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Creative Nonfiction Mystery Holiday

The crock resting on my neck is the root of most of my problems. Its inverted mouth remains sealed, nothing can escape from it, except blood, and that will be my end. So, no worries there.


The real problem is the literal mouth and the uncontrollable blabbering it does. My racing thoughts reverberate inside the crock, causing me immense pain, but they lose their energy if I keep mum long enough. 


That’s why I shall not speak much until this damned spring lasts. Otherwise, they will lock me again and put me on pills. 


I hate it when I drool as a rabid dog does, and I sure will do that with a dose of lithium and valproate inside my body and brain. 


The king of seasons is making everyone extra energetic. The trees are sending off new offshoots in every direction. Most are flowering, ready to convert the nutrients absorbed over the year into tiny packets of energy—a perfect bait to help spread their progeny far and wide. 


Even the animals are being extra chatty. Elephants are drooling, resembling me on medication, and langurs are jumping from one branch to another, the same way my thoughts jump from one avenue to another. The macaques are gritting their teeth, induced by a spurt of serotonin in their brains. My forefathers are horny always, but my foremothers take the pink pill in this season only. 


People are singing, dancing, blowing trumpets and beating drums to celebrate the season, most of them harvesting new crops, a lot of them welcoming the New Year, and a few of them remembering their Gods, and their foster children—the Saints. 


Painters are sharpening their pencils and readying their colour-trays, and bards are filling inks in their pens and wiping dust off their keyboards to eulogize the season, most of them quoting and drawing inspirations from the dead among their tribe, a lot of them tweaking the old pieces, and a few of them composing unheard and unseen pieces. 


And, I am expected to stay mum. People tolerate my company when I am in between, but I speak many uncomfortable truths in spring and then people hate me and then I come to places such as these. 


My emotions are powerful and deep in both the stages but they don’t last for long, same as this Kunthi River which covers a scant distance to reach the sea,never to come back. It will ride the water cycle and may fall on Nilgiris again but the hills will not recognize it. The only difference between me and Kunthi is that it never gets muddy and muddled and my thoughts always do. 


Shall I dwell on Nilgiris more, since it reminds me of the Nilkanth? The Blue Mountains. Blue neck of Shiva. The neck sealed shut with the inverted crock with a glue of poison extracted along with elixir. No, I shall not. There is still time for that, otherwise, I may become God too early. How relieved I am that I am an atheist. 


What a fool I was, when, like Nehru, I believed the monks lived in a delirium, worshipping their deities of choice, following elaborate rituals, meditating under the influence of marijuana, and eating and wearing whatever the devotees brought them. It’s not my fault when one of them, when pressed hard, said that deep within he knows that death is the full stop; not the semicolon—to body, mind and soul. Nor am I at fault when I felt an enormous surge through my body upon hearing this proclamation. I stripped every piece of clothing from my body and broke into a dance, in a complete trance, oblivious of everyone around me. 


Validation is the same as broken pieces of a mirror when it was a rare commodity. You couldn’t throw the mirror away and it slashed through a part of you, the first opportunity it got.


How much distance have I covered? Twelve kilometres is it? The fit-bit shows eleven kilometres and eight hundred metres. Accuracy, agility, and reading other’s emotions are side-effects of my condition. Add to that, the all-knowing smile, and my big brown eyes and they evoke fear in others, lest I see through them.


How do I remember names and faces always, is beyond my comprehension. What should I do with this much information when I cannot even process most of it in my tiny brain? 


The silent valley does not live up to its name since it’s a hotspot of activities, the biological hotspot. I have not seen such natural beauty packed into so small a place. 


Wait! Silent valley resembles my mind right now. I cannot fathom all the offerings of the valley in their entirety, the same as I cannot peruse or pursue all of my thoughts, but there are glimpses of beauty which I can savour. Can I present my thoughts too, like this valley is doing in spring, for people to glance once and then enjoy what catches their attention the most?


Yes! I can and wouldn’t it be a delight to follow a train of thoughts, ignoring every other route it can take. That yogi told me, it’s possible to concentrate on just one thought till you reach the end, from where it can go no further. You either find the root or that’s the end, of either the thought or your capability. I will break down an interesting perspective and keep following that until it gives me a choice to stop there itself or to follow another one. From there I will go to another and then another, jumping but not jumping. 


Oh, Yogis! Sringeri is not far away from here where I ought to go tomorrow, which reminds me of Adi Shankar. He may have been in a depressive phase when he reached Srisailam. When spring came, he composed Soundrya Lehri—the wave of beauty. After that came Shivananda Lehri—the wave of Shiva, the book of Nilkanth, the book of the pure and it changed the Hindu world. 


