The hills were verdant. But it seemed to her barren and desolate. The dark green canopies of the trees and the tall elephant grass rocked in the wind. To her they seemed to be expressing violent disapproval. The wind wailed and came incessantly brushing the tall grass, bending it as if by coercion, but something the shrubs seemed to relish before it went back to its former state. The wind then hit the hillock where she lain with a howl. She felt them like the calls of the hyena. "You raunchy slut go away, you charlatan keep out”. They seemed to howl their cat calls in chorus. The symphony that Nature played did not touch her faculties.
Is it or is it not the state of the mind? She again began to hear the words reverberating from far away-the words that were spewed at her. And now the wild has taken up the call, “Pariah, get away.” Nature too has a way to tell her annoyance with her for being there. Her being there – did that defile Nature too? The cold roaring wind was like profanity directed at her. It came from far over the hills, know not its genesis, know not where it goes and know not what it holds in its way in passionate kisses. But they seem to whip her, lash her lacerated torso, piercing through the torn fabric of her dress. Even the wind, the grass, the trees, the hills, all has begun to express discomfort, disdain and repugnance for her. Is it or is it not the state of mind? The mind refuses to see the dance of the ballerina, the tango on the green hills.
She knew she have not much far to go. Her broken limbs were twisted and swollen. She bit back the pain, though not more excruciating than those words that come after her, haunting her ears like the sound of the cymbal. She laid her head on the rock and lay still, looking far above up into the blue sky. She could see no angels, no fairies but void, not even floating fleeting clouds, just void. And the words kept resonating, “You ........raunchy slut go away.”
The life lived was not! She deluded to live in the tower that she crafted, the tower which she in her supercilious and imperious living did not see was a tower in a dune of sand. The frenzied aspiration to reach the skies could only built the tower of Babel. She saw the days come back in a time machine. She had deign much, but the illusion of trappings and wealth did not tell her the condescend living that it was. In these moments when the retinue that flocked to her beck chose to foresake and this miserable solitude in the hills impelled by remorse, guilt, infamy and now having purposefully wandered afar into the wild, lost her way, she knew she will eventually surrender to the lonesome cold moments before life would gradually ebb away from her. Her clothes were torn and in tatter. She now has been wandering for almost a week, aimless and in trance. The leeches in the rain fed mangroves downhill have preyed amply on her. The sores were bleeding. She understood that she cannot any more delude the world let alone herself that they were stigmata. Hunger and starvation was throwing her into intermittent delirium. Brief moments when she slid into hallucination brought to her apparitions of many faces whom she had hurt, had trampled with her wicked mechanisations and crafty innuendo, the ones she shut out selfishly. She will gradually yield to hunger, the cold, the insects and the predators who feast at night. She knew she may not see the light of another sunrise. Her time of reckoning was fast nearing. She longed for darkness, for light was dangerously fearsome.
She feared going back to civilisation. Was it the fear of repeated denials- all those who once stood at her beck? When did she lose her way? She lost her way early in adulthood, to avarice, glamour and wealth. Then the lost ways became the path to often tread. The hubris of youth, the lust for wealth, the malicious pleasures that infested and intoxicated her veins, when she used and jettisoned people -men and women, she lost her way! When she decided that there was value for nothing, but price for everything, she had lost her way! She lived and thrived in false hood, trickery and emotional black mail.
She quivered and trembled seething with anger and it was aided manifold by the physical impuissance and weakness she felt. She remembered that old woman cover unable to look her in the eyes and turn her wrinkled weather beaten face away when she chose to feign having not heard others disown her. The very same hag, who did nothing but encourage, when her own flesh and blood walked astray! In fact she prodded her, urged her, and exulted in her perverse ways. For pounds of riches would silence all tongues. It was frailty at its loathsome worst.
She now recalled the old fable of the felon who was sentenced to be hanged till death .When asked what his final wish was, he pleaded to transpire a personal longing to his mother. And went forward as if to tell her something in quite to her ear and locked his teeth on it like a vice to wrench the organ out of the woman. He wildly then exclaimed to the wailing old woman- his mother ,blood dripping from his lips and holding the blood drenched pried out ear, “It was this very ear that you lend as deaf to all those little infractions I did as a child .And it was this very ear that feigned to the many greater sins I did. The very ear that encouraged me by pretending being deaf! And now bring me to the gallows. It is not worthy to be on you no more.”
She sobbed and cried. She lay there crying until tears up to the last drop let out and dried .Flies were insistently feasting on the sores that lay open .She saw the predator bird circling above. It had sensed that the time was up for the feast. “The crunchy feast on the invalid raunchy”!
She rolled her eyes towards the tall peak a little to her left. She longed to be there on top. Then she saw that it was this fiery longing for being “there” that made her tread the path that she should not have. She saw that she was not invincible, but a mere mortal in the intrigues Nature has. It began to bury in her, though she all these years believed, liked and exalted in desiring , in believing that she was essential. She deluded! Like Marie Antoinette entrapped in the comfortable cocoon of pomp, lust and wealth, she failed to see the harbinger.
It dawned on her that there was no snow on Kilimanjaro. She closed her eyes and slowly sensed her going down the yawning abyss to be free of all that she ever had, ever relished and all that finally vowed her away. The final image that stayed in her before the last iota of consciousness slipped away was the scavenger bird circling above in patience.