The House
Ananya.s.guha | 05 May 2012

This is an attempt at flash fiction.

THE HOUSE came to him in a vision. Or was it a dream, a ghostly, wraith like dream? The house was crumbling, it was in ruins were a heap. There was no location for the house, in his dream: it was simply a crumble with a runious effect, dislocated, out of time, place and space. But he could see in his dream, its innardds, its rooms and he chose a room to live. He could vividly see its garden paths, with roses blooming and marigolds doing a wind dance. Yes there was an orchard, plum and pear trees with fruits hanging lusciously. He jumped up to pick one. Yet the house had crumbled, like a pack of cards. He was a destitute (in his house). (Later when he grew up he lived like one).

It was a dream, the house, the ancient tornado, its walls were not white washed – only yellow washed. Yes yellow, for that was its colour in the dream. He dreamt silently. He spoke in his dreams of the house, the house where rats led cats to play the cat and mice game. And there was a dog, a ferocious growling creature. He needed to tame it, because he loved dogs. The dog was an inseparable part of the house and its antideluvian roads. Roads led to the house. He wanted to live in it. He told them: “I want to live here, because I was born here, I wept here, I laughed here, I loved here, I fought here to make it a battle field.

He knew it was a dream, but he also knew it was reality because realities are dreams. Realities are monolithic; dreams are built on them, spiralling into death blues.

He loved reality. He loved dreams. But this dream of the house was not time specific. He must have dreamt of it when he was very young, his infantile imagination curled up like a baby in sleep. Peaceful.

Flashbacks: A friend rings up. Curfew in town. One killed, a businessman who challenged the killers.

A child kidnapped. Extortion notices. Fire in the town. The year ends. Bandhs from dawn to dusk. School friend dies. Violence in parts, parts, parts.

Someone is fighting against corruption. Someone is fighting for it.

Violence, violence in Assam, Tripura and Manipur. Flash floods in Assam, Meghalaya . . .

He grows with it. Lives it, eats it but the truth gnaws at him. Violence. Someone tells him: We must love. He loves, believe me he loves, loves so much that he hates to love.

That is when he starts dreaming. Dreaming of hills, pines and breath taking views en route to Mokokchung. He loves these winding roads from Shillong, where blue capped hills raise exotic heads. His friend Ban tells him: Write, write about them. Then you will escape from harsh realities.

He loves Ban.

Three times the cock crowed. He heard it. Then dreamt: myriad images in a pyramid of hope. Was he a pharoah in nether world?

When he grew up he did not understand why little children were made to sell tea. He wept. Tears are salty, but they bruise the skin.

True enough he started living in that house. But it was not dilapitated as it looked (in his dreams). But it was crumbling all the same. He locked himself up in his room.

Thanchungnunga, called Thana was one of his closest friends. He put his hand on his head. Prayed and wept. Prayed and wept. Prayed and wept.

He wept. Why? He wept till tears refused to emanate and his battle scarred body succumbed to sleep.

One day when the wind and hills had myths to narrate . . .  he left the house.

Now he is dreaming of building a new one: sycamore and ashes.