The candles we hold

candles

By: Rakesh Kotti

As darkness melts into day, we forget the sins we committed. The screams for help we ignored, the lechery we revelled in, the little girl we brutalized, they are all forgotten. In the light of the day, we hide our blemishes, in glib talk of democracy, the empty promises of human rights for all, the fasts and the farces. We lace our non-existent virtues with the vices we brim. The frightened mother and anxious father who know not what horrors their innocent child has to endure before the candle is brutally blown out.

The candles we hold, permeate light in the night. But fail to penetrate our dark souls or ignite our consciousness.

In a daze we march, muddle through, a few metres hoping we would become less culpable. Our collective morality has gone astray. And we are too frightened to come to terms with the latent guilt. Petrified of encountering stones on our paths. Stones that were used to dim out the gleam in the little one’s glowing eyes. Stones that have made our hearts heavy. The same stones we sculpt and pray to, now look at us in disgust. The stones know the truth, and someday they shall smash our conscience, the way snuffed the little one out. Stone-hearted and cold-blooded.

Those with a heart of stone are bound to be heavy-hearted.

With the stench of blood lodged in our nostrils and the taste of defeat, we ignore the insolent leaders. They lurk in our indifference, emboldened by our cowardice. They rape, maim and kill. The serpents in our midst, hissing all the time. The belligerent thugs masquerading as monks, as leaders of an ancient people. When dead men rule, language loses meaning. Words no longer enlighten, they only intimidate.

The candles we hold, permeate light in the night. But fail to penetrate our dark souls or inspire courage.

The deafening silence of the leaders, monks, Babas and the other assortment of conscience keepers is sliced through by the shrill sound of grumbling, hungry stomachs as broken hearts begin thundering. Another little child clutching at the feet of her father who told her stories of the firmament. She throttles, pushes, and pulls at the cold, lifeless feet of a man who once fed the village and beyond. The sores on his feet bleed no more and the mud from the farm coagulates in the crevices. She sits by the desiccated bovine, refusing to eat the gruel her father used to feed her as she sat in his lap. Her tears lapped up by the parched, baked Earth that saw no drop of water in years.

No candles were ever held, to permeate light in their lives. They fail to make an impression on our hardened souls. We eat their food and call them squatters. We are repulsed by the stench of their sweat.

Surrounded by battered wives and raped sisters. Our emotions find no words, but we share your tears. If only we hadn’t sold our votes for notes or the misleading bots. The bots that promised us jobs, peace, and prosperity. We fell for it. We are guilty of lassitude.

The candles we hold may bring us light a tad too late. They will attempt to put them out with their water cannons. Their mouthpieces will shout us down, and drown our voices down in the studios. In the riots they orchestrate, and the arson they choreograph, they will burn us down. Perhaps to ashes.

But the voice of reason is resilient and will rise from the cinders. With love, we shall overcome violence, greed and the sinners!

The candles we hold, permeate light in the night. Someday it shall penetrate our dark souls. And we shall shine bright.

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