PTI-JI (2)

Gul Bukhari writes of the Precipitetans, whose young were impatient. They wanted the stars. And they wanted them overnight. They wanted to break free. They wanted a Messiah.

The elections were finally over. Exhausted with worry that they may never be able to define their own destiny, and wary from losing their near and dear ones in the war with the Talitrons, the people of Precipicetan were finally beginning to feel exhilarated. For each, it was like a dream come true. (Almost) all of them hated Mr Kanes and everything that he stood for. Mr Kanes and his men had kept the people enslaved for 66, 000 years. It had been so long, that the people did not know what it was like to be free – free to know, free to choose, free to govern themselves. Freedom was an alien concept. Hence everyone imagined freedom differently. Still, the election had happened, and everything would be alright.

Precipitians were a prolific nation – a young nation. Though they only remembered working as hard as donkeys, they never seemed to have enough resources to feed, clothe or educate their young adequately. And the young were impatient. They wanted the stars. And they wanted them overnight. They wanted to break free. They wanted a Messiah, a Messiah to deliver them from the slavery of Mr Kanes.

But sly Mr Kanes knew this all too well. His many friends had helped out over the years. Many Santa Clauses had come and gone, each serving the purpose to beguile the time, with none the wiser.

Still, the election had happened now, and everything would be alright. They would overthrow Mr Kanes and choose their own leader, from amongst themselves. Except, the people were bitterly divided. No one quite understood why. No one thought of the Santa Clauses, the Red Caps, the White Caps, the Reindier, the Rats.

On the morning after, the stage was set, the winners’ parade ready to be applauded.

Supporters of Musa, Mr Kanes’s old friend, were missing from the celebrations as he had been routed. The people hated Musa. He was a spy and a tale-bearer. He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious place called Utopia where all people went to live after they died. It was situated somewhere up in the sky, with perpetual streams of milk and honey, and beautiful women too – especially for those who killed unbelievers.

The wizened elders stayed subdued, neither cheering nor lamenting. Their man, Mr Arrow, had finished a distant second in the race. Sadly, they understood why.

The pragmatists cheered the loudest – their man had aced the race. But the doubt in their hearts they disguised with gaiety. You see, they and the Tiger had had a game or two before.

But it was the young who had waited with bated breath. It was their first time. They had been high on a hope and a prayer, with the world theirs to change. But the Batman Messiah had straggled in third. Something must be wrong. Everyone had voted for the Bat – this was not how it was supposed to end. Denial, confusion and accusations flew. Still, he led in one province, everything would be alright. They would cheer their Batman, and life would go on. The drums rolled, the youth screamed, and in glided Battie, the foolish handsome batman who polished Mr Kanes’ shoes, showing off his new livery. Walking arm in arm with Battie was Musa, Mr Kanes’s old friend, who usually slinked behind the back door.

The silence was deafening. Till it broke, with the sound of hearts breaking. One, by one, by one.