The rains haven’t yet reached this part of the world, but it’s damp nevertheless. The cell is devoid of light. Both the omnipresent form and what lies inside.
The inmates cannot sleep, for waking up has lost its purpose. They do not shout, they do not make a racket, they do not utter obscenities at the guards under the foul breath. The years inside have succeeded in making humans out of the monsters they were once. But does a person remain human if he has lost his spirit, the will to fight, the hope to smile?
He sits silently at the corner of his cell shared by three others. The smoke hasn’t left his lungs, he butts down a cigarette to light another. He has a date with The Chair tomorrow.
His cellmates are clueless to on what can be said. How can you comfort a twenty five year old who knows he will be dead in another couple of hours. How do you look at life when mighty death stares at you, inches from your face. ‘The boy’s will is strong’, they thought, ‘he hasn’t shed a single tear till now’.
The society had given up all hopes on them when it sent them here. But to him, it was a little more merciless. It had shunned him when he was a kid. Illegitimate, penniless and living in the gutters. He had no sense of relationships because the basics were denied. He had no sense of morals, for the society had forbidden itself to him. Like some others, he grew up surviving on petty thefts, oogling on the ‘goris‘, ‘beedis‘ and the occasional ‘pauwa‘. The voices told him it was all good.
But one day, she smiled! ‘That one, with her perfect round breasts, that curvy body, in THAT expensive car, she smiled at a piece of shit like me’, he thought. The voices in his head were very helpful, they were his only friend- his best friend. Here, they told him to follow the ‘memsaab‘.
Follow he did, but was left shameless and flabbergasted when she failed to recognize him. He couldn’t control the pain of the humiliation of the self, but the voices got him past that. The voices told him to wait for a chance. The voices told him to wait for the night.
He caught her unaware. His organ was hurting for the past two days, His loins pained from excitement as he pinned her down. She struggled, she tried to wriggle out, but couldn’t. He raped her, mercilessly, once, twice, thrice till the voices told him to let go.
He left her by the road like he had done the last time. “But why the fuck did she have to have the gun in the car!” He thought again and again. It was self-defense, the bullet had escaped his bald head somehow, but with the missed target, the girl lost her licence to live. The voices told him to end her, and he did, with his own bare hands.
The voices had long deserted the time police arrived. There, for the first time, he saw what he had done, took it all in, the mind was without his guiding light, his only friend, his best friend. But it felt calm.
He carried the same calm the next morning when he smoked his last cigarette. While walking to the chair, he once again remembered what the voices spoke before they went far away –
‘things have made you what you are. what you are will make you what you will become. don’t hide, they will hunt you. don’t run, they will catch you. don’t fight, they will hurt you. there is only one way out.”
The execution was tidy. He was dead before he knew it. Alone when he arrived and alone once again.