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THESE ARE THE THINGS WHICH MAKE ME WHO I AM……..
Poverty, cruelty, discrimination, deprivation, hunger, injustice, suppression and lawlessness. These are the things which make me who I am. I am a Criminal, a ‘dangerous murderer’. I am kept in a high security, barricaded, steel cage like, 5 paces by 3 cell. I am let out of my cell two times a week. One for exercise, two for church service. My cell reeks of rotting cabbage, the stench of death and the foul smell of vomit.
I am feared by all who lay eyes on my wretched body, a daunting Presence, ‘evil’ they say. Tall; broad; fail skinned; red eyed; a huge scar traversing my face, a vestige of the past gone by; two rows of big yellow teeth, uneven as if they were grounded often in sapling stage; Bald where one stood a mane of thick brown hair; An ear-lobe half-missing like it was butchered mercilessly sometimes in the reminiscent past; Though toughly built, limping on one leg and if one chances to see my back, crises-crossing like bits of snakes or ropes are red-brown charred skin reminding one perhaps of the whips used in medieval times. My body is wasted but yet they fear me. They shudder by the mention of my very name. They scuttle away in my very presence. Even the officers on duty seem reluctant to be here. Why not! All know who I am!!!
I was once normal, perhaps in some ways at least, living a normal life in a normal town, normal neighbors, and normal friends. Life moved at a steady pace. We went to a normal school with normal teachers in a white painted normal bus. Our home was a normal red-brick small one. I had 5 siblings. Me being the second last one. My parents if not well-off were not poor, we were able to make the ends meet and all four of us brothers went to school. My mother stayed at home with my baby sister while my father was a normal, common law abiding citizen who was a grocer. Our family loved to sit around the fire at the night and listen to our grandmother narrating tales from far off…….of princes and princess ,daring knights in shining amours, kings ,palaces, fountains, magical gardens, dragons, sorcerers, magic lamps, genes and what not…..stories from Arabia, from Africa, from India, from America, from England. We listened to them in awe and ate our peanuts and drank our hot milk. my elder brother, 14, would then recount his day’s adventures, his aspirations to become a lawyer and a soldier for justice. My next brother, 12, would then kick in by declaring that one day he would become a great general in an army, a leader of a hundred thousand troops and a savior of princesses. The third brother would now breathe in, and repeat everyday how he would become a doctor and ease the pain of humanity through his innovations in medical field.
When my turn came I weakly faced my smiling family, and encouraged by their nods and approval, disclose that one fine day, I, would be a ‘man’, a good human being and just that. I would help everyone, everywhere in need, I said, I’ll give food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, shelter to the homeless, care to the wounded, money to the destitute and above all love to all those who were starved for it. My brothers used to laugh but my parents always smiled. My grand mother would kiss me on the forehead, and with that sweet smelling aroma of hers, hold me close to her and say, “May God protect you from evil spirits, my son, you have a heart of gold”
I used to go to school with my little red bag on my shoulders complaining about its weight (about 3 books and 1 copy) and wondering dully in the class about when would the bell for lunch ring. I would play football, baseball or cricket with my friends. Vacations were sweeter than the school, where I had time to hang out with my friends all day long under the sunny, hot sky. Lolling around on the park sand, or playing games. My life was on one long dream of never-ending routine.
But fate, as it conspired, had something else in store for me. Things took a dramatic turn; a lunatic terrorist brutally murdered three of the cities most beloved leaders and escaped. Unfortunately my father’s name was the same as him. He was captured by the mob and taken to the city square. Shouting and yelling, they turned a deaf ear to his pleas of innocence and burned him alive. My mother alone could do nothing. I watched in horror as she, unable to contain herself, jumped in the inferno herself.
I cried and cried but could find no solace. My grandmother, too, frail and Crumbling, at her age, could not bear this sad spectacle. She had a heart attack and left us the same day.
My life had turned topsy-turvy. I could not decipher what had happened. All my joy, all happiness had drained out. After the hideous task, the people turned to us. They decided to mock us little children. I can never forget their jeers, their shouts, their sneers directed at me and my family. It can never get out of my mind, their cold eyes, their mocking evil faces, their taunts and their wide smiles. I can never escape from my mother screams, my father’s moans, and my grandma’s dead flat face, my sister crying, no one to soothe her; my brothers screaming and no one caring for us, calming us, sharing our sorrows, grieving with us. All were my enemies; all were evil, all merciless. My soul was shattered. There seemed to be this vacant space inside me which could not be filled. I wanted to yell, I wanted to stop all those people but I could do nothing. Nothing but stare speechless with quiet tears rolling down my cheeks, as my life dissolved into nothingness before my very eyes.
With no one to take care of, we were taken to a workshop. Life was an unending dream of misery and torture. My sister was taken away to a girl’s place on the first day. We were made to work long hours under the scorching sun and beaten frequently. I was young, had never labored, and the job was hard. Often I was ill and would faint. But our overseer was a cruel man. He whipped hard. It was like hundreds of bees stinging at once. Gradually we settled into this life. My second brother however could not bear this hard schedule and one day he did not wake up in the morning. He had swallowed toxic gum in huge amount last night. He loved me dearly and his suicide broke apart my already fragmented soul.
My elder brother fell into bad company and became a drug addict as well as a thief. He used to get drunk and beat me frequently. It was him that gave me this hideous scar on my face, when I refused to do his bidding one night.
He also went and did not return one cold night. After him I had none left of my family.
I had decided at that instant that I would never be a human now, I would be a MONSTER! I would take my revenge from everyone I could lay my hands on. They had destroyed me, I WOLD DESTROY THEM.
I grew up in that environment into a strong man. I became a mafia in that own territory. My gang built up. We were dacoits, Thieves, hooligans and murderers for money. I was cruel, ruthless, merciless. I punched, whipped, tortured, even killed people. I handpicked all the people who had made my life a hell, and ended their lives with excruciating pain.
One cold night in December, however was the end of my dark reign. I tried to snatch a gold locket off a young girl. On her resistance, I became furious and butchered her with my knife in twelve pieces. When my anger subsided, I opened the locket only to find my lost family smiling at me. Truth hit me with the force of a rampaging rhino. It was my own sister __________I blacked out.
So folks, here you have me. I have surrendered. I am an icon of remorse and pity. I live not for living but for my sister, for people may benefit from my sad tale and maybe someone, somewhere, listening to my story will prevent another HUMAN from becoming a MONSTER……..
At least they know what makes me who I am………………..