This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 32; the thirty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is ‘An Untold Story’
“Why on earth am I on all my fours?”, I asked Kanha, who was also staggering by my side. He glanced sideways towards me and said, “How am I supposed to have a clue? Remember we woke up nearly at the same time?”
It had been two days since we were wandering in a meadow. I can recall that moment with vivid clarity when my eyes opened to a violet sky littered with quadrilateral shaped stars. I had noticed that my hands were stretched out at a crazy angle from my shoulder. Realizing that I was on my back, I attempted to jerk up and sit upright. However, the centre of gravity in me wobbled and I could only roll sideways. That moment of numbing horror is so deeply engraved, the moment when I saw my legs too stretched outwards of my hip at a weird angle.
Though in shock, my eyes had registered another person at a distance trying to jerk up and sit straight. As I saw that person repeating my attempt; the shock in me dissolved and some instinct in my clicked. I immediately got onto all my four limbs – my two palms and two feet. Like quadrapedalism was already programmed in me, I started walking over to that person. I had noticed that look in his eye and knew that he too had a similar shock of discovery. As I approached him on all my fours, he got up on all his fours as well and started cursing, “What have you done to me? Why am I standing on all my fours like an animal?” It hadn’t taken me long to convince him that I wasn’t the conniver or the culprit, with my own ignorance oozing out of me.
I brushed aside all these revolting memories and asked Kanha, “We are behaving like animals. We don’t have clothes. We are walking on all our four limbs. We are jumping out at fruits hanging from trees. Did you ever imagine what it is to be like an animal?”
Kanha didn’t glance at me this time and simply sneered, “Why are you talking like Menaka Gandhi? Didn’t you have better things to worry about during your ‘alive’ lifetime?” Then he glanced sideways at my hanging breasts and smiled, like the pun was obvious. In his eyes, I saw the hints of salaciousness. In a flash, he jumped to his right, again to his right, once again to the right and was right behind me.
My limbs, all my four limbs took flight without me even commanding them to. I just ran and ran. Every now and then, I took the air in to fill every cell in my lungs, so that I could trace his scent, that uncouth scent of the dark-skinned Kanha chasing me. I just continued running with all the might in my muscles until I started seeing something on the horizon. As I got closer, I had a blurry image of a lot of people like me standing on all their fours, stretched out in a line right from the east to the west.
That was the first time I had seen signs of human life in the last two days since I had woken up, apart from Kanha of course. The sudden epiphany that we weren’t alone in that god-forsaken violet-red coloured world injected adrenaline in my sprint. I quickened my pace and approached that line.
As I stood panting and observed, my bewilderment of this strange world only increased. Kanha had also caught up with me and between his gasps he managed to say, “What….on….earth?”
In front of our eyes, I noticed several men and women, and a few children here and there; standing close to a mesh which seemed to mark a boundary of some sort. What was astounding to both of us, was seeing animals on the other side of the mesh, animals standing on their hind legs, like humans generally do. Actually the correct phrase here would be – animals were standing upright.
“Boom Boom Bholenath. How are you doing?”, came a greeting from behind us. As we both turned our heads to the left, we saw a man with a congenial smile on his face. There were several remarkable things about this man – unkempt long matted hair, ash smeared on his forehead, a tiger-skin jacket, ear piercings lining his ears and a trident in one hand. It was only after I had absorbed all this, the strangest thing about him struck me – he was standing upright, on his legs, unlike us!
Before I could bark out my anger, he said, “My name is Pasupati. I’m the ‘Lord of the Animals’. You can ask me any question, I’m here to help you and guide you.”
Any question? A zillion questions were spinning around in my head. I had vague recollections of a car accident which involved me and me looking into the eyes of my beloved ones as I took my last breaths in some stinky hospital. The next thing I knew was waking up to this strange world. Over the last two days, we had walked in several directions only to find ankle-high grass and some vegetation – date trees and fruits. We could see some ice-capped mountains in the distant horizon that looked like a painting. The days had a red hue and the nights a violet one. And today I saw this mesh and I felt like I was in a zoo. Any question?! Hell yeah!
I was just about to speak, when Kanha next to me spoke abruptly and quickly, “Why are the stars, quadrilateral in shape?” I was stunned that of all the intelligent things that we could have asked this Pasupati person, Kanha chose to talk about cosmology! Of course, even I was pondering on the proximity of the stars and their unusual shape, but that definitely wasn’t my top concern at the moment.
