, sentiment, the works. All of it. Forever.

I do not know where I am. We are not allowed to know. Or tell. It is somewhere. We are somewhere. Being somewhere is duty. We never ask. I want to ask how cold it is, but I cannot ask because I myself do not know how to frame the question. It is not cold. Cold is not the word for it. It is something else. Something I have never felt. How do I ask how is something I have never felt? Or heard. They say it is wind, but it is not wind. The wind whispers in trees, and it plays with the tresses of my beloved. The wind caresses the rose off the clasp of her hair and sets it afloat; it brings to me fragrances I have left behind. This cannot be wind. This sounds like a sorceress, a howling, inexhaustible sorceress. It whirls and whooshes away and then it boomerangs the way it first came, leaping off the hollows, tobogganing down crevices; if it passes you and you still are able to know it has passed you are lucky. But it will come again. You can’t tell it in the darkness, but it will tell you, it has a way of arriving.

It is also dark. It is a darkness that duty dictates. I mean there are things to light up, a cigarette for example. But cigarettes kill too and they are pointless lighting because the sorceress wouldn’t let you. And if you did, you’re a goner because they will spot your spot and take a shot. Kaput. Cigarettes give you away, in more ways that your doctor or your mother or your wife, if you have one, brave chap, will tell you. But if you ask me, with the faintest dearness, and if I were to tell you, with blatant truth, cigarettes are a thing. If it’s the last thing you had. The thing is they aren’t duty, you just do cigarettes because you do them, and they do to you what they do. Many other things kill, but they haven’t afforded you the style. Statutory Warning: Smoking kills. Statutory Warning: Soldiery kills. I am trying to understand the differences between statutory warnings, and the many other things that do not come with statutory warnings and yet kill. Think about them, you have the time and the leisure, think about what else kills but doesn’t get the blame. I must go. I must go where I do not know. I must go where I cannot tell. Where we all eventually and finally go, that place I shall never return from the way I arrived here. Looking just like the last photograph you clicked of me. Just remember I went. Knowing I may not return. Knowing I do not have the word for how cold it felt. Knowing there was nothing to pierce the darkness, knowing there was no point torching the darkness because the darkness made a fragile beam of the light and broke it before it got too far. Knowing there was a sorceress on the prowl there would be no escape from. I was on duty. I did not know where I was. I do not know where I went. I am likely dead.

Ours is not to question why

Ours is but to do and die

But yours is to ask and kill the lie

And ask why why why, but why?

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