Monday, 30 March 2015

Pg 247 & 248 — one sheet of paper torn from my novel called ‘The Monk’

…was pressing the blunt heavy chopper to his throat unnecessarily hard, grinding it into adam’s apple. “Die, you filthy monk! You lying dirty bastard! You betrayed the trust with which I sent my wife to prostrate before you… swine! Now you die!” he was screaming into his ear. Guru Vaastava wished his disciples would learn to express even anger in a gentle whisper.

A trickle of blood soaked the saffron cloth on his chest. His mind was numb from the sudden attack of this obedient disciple, Ramana, in the dead of night. Oh yes, he remembered Ramana’s wife… how could he not remember those perfectly-formed white thighs? How could he forget the look of surprised pleasure in her eyes? He remembered how he had bid her to lie on her back in the prayer room, in front of the black stone linga that she had so lovingly rubbed with sandalwood. Under the stony gaze of the hooded serpent, he had gently caressed her toes and feet as she lay whimpering in passion… caressed her calf-muscles with a cherishing love that she had never known.
His palm, rising up under her saree, had felt her thighs at first tighten, clench together… and he had wondered whether she would forbid him. And then, as he began to rub the wet sandalwood paste over her thighs, she had softly shuddered and sighed, and then lay relaxed. His hands had rubbed sandalwood paste all over her body, making her pubic hair fragrant and moist. Even as his fingers probed her soft, moist flesh, she lay pliant, her languid eyes pleading with him. Taking his large hands in her small, soft hands, she had kissed them, and laid them upon her bare breasts…
Strange that at this moment of violence and impending death, his mind insisted on returning to that intoxicating moment. Guru Vaastava forced his mind to come back into the present. Ramana was now dragging the rusty chopper across his throat. Through the rasping pain and the giddy disorientation, the smell of rusty iron and flowing blood, the guru consciously sought to remember his maker. He dimly saw other disciples come in rain-soaked from the surrounding darkness, entering his hut without permission. For a moment, he felt elated that they were about to save him from the raging Ramana… and then a series of blows thudded on his stomach and groins, crushing the breath out of him, doubling him over into a foetal pose on the mud floor.
Amidst this wrenching pain, his mind wandered in one quick flash to the moment of ecstatic union – the half-lidded look that she gave him as his thrust quickened, thudding  deep between her widely parted thighs. Through the pain and… yes… fear, he closed his eyes and experienced the peace of that union as a sort of white seamless bliss. His world blanked out in a bright white light, and he lay there limp and unresponsive even as his disciples kicked and punched and shouted filthy abuses.
An eternity passed for him, but it seemed like only a few moments to his attackers. Ramana was hammering the heavy chopper into his Guru’s skull, drawing blood with each triumphant blow. Guru Vaastav was lying in a distant place, feeling no guilt, no anger, no fear, no pain – only a blissful clarity and a sense of observing destiny unfold through half-lidded eyes. And then a clear voice spoke to him – as clear as the whiteness that he was experiencing under his eyelids. “You have nothing more to lose. You have embraced death. Now stand up and battle for life.”
“But why?” Vaastava questioned. “What must I do now? What more would you have me do now?”
“That is not for you to know, my friend. Get up and fight. There is no right and wrong. Life is the ultimate truth… and for this truth, I want you to fight to your last breath.”
“Fight? And be hacked to pieces before I die? I do not want to lose this moment of peace we are having together.”
“Yes, if such is my will. Your sacrifice – the yagna of your lifetime — is incomplete if you do not stand up and fight. Sacrifice this peace. Die on your feet if you must. Die raging, die fighting, die fearful if you must.”
The disciples watched with horror as their guru’s motionless form jerked awake and uncoiled from the foetal position. Through all the blood flowing down the bearded visage, the eyes burned fearfully bright. Ramana recoiled in horror as his guru’s strong hands gripped his hand, and twisted the chopper out of his grasp. The other disciples hit and kicked at the teacher’s lean form, but they recoiled in fear as he now turned at them with a rage that they had never believed possible.
“AaAAAAAAAAAAAAA-rrrr-gghhhhhhhh!” His feral shout was unexpectedly loud, like the strange cry of a wounded animal, and sprayed droplets of blood all over their face and chest. He viciously swung the chopper, crunching Ramana’s cheekbone and striking a glancing blow across the eye of an assailant who tried to hold him from behind. His blood-soaked body made him impossible to grasp, and he slipped through the door of his hut and ran into the rain-soaked darkness outside.
Vaastava dashed through the dark wet bushes towards the river. Twigs and branches lashed out at his every wound, but his breathing and his heartbeats were calm – as though he were walking. No, even more calm, as though he was levitating. He sped lightly through mud, over rocks and thorns at a speed that he had never imagined possible, and he knew that Grace was with him.
It had been raining all day and all night. The river was in spate. It was muddy and roaring, tearing at the roots of the trees at its banks. He could never have hoped to swim in its massive eddies. For a moment, Vaastava gazed at the large branches of wood that were being swirled and spun in the foaming waters, and then he entered the water waist-deep, then neck deep, and submitted his body to its force. Floating with his face up, opening his mouth to the large raindrops, he let the swirling river lift him from the sharp rocks below, and carry him away.
The impulse to sleep bore down heavily on him. In his last conscious moment, he felt his dhoti cling to something underwater. He was briefly submerged. And then the fabric gave way, and he was floating again, carried by a swift current. Complete nakedness came to him as a relief. The last vestige of his identity had left him.
And he slept.

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