The Human Condition

The Human Condition

Elephant Journal on the 24th of March 2015. View on E.J- Meet the people of Chitwan, Nepal {Beautiful Photolog}.

1.Old wood burns the brightest.
2.To her they are not stones.
3.Wasteland? Homeland?
4.In front of the smile or behind the wire.
5.The Charlatan
6.B.C 2012, the land before time.

The old mother carries on her back three days worth of firewood. She knows that old woods burns the brightest, and that is why she spent the whole day searching for the oldest branches to pick from the great forest; that had been her backyard ever since she was a little girl. She was reminded perhaps solemnly, of her younger self as she passed the little girl at the border of the village playing by herself with stones. The old woman’s imagination tried, tired and mostly unwanted these days, unexpectedly rears up like a disturbed serpent.

It reminds –to her they are not stones. The old woman remembers, a long time ago, when the stones were not stones at all; instead they were perfect rounds of glass that the last rays of daylight refracted through, etching colourful dreams into her smoke and dust filled mind. Her tiredness turns to a smile that soon disappears as she steps on to the pathway, the only pathway in their homeland.

She sees the younger mothers and the dreams and imaginations of her children being sucked into the ground and then burnt away with the burning smoke. Two single word questions float through her mind – Homeland? Wasteland? She continues walking, not breaking her stride, the bundled wood threatening now to break through her back, she passes the girl who sits at the fence smiling. She tries to think back to a day that the girl was not there, in this spot at the fence, smiling and playing with the children. She tries harder, but she cannot remember a day that the girl was not there.

She looks harder at the girl, for this must surely be a trickery of the light or the mind for she cannot see anything in front of the smile or behind the wire. Her back is about to give way, and she ponders no longer about the girl with the smile, she is almost home.

At her doorstep The Charlatan, had done it again. Walking away with the grandest look on his face; he had convinced his little brother to finish his chores. She gave him a disconcerting look but the little one just dusted his hands and walked towards the setting sun, unfazed, after all all is fair when things are hard.  She walked into the hut, tired. With an aching back she lays down and closes her eyes, just for a while, before duties called on her again when all the children come home.

Just as the sandman was about to claim her, she faintly sees the girl smiling down at her, but before she could make a sound or wake up again fully,  she sinks back into the ground, her bones giving into the fatigue, and the soft hands covering her sight. A few moments later she wakes up… in B.C 2012, the land before time, where humanity prevailed and all was well.

  • Category : Journeyman
  • Date : April 2012
  • Location : Chitwan, Nepal
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