‘What is it that you dream about?’, she grew melancholic. Is it the moon and the stars, or is the languid and the epicurean masquerade to which we so much confine ourselves, said the sister. ‘A gleaming epitaph or a modest burial? Do you think about transcending the cosmic or incarcerating yourself in the commonality of our spirits. What is it? Dear brother, which is it?’ She ceased to speak, her venerable tongue. The night was deep. It was silent, almost uncanny while she could hear the distant clamour, a celebration. She didn’t know what was being celebrated but she grew content. Maybe a birth, a marriage proposal or a graduation, she didn’t care. All that concerned was something was celebrated and it was enough. She cherished the mere sound, the buzz, however blunt. To encumber oneself in the levity of common folks gave her great satisfaction. Empathic, not only in happiness but also in sorrow. She could truly feel them, the whole of their soul. At the outset she used to be disgusted, wailing in prayer, asking forgiveness to the lord but only the lord knew if he forgave or cursed , either way, she would be consternated at the sheer malevolence of our existence. With time, she grew tired of all intent. It lasted for a long time, the whole convalescence, from condemnation to appreciation. After it took its toll she woke up only to find the whole world comical. She had found her way out of the unyielding abyss of senselessness. Finally, she was free and here she lays ruminating her brother, his grave, neglected, a myriad of leaves piling up against the epitaph, nearly concealing the only remaining memory, echoes of the past and inaudible remorse for tomorrow. There was still hope for humanity but she was restless, impatient against the sloth and the divine.
It had been ten years since that fateful day, when her brother, naïve and buoyant, in his early twenties left the home to venture upon career as a policeman only to be murdered two years later. It remained a mystery to who had committed the murder but, it became lucid that nobody was responsible. The investigation ceased in a month and nobody cared. Justice remained available only to the rich and she couldn’t afford such a luxury.
Ten years later, she had overcome dejection, outlived suicide attempts, grown out of romance and joined the A__ convent. Now she was known as Sister H___. Why wouldn’t anyone convert if such conversions yielded economic and social incentives. From a low caste Hindu to a favourite disciple of Christ. At the onset, it was merely for survival, her basic instinct. It wasn’t even scrupulous enough to think twice, people living in privation can have that excuse. What moral dilemmas to consider when once cannot even be shown pity upon by thirty million gods. Here, we live in poverty, in desperation, no future to consider, where the rich get richer and poor are like domesticated animals, yet one is to act conscientiously. Woe to people who think that is even possible. Better to have a devil corrupt one’s soul than have million gods masquerade on morality. And thus, she was loved by Christ.
And here she is, stooping before the grave, gaping towards the inanimate trees and a bland breeze crosses her eyes. She takes a deep breath and comes to senses. A myriad of thought crosses her mind, she looks around, dark and cold. The dawn is a good night’s sleep away. She stares at the gravestone, it’s not her brother’s. A priest had performed the funeral rites and she could only but weep. The clamour has ceased. She primps her clothes, shivering in the cold, lies juxtaposed next to the grave against the cold surface of the ground. The grave of an old woman who probably died peacefully with her sons and grandchildren beside her, sleeps happily next to the sister.