By Subhash Ghosh
Exactly what it is -- already it was dark when I left my room – I cannot guess. A few steps only and suddenly my legs stop: Geese -- geese behind me, geese before me, geese all around, millions of geese; what a scene of geese! I cannot move; I see their wings, feathers: the whiteness of their feathers covers footpaths, streets, garages, tram lines; every corner they cover. The geese move their heavy reddish legs: everywhere I can hear their rhythmic footsteps. They flock together, they make a gathering; what a lot. These geese eat red lotus, pluck them: pluck and eat and throw the petals to each other. They brush their bodies with the lotus; they brush and take a rest. A white fire like mercury slips over the footpaths, houses, cars, garages, and squares. These unclaimed, white feathered, resting geese over the red lotus make my thought process stop; it becomes barricaded, my eyes tied by a kinkless wire to the Nadir and Zenith points. Even the unmindful lamp post guards in fear. Geese pluck lotus and eat, eat and pluck. I cannot understand why they are so despotic, these unclaimed geese!
Suddenly I whistle; only the geese hear; their bodies shiver, necks straighten, ears become alert; they open their red lips slightly; then and there a gigantic turbine begins to roar within my head.
Even the hairs of my body get excited: hairs become burning flame on my head. I hang my handkerchief over by breast and I begin to tremble, tremble in my hands and legs. Only they, only the geese, see my handkerchief (specially designed and coloured), straighten their necks, shake their wings and feathers. A faint call emanates from their throats. They are with the SOUND, with the CALL – the one I heard 12, 13 years back, back in the days of my puberty when I got a sickness in the blood – this call of the past, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13-years, awakes the whole sphere of my limbs, penis, penis-ends, the physio-libido system, silver fire, houses, roads, rows, and squares. My limbs, head throb; my blood pressure rises. I see these innumerable geese, wings and feathers. I begin to wave my handkerchief around my head; the mad handkerchief waves like a pointsman’s signalling flag, moves from east to west, from west to north, from north to south, on all sides and in all direction. The unmindful, frightened lamp posts begin to turn; they break into a thousand parts when dashed against the hidden waterhill. I see all around me by my search light. My hands continually signal. The geese straighten their white necks; each has turned its head from the red lotus, and I become restless in this sudden discovery. Looking at the handkerchief, they stir their lips and necks; they swell their wings and feathers. The turbine which has stopped earlier begins again its turmoil within my head.
I take the blue bottle from my pocket and spray the fluid over each and every geese; at once their bodies become limp. They begin to approach my shadow, as if hypnotized; they assemble around my shadow. My hands attempt to lengthen and try to catch them, one by one. But I control myself and begin to advance like a flute-piper; the hypnotized geese follow me. The flying handkerchief signal spreads. From time to time I see my trodden path by the searchlight. Each geese follows my footprints, follows my; they advance, and in my hand the restless fling of a pointsman.
We do not know when we come under the great sky. I see nothing but the white flames. The green grasses are burning. The geese quack in chocked voices. In the white fire they burn their past, stir their wings, and take off their clothes. And the turbine in the head roars higher. Now and then I see the geese at my back, the handkerchief flying overhead. Suddenly my eyes are captured by a pond of lotus: like a lodestone it attracts me. Gradually I approach it; the geese follow me, dumb and blind. On the four sides of the pond of lotus monument size “Shibalingas” grows. Within moments they become dense. And once again I see the geese behind me. They too become restless, seeing the pond of lotus. I take quick steps to the other side of the pond; I move the handkerchief; following the rhythmic signal of it the geese steps into water of the pond. They eat lotus, they pluck lotus, they plunder lotus. They make as much turmoil in the water as they like. I see their drunken wings to the farthest corner of the pond. They worship the blind god. They throw all their ornaments in the red fire of the lotus, unhesitatingly. The turbine in my head roars ten times louder. Then, seeing their undisciplined manners, I am taken by the idea that in how many way, in how many maximum ways, how many and how many maximum eggs I may have from them and getting these eggs I shall make them featherless, sickly, pale and when shall I drag them by their necks out of the lotus pond? Only determination begins to grow gradually with a waterfall-sound, in the turbine blades.
Subhash Ghosh :A prose writer and a founder member of Hungry Generation Movement in Bengali Literature. Has several books.29 April 1999 was his last day of his life.