Sun is setting in the Arabian Sea, taking with it the whole imagery of the valley and closing its doors to the human world, for dreaded creatures roam during the night across it, till the sun rises from behind the Nilgiris once again and walkers like me return. A new sun will illuminate my inverted crock too, or so I hope. An illuminated crock doesn't need the facade of greatness to show the light inside but wouldn't it be a delight to have all of it filled with light, making my existence light enough to carry on without a care in the world?

July 01, 2020 05:50

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19 comments

Kelechi Nwokoma
08:16 Jul 01, 2020

Love your story and the descriptions again (did you study literature or something?) I especially enjoyed where you wrote, 'the king of seasons.' It reminded me of an African literature book I recently started called 'Things Fall Apart' Chinua Achebe, the author, said yam is the king of crops. So seeing king of seasons reminded me of that. Overall, this is wonderfully written and I love your story. Keep it up!

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Nihal Raven
22:58 Jul 01, 2020

Thank you so much. King of seasons is the English translation of Hindi word-ritu raj, another name for spring. I know 3 Indian languages/dialects so I try to play with words here and there. Big fan of Achebe.

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Kelechi Nwokoma
23:22 Jul 01, 2020

Wow! That's really interesting -- knowing 3 Indian dialects and incorporating that in your writing. It's really amazing. I'm also interested in languages, but I don't really have the opportunity to learn so much. Right now, I'm struggling with learning French and Chinese on Duolingo, haha. Although, the app isn't so helpful. And I'm glad you're a fan of Achebe. I like his books. Then the next Nigerian novellist I like is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

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Nihal Raven
01:45 Jul 03, 2020

I have not read Adichie. You can introduce me to him if you will. I am also trying to learn French from the last 3 years. Had a friend from Martinique who helped with that a lot but you know how hard it is to learn a new language, or anything for that matter. But sure it helped me to base my story, 'second life' on the Beke community of Martinique. I am dying to read some french literature in the original language ; to be honest.

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Kelechi Nwokoma
09:54 Jul 03, 2020

Wow! Reading French literature in French? That's amazing! And yes, learning a new language is hard, but it's also really interesting. And Adichie is a woman, actually. The author of Purple Hibiscus, Things Fall Apart. And Americanah (I don't know if you've heard of them before. They're really popular books in Africa because, well, they're African literature)

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02:58 Sep 03, 2020

Beautifully written! I love the creative aspect

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Nihal Raven
00:30 Sep 04, 2020

Thank you. Please read my story, snake charmer too.

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00:50 Sep 04, 2020

Okay! I'll read it soon

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Denise Brown
08:03 Jul 10, 2020

Hi Nihal What an interesting read. I also stumbled over the crock on the neck, assumed you meant crockery but wasn't sure. The imagery in the story and the substance is lovely. You tell it eloquently and philosophically. I am not familiar with Hindu beliefs - this gave me a lovely glimpse and certainly piqued my interest. Lovely writing Denise

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Nihal Raven
15:24 Jul 10, 2020

Thank you so much Denise. Glad you liked the imagery.

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Claire Tennant
03:08 Jul 09, 2020

Nihal you leave the reader wondering, about the character. Yes, the imagery of a non-Christian faith is evident and beautiful, and the poignancy of the person be he a worshipper or patient, is real, The analogies of the animals in their habitat is magnificent. Obviously, you have studied both subjects but the thing I loved most about this story is the mystery amid the lesson. Well done I look forward to reading more at some stage

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Nihal Raven
16:36 Jul 09, 2020

Thank you Claire. I am glad you liked the story. Which story, all the way from Australia, you recommend? I would love to read one of your stories.

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Nandan Prasad
05:10 Jul 06, 2020

Wonderful imagery here! The incorporation of certain bits of Hindu mythology makes it seem realistic. Very well-written! Also, would you mind checking out my story if it's not too much trouble? Thanks and good luck!

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Nihal Raven
08:44 Jul 06, 2020

Thank you Mr Prasad. Which story would you recommend out of the 4?

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Nandan Prasad
09:06 Jul 06, 2020

Maybe 'There's Another Year Coming.' That's my personal favourite.

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Brittany Gillen
13:30 Jul 05, 2020

Nihal - I agree with others that there are some great images painted here. For example, I love the loud Silent Valley and when the character strips their clothes to dance. However, the one image that I was most interested in "the crock on my neck" illudes me. I was immediately intrigued by your title and opening lines, but I can't figure this one out. Does the character have a crocodile hanging from his neck? Just the teeth remaining? Is it a medical device? Is he imagining it? Does crock have another meaning I am missing? I like th...

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Nihal Raven
18:04 Jul 05, 2020

Brittany thank you for kind words. As for the word crock (as in crockery), it's a pitcher kind of utensil, not a very common word though. I have equated the inverted crock to the head.

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Brittany Gillen
18:11 Jul 05, 2020

Gotcha. Thank you!

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Grace M'mbone
09:27 Jul 03, 2020

I liked your story Nihal. The descriptions are AMAZING. You really have mastered description. Please keep writing.

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