Durian & Tolstoy go very well together

October 20, 2013

“Long before I discovered my fortune. I turned the wheel of life as a humble farmer – I didn’t have any electricity or water. I lived all alone in an open tent. On clear starry nights I would sleep beneath the stars. When it rained, I made the best of a leaky tent.

All I had was a couple of hours of battery time which I looked forward too very much everyday – I used it mainly to listen to the BBC world service. Even then it had to be rationed very carefully. I learnt to live with very little. It was a very hard life. But I was happy.

As for food, since I lived faraway from civilization. I lived mainly on tin food. Eventually I learnt to live off the land with the help of the tribesmen who taught me the secret art of invisibility along with how to hunt – for some strange reason, they regarded me as A-Mak (The albino Monitor Lizard) – the mythical being that their shaman prophecied would come to these parts every generation and protect them.

Life was very hard in those early years. But I was happy. I remember clear days when the sun was warm and a cool breeze always blew. And I remembered having an innocence in the way I saw the world.

I especially have fond memories of eating durians and reading. Alot of durians. And of course Tolstoy.

Then one night they came for me – they poured petrol over my dogs set them alight. They told me the same would happen to me, if I did not pack up and leave.

The following morning when I woke up. I looked into the mirror. And I saw a very hard man staring back at me – I recognized him, he’s the man who I’ve tried to run away from all my life. Someone who I thought was long dead had suddenly reappeared before me from the terrible past.

The man in the mirror wore an evil grin. He was not afraid of those thugs. Not at all. Coming to think of it, he’s not afraid of anyone at all. He was smiling at me or maybe he was sneering – it’s hard to tell with him – then he told me to put myself together. As I had begun packing up my bags. He went on to tell in a grave tone as he looked upwards at the birds that morning.

“We are not going back! These people do not know what a shit storm they have stirred.” At was then, he turned to me. I could see fire in his eyes and it sent a shudder down my spine, when he said, “Their lands will soon be ours. Very soon. If they want a war. We will give them one that they will never forget for ten generations. You just sit and watch.”

This man fought all of them for many years. He was fearless. Not the sort that runs away from a fight – not even when the odds are stacked dead against him. Some men are just like that, they have balls of steel and everyone just follows them. As they all know you are either with or against him. He was ruthless. Diabolically intelligent. Manipulative. Decisive. And everything that I am not.

I remember sitting there at the edge of my camp bed looking at him one afternoon when our lot got better – he cut a fine figure. There was something about him that simply made people look up to him. Some said it was the way he carried himself always like a powerful landowner. He had a way with women. They all liked him even though he was always cruel to them.

As time went by I grew quiet as I didn’t feel that I even had the right to talk and very slowly I grew fainter and fainter, till only this stranger remained.

We fought together for many years. Or shall I say he did while I just watched on most of the time – if there is anything kind and gentle about him is – he never expects me to do anything – he knows I don’t have the stomach for that sort of thing. But he’s different, he’s very good at what he does and even derives a perverse joy from it – so one year passed on to another swiftly. Dangerously.

Till one day I suddenly realized, it has been so long that I cannot even remember now – when was the last time there was peace or even why we have been fighting all these years.

Today all this seems very far away from me – but for some inexplicable reason, I can still remember fondly – durians going along very well with Tolstoy –  I know it sounds trivial and slightly wierd, but whenever I see images of myself from the distant past – it’s as if, I am peering into the life of another person who lives in another country that I have never visited before – who is he? I wonder.

Where has that boy gone?”

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