Pasupati smiled and said, “I can guide you only if you ask the right questions.” It was already dusk and the trapezoidal-shape sun was giving up on another day. I also happened to catch a glance of the trapezoidal moon rise in the distance.
Without wasting any more time, I yelled at Pasupati, “WHERE ARE WE?”
He just kept looking at me with a face that was smiling, but with eyes that didn’t smile. Cowering in that glare, I spoke softly, “What are we doing here? I remember dying. I think it was that. Even Kanha here remembers something like that. Why aren’t we in heaven or hell?”
Pasupati looked at the rising moon for a few moments and then turned back to us. The smile on the face was replaced with a serene expression and the eyes suddenly looked very sleepy, almost intoxicated. After taking a deep breath, he spoke, “Yes dear. You both are dead. Whether you will be going to heaven or hell or what happens after this stage, I don’t know. However the fact that you are here implies that there is one important lesson that you failed to learn during your ‘alive’ lifetime. The purpose of this contraption, this ‘where’ you talk about, is to teach you that lesson so that you can move on in your spiritual evolution.”
I didn’t hear any soothing lullaby; but the voice, those sombrous eyes and the dull trapezoidal moon in a fluorescent violet background, had an effect on both of us. We both slouched down in front of him, just like dogs, ready to hear everything that he would tell us.
Pasupati continued in that same baritone that didn’t have any intonations, “Allow me to tell you ‘THE UNTOLD STORY’. There are many versions of ‘creation’. I’m sure you both have your inclinations and beliefs that have been enmeshed into your intellectual fabric throughout your lives. I won’t tell you which version is true. The fact is that it has been so very long ago, that I myself am confused. However, one of the most recent versions is the one by that gentleman – Darwin. Are you both familiar with Mr. Darwin?”
The veil of torpor was slowly crawling over our bodies, but for some reason I felt alertness waiting by the corner in my mind, ready just in case. Being in that semi-hypnotic state, both of us merely nodded.
Pasupati continued, “Really nice guy. I met him recently at a party and we discussed ***censored***. I have got to admit, that chap has a grip on tantric principles in life. Anyways continuing with our conversation; a while after he joined us, he called in a motion during a session of the quarterly divine congress. The idea he put forth was remarkably powerful. It touched a chord with many a God and impelled a lot of us into action. After due administrative diligence, it got drafted into an Act and this contraption is a result of it. Now, let me incept you with some questions so that you intellect gets rolling in the right direction. Tell me, why is your ‘Dharma’ limited only to ‘yourself or your kind’? If ‘Homo Sapiens’ are at the helm of evolution, would it be normal to expect them to assist lesser evolved ‘creations’? Do you think animals have souls which might require similar spiritual evolutions as yours?”
He stopped and started looking at us intently as if to gauge whether intellects were really rolling or not. I wouldn’t know about Kanha, but my mind was soaked wet with thunderstorms of thoughts.
Kanha laboriously got up on all his limbs, and started shaking his head vigorously, as if to shake away the hypnosis. After a while, he glanced at Pasupati and said, “Of course, that is ‘The Untold Story’! Who on earth would have imagined what happened with Darwin in his afterlife!”
Pasupati started laughing and said, “You were an avid blogger during your lifetime, I see that ‘itch of intellect’ and ferocious argumentative streak still continuing in you. Anyways, you are missing the point. Darwin’s tale is not ‘The Untold Story’ here.”
It was my time to shine. I also got up on all my fours and started speaking. I looked towards Kanha and said, “The point here is that animals also have souls. We ‘Humans’ should have cared for them back in our lifetimes. Of course, trapped in our social, economic, familial, professional and personal pursuits, most of never have the time for it. Actually, if you come to think it, a lot of us don’t even notice animals at all except maybe for the occasional stray dogs or the lizard in your kitchen or the cockroach in your bathroom. This life-form is right there in front of our eyes and yet we don’t notice them. To us, they are just a moving part of the scenery of the world.”
Kanha looked at me stupidly and then turned back towards Pasupati saying, “I don’t get it. This sounds very ludicrous. You say animals. But all I can see out there, on the other side of the mesh are land creatures. Where are the sharks or the vultures?”
Pasupati smiled and said, “You are seeing only that which you are meant to. I wouldn’t know why you were allocated the ‘terrestrial’ zone. We have avian and marine zones as well. Trust me, I really wouldn’t know the answer to why you are in this zone. To put it in a language that you would understand, the department that decides this uses an algorithm more complex than IndiBlogger’s blog ranking methodology.”
