The police mill around, trying to look busy, like they have something to do, like they may actually find my murderer. What a joke. Though, to be fair, they are doing what they can. One of them took a photograph of me and made several copies. A couple of constables went around the park and posted pictures of me, bloodied neck and all, with a handwritten note asking for information.
Joggers and walkers and strollers in the park pass my neatly zipped up body. They wrinkle their nose, shake their heads, strike up conversations with perfect strangers using me as an excuse. A young lady, interrupted her jog to stare at my photo, looked quite disturbed for a while afterwards, which pleased me. Not that anything would be done. What could be done that would matter to me anyhow? Another life had passed, another heartbreak, another awful end at the hands of he who loved me the most. And I don’t want him to be caught, or punished, or even feel guilty. After all, I loved him too. I still do, and will for all eternity. No, this is not a declaration, merely a statement of fact. More precisely, a statement of condemnation.
Forgive my morbidity. I usually have quite a sunny disposition. Pair that with unusually good looks and I have been called quite attractive in each of my lives. Its just this part, this post-traumatic death part. The stark contrast between my cherubic life and the last days always leaves me a bit shaken, pulls me down into this gloomy mood.
In this last life, he was, unusually, my brother. Three years older than me, and absolutely devoted to me. On my last birthday, he single-handedly threw a surprise party for me. Invited all my friends and his as well, made a painstakingly-complete video collage of my life. There I was, giggling as a baby. There, a four-year-old fussing over her lehenga for a cousin’s wedding party. Me reading, me performing at a school dance festival, me winning awards at swimming meets, athletic events (I was particularly good at the long jump), even a beauty pageant. At almost all of these, I turn to the camera and wave lovingly, for at almost all the events that shaped my life, I remember him being there, holding the camera. At the party, I was feted by all my friends for having such a close, loving relationship with my brother. In my neighborhood, we were already legion, the sibling pair that were pointed out by other parents, frustrated with their fighting offspring - “see how close they are? See how well he protects her? Why can’t the two of you be more like that?!?!”
In some ways, my behavior in the weeks following was his fault (isn’t it always?). Cocooned by so much love, I already had a sense of infallibility. I could do anything, and my big brother would be there to defend me, to make it all right, to give me what I wanted. Perhaps I took it a step too far falling in love with my college professor. Well, the words “falling in love” are bandied about too casually, it really was just an innocent crush of an impressionable young girl for her more-powerful superior. If it had gone unnoticed, it would have played itself out, ending with the shattering of the illusion of his grandeur, and I would have walked away no longer a spoilt child, but a wiser, more thoughtful woman. But it wasn’t to be. We were caught, his wife filed for divorce, it was all over college, and then our neighborhood. My brother stopped talking to me, though sometimes I would see him from the corner of my eyes, as he alternated between glowering at me and shutting his eyes tightly as if to wish me away, far away.
That gesture, those looks. Within a week of it, I find myself in this position. Looking over my body, hurting for my abruptly ended blessed-life, and even more, hurting for him and the hell that I put him through. It started several centuries ago, when I asked him to fetch me an enchanting golden deer. After all this time, I will never forget the horror in his eyes as I went up in flames. And then there was my most painful death, walled in alive for the sin of letting him, the heir to the Moghul throne, fall in love with a common dancer. I have burned with him in his funeral pyre several times, his express wish to prevent me from falling into the hands of another.
It is now time to move on to my next life. I am to come back as his daughter in that one. But it will be a very short life. His wife, unloved and mistreated, will abort me when she finds out it is a girl - she thinks, poor woman, that his horrid nature is due to his hatred of all things female. She doesn’t know that he was eagerly waiting for me, and when he finds out, something dies in him, to be followed shortly by his actual death due to heart failure. And then we shall be reborn again in this same land. As lovers this time I would think. To love, to hurt, to kill and to die.
This blog is dedicated to the as-yet-unidentified body of a young woman that was found in my joggers park (Delhi's Northern Ridge). I cannot get her out of my mind. May she rest in peace. article here.