Burn Till All Left Is Ash and Coal

By Shreeja Singh

Breathing in the familiar, fresh air of my home had been one of the few moments in my life that had not been riddled with purpose. The act itself filled me with poise and grace, like adding fuel to an ending fire that was riddled with black coal and white ash. The colorful curtains that I chose for each of my sons and little characters I had etched on their beds when my womb was swollen with them, were my salvation. The example of unconditional love that I rarely got for just being me, not the most beautiful woman on earth or as the Queen of Indraprastha or as the wife of the five great Pandavas or even as the daughter of the King Drupad, my father. I had been born into hatred nurtured by disappointment and formed into destruction. I was born to be the cause of laments not praises, a job I fulfilled with extreme efficiency and accuracy but my children were those little bursts of sweetness in a barren and sour landscape. They were mine. Mine to love, hold, and care and cherish. They were the only part of me that allowed me to see the mirror because they made me feel real, they made me feel alive, and they made me happy.

But like the sacrificial fire from which I descended, I burnt them. It was I who condemned them into an early demise, not only did I burn away their life, I took away their past, future and childhood. It was I who caused the sacrificial fire to burn, it was I who destroyed them and it will always be I who would suffer. Tears that flow down my face are worth nothing, like me. They would never fulfill the true purpose like the other water droplets to quench thirst but like me they will stand as sinners and act as angels of pain, misery and anger. People will remember me as the woman who changed the world, the inevitable change of era and maybe even as a powerful woman known as Queen Draupadi but would they remember me as a mother? It has been said that a thousand doors of death open when a woman goes into labor. I have gone through many of them but they never said that after braving those thousand doors of death, motherhood becomes an eternal heaven.  I had been humiliated in a court, I have visited the death more than enough times but why , why did even after all my torment I could barely taste my eternal heaven?

My husbands, the men I am supposed to love, could not fight in schemes and had me humiliated to an extent that I could have ended my life then, but I consoled myself by saying they were honourable and honest men so they did not know. I was nearly raped by their so called cousin in law and they didn’t kill him and I consoled myself by saying they care for all even their enemy. They broke our marital  vows of never allowing another woman in their beds by marrying multiple times but I still made excuses for them by saying that they were preparing for war and being far sighted. But when they could not save their own sons in the arena of war, what excuse should I make? They failed in their prime duty as Kshatriyas and men, they failed as fathers and they expect me not to lament, not to cry, to be a Queen of a kingdom whose throne is wet with the blood of my children? I refuse! Oh I refuse!

I will burn like I was meant to be. I will burn till my wrath is felt by the heavens and feared by the hell because I no longer have any reason to fear the rain. They changed an era and built a new one on my account, they made me their pawn, and they killed my children and tore my heart out. They will pay. They will pay in blood and misery. I was fuelled into a righteous wrath for decades now I will burn in hatred. I burn by my heart to protect my children, I will burn into an inferno so violent, maddening, so amoral that even history would rub my name away in hope to forget me!

Burn like a broken lamp….. Burn like a sati on the pyre…. BURN ! For all that will remain is the fire within and ashes outside…. Burn to forget ! Don’t love them ! Don’t care just burn like the endless fury of my heart…


Doctor ?! The patient…

Sita heard a shout that resulted in a splitting headache. Her head was hurting, her chest was hurting ; her whole body was hurting and in pain , but the worst part was not the pain in her body but a pain from within her soul like a fire burning that flickered into her with every movement she made. She did not remember her name; she did not remember anything except the cry and voice of that woman. It was like a last roar from an injured tigress, it was haunting and horrifying. It made her eyes hurt like she cried excessively and her lips felt chapped. Sita went on introspecting and she did not notice the doctor who had entered and looked at her with shock. He was old but well-kept and slightly weird, something about him made her tick but it all settled when she looked him in the eye and saw the real him. He was a monster, he killed children, especially little girls, and he had to burn…

He hurt our children , burn him like he burnt us… BURN!

And my vision went black.

I looked up from where I had dumped my tired body to see the news. The reporter kept on talking about a murder of a doctor in a hospital who was found to be convicted of multiple illegal female feticides. Then she went on speaking of multiple break-ins into prisons where pedophiles and child abusers were found burnt with a little blood lotus next to them, quite similar to the doctor.

I heard the news with a horrified face for the people around me but the fire inside me was preening like a wolf as the voice cackled maliciously, asking me to burn more and more until I was coal and ash and I agreed with a smile because I will for sure burn, burn like a fire. Burn because no one touches little babies… My children, mine.

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