I understood the first part, but the second bit about some blog thing was beyond me. I looked towards Kanha, who seemed to be nodding with a smug face as if he understood it intimately. After a brief pause, recovering himself, Kanha continued with apparent irritation in his voice, “Anyways, I’ll buy what you are saying. So now that I have heard your ‘lesson’ and bought it, can I move onto my afterlife? This whole quadrapedalism business is beginning to bug me. It’s been unceasingly itching near my chest and I’m not able to twist and turn my limbs to reach that spot!”
Pasupati glared at Kanha and that’s the first time I noticed the thing smack in the middle of his forehead. I wondered how I could have missed this remarkable feature – an additional eye. That eye was now open and it was shooting out arrows of anger. There was something infinitely fearsome about the expression that was now scripted on Pasupati’s face.
Not wanting to discover such grave things, I started walking towards the fence. Though the red night surrounded us, the crowd had marginally thinned. As I was walking over to the fence, I continued ruminating on Pasupati’s words. There was a brief duration in my childhood when I actually wanted to have a pet, a kitten. I did throw those regular tantrums in all my innocence. I don’t remember what made me give up that fancy of mine, but like children often do, I forgot all about it. I remembered those innumerable times when I cursed at the stray dogs in my colony. And zoos, that was only for the kids right!
With such thoughts, I approached the mesh and by instinct I swung my forelimbs upwards and towards the mesh. Luckily one of fingers got into a gap and I found support to stand upright for the first time in two long days. However, the centre of gravity in my kept jiggling and I found myself thoroughly uncomfortable in that posture. I was just about to get back to my normal position, when I heard the ‘Meow’.
A kitten was standing a few metres to my left and it had been examining the person right in front of it. But now, all its sights had settled onto me. It approached me in a hopping gait, clapping its paws and wagging its tail. It stood in front of me and looked deep into my eyes. Those pearls of innocence, staring away into my soul got me affixed to that spot. I couldn’t help thinking, if I could have succeeded in convincing my parents to buy me a kitten, I would have brought this very specimen staring into my eyes right now. You know sometimes you get that feeling ‘it’s just meant to be’. That exact same feeling in all its syllables was singing in my heart.
Breaking my trance, the kitten started saying something. To me, it was only a long string of ‘meows’. Then I noticed two cats approaching the kitten. I realized that those cats were also examining some ‘human’ specimen further along the line. As the cats, presumably the kitten’s parents, approached us, the kitten started jumping up and down, clapping it’s paws and bobbing it’s head sideways. I didn’t have to be educated in animal linguistics or sociology, I knew that the kitten was excited.
A strong feeling of ‘being wanted’ took over me. I wanted someone to just brush the hair on my head and keep brushing it slowly, as if pampering me. I wanted someone to stroke my back. I wanted someone to hold my head in a tight embrace. I wanted someone to plant me kisses and peck me on my forehead in that playful manner. I wanted someone whom I could run behind. I wanted to be ‘wanted’. Darn! I so desperately wanted to be ‘wanted’. I so hoped that the kitten would take me away from this darned wilderness of nothingness.
A sudden flash hit my eyes. I blinked and when I opened them, I saw one of the elder-cats was holding a device which looked like a smart-phone. It then started typing something in that device. In a few moments, the mesh in front of me dissolved and the kitten held out it’s forelimb, beckoning me. Landing softly on my forelimbs, and encouraged by the innocence of the kitten, I waggled ahead.
Before I knew, a lease appeared round my neck and I saw the kitten hold the other end of the leash. What if I was bound, I was now ‘wanted’!
As I strode away with the kitten, the significance of ‘THE UNTOLD STORY’ starting sinking in.
*** The End ***
Version control: Here’s a more serious and much better version of the story: Beyond Death: Stage 1
1. The author is still in his kiddish youth and his mind is unable to grasp the concept of soul and spiritual evolution. Kindly refrain from asking him questions on those lines, for he will vomit out only gibberish.
2. The author employs accepted motifs of Hindu mythology for his narrative. That’s where his religious inclinations stop.
3. The author doesn’t himself have any pets. His sole contributions to the animal kingdom cease at closely following PETA photo-shoots.
4. The author has not researched on what shapes animals see illuminating objects as. He believes that they might not be very curve-friendly. That’s the reason for quadrilateral stars and trapezoidal sun & moon.
5. The author did research cursorily on colours that animals see. That’s the reason for red-violet world.
6. The author is a non-vegetarian, and takes his role in the food-chain and food-pyramid very seriously.
7. Of course, no animals were harmed in the writing of this story.