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The prisoner’s dilemma





"I long for nada but the emancipation of the mind."
Image by Ch Kondoom


There was once a fellow inmate: a man of forty
Burdened with life’s absurdity
He made a plea to confess
For in his heart, he bore a guilty conscience
Not for bombing the state assembly building that he committed
Not for corruption while holding office that he was incriminated
But he wanted to admit the truth and
Get rid of his guilty feelings
That he was disgraced for he cannot metamorphose the world.
In his sedated voice, he said:

    “Darkness ruins my life
    while the sole thing in life I ever wanted was
    the lightness, the feeling of joy, the pride.
    A selfish love still binds me
    to my native place, where I belong.
    Inside this jail,
    my life has grown worse but I will try,
    until death does me apart from this world,
    to break free from the shackle.
    I had read the story
    of Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,
    now it inspires me to plan my jailbreak.
    Inspirations there are many, however,
    there is only one more thing to accomplish
    —and the desire to do it fuels my existence.
    I long for nada but the emancipation of the mind.

    “I do care for my unborn child,
    and my blood.
    Leave the other bloods;
    I saw theirs flowing profusely across the Nambul.

    “But they said it was an act
    of corruption to plunder wealth, that it was wrong.
    I had sighted my successors’ future bright,
    —that illuminates with currency notes
    I can hide in some family members’ bank account.
    So when I was serving the people
    as a secretary
    of the State Property and Defalcation Department,
    I used to indulge in money-making and merry-laundering
    —that’s my sole consideration
    for future generation.
    And I take myself even today,
    that I’m clean,
    having used only scrupulous means to gain the assets.

    “The trends of corruption would compel you to snub my remark
    but I’ll explain one instance.
    Perhaps this might clear your doubts and I don’t blame you,
    I accept things are really deplorable now.
    Once in a blue moon,
    there used to be job vacancies
    in the government agency where I used to work.
    People used to come to me
    For they have nowhere else to go
    with gold and chains and money
    that they gathered from their mortgaged houses
    mortgaged land, mortgaged fields
    I liked them and their memorable gifts.
    But you see that I was not supposed to help
    all these benefactors get a job
    for our society is too investigative.
    We have the respected civil organisations,
    and those gun-toting courageous people
    who shoot at any thing, any time.
    So I did help other non-donors too,
    by selecting them for the job.
    What a surprise it would for them:
    getting a job without ever
    having to worry about mortgage and debts.
    And I could not stand for trials
    In their open courtrooms near the unknown hilly slopes
    for selecting only my donors.

    “And not long ago, I was one of the common faces in the crowd.
    Leikai, leikai, in each leikai, I had gone for my campaigns.
    With the support, the trust I had invested
    in the people bored its fruit when I won the election.
    And now I—the fucking living example of democracy
    —Writhe inside this jail, with darkness and nothing else.
    And the people, they are waiting for the next election.

    “But I got, as planned, the chance to attend
    the assembly of self-seekers.
    Oh my, these guys were more self-interested
    than I had presumed and more than me!
    I was more concerned with the funds from New Delhi
    while they were obsessed with power too.
    Candidly, would they admit how power elevates you
    to the level of a god in this blood-thirsty land
    and absolute power elevates you even higher than the gods.
    No, no, no, any kind of corruption is just an institution
    but there is no such thing as corruption of power.
    We have only shades of institution
    —of robbery and bullets and murders and dogs and cops
    and what not. What not.
    Now you see I had surrendered
    my power as a minister on that day
    they passed the life sentence for me.

    “But I heard my inner voice before the B-day,
    Even before I learn how to beg for votes,
    even before I saw how the things work.
    I had found how we can create a situation
    where we can live as human beings,
    As human as any mortal in the busy Khwairamband
    I learnt it from the chilly airs
    that blow across the Koubru
    how we should be free from any kinds of agency.
    And I noticed from the white ibises,
    gliding swiftly in March skies, how we could fly across
    the verdant fields throughout the seasons.

    “And so I put a mask on,
    more quickly than those gun-toting guys
    that they had put on the veils of patriots.
    And so I decided I should disguise myself
    And so I bombed the state assembly
    And so I killed all the mongrels.
    What uses are of them?
    What fucking uses are of them?

Hadda get ridda the dogs with a bomb!
Hadda get ridda the dogs with a bomb!
Hadda get ridda the dogs with a bomb!
Hadda get ridda the dogs with a bomb!
    “If I had felt any sympathy,
    I could have loaded all of them in a low-cost airline
    —and hired it to fly them away
    to the end of the world
    to a place where they don’t have to drink blood
    to a place where they have to eat shit.
    But no, I desperately needed
    a lesson or two to teach their heirs that it is not a beggar’s job
    to be engine operators. And how I disdain
    this engine of society, which cuts sharp across its parts!
    Beggars in galore, judgment in haywire. Engine-Fuck!
    Government fucked! Authority fucked!
    And I’m also fucked inside this rat-hole,
    by darkness and rejection and dejection.
    Everything’s so fucked.

    “So I have been incarcerated here
    in this confinement, they are making me
    making my life, making my thought processes
    Schools and colleges teach you to be obedient
    In the home you have to be acquiescent
    In obeisance and obligation lie the mundane glories.”

The elected assembly building bomber would have went unendingly,
Taking my objectivity as sympathy or understanding, while I was high
Inside this jail you can get anything, but what do you need?
Two shots of junk every day till death does me apart from this world.

So I stopped him
As I signaled him to drink the glass of water
As I scribbled in my notebook
of my understanding of his turbulence, and I told him:

    “Your days are only as long as the numbers of hours you are awake
    In this land where a life is more important only than a ball of cotton
    In these days when killing is more dangerous only than what yesterday was
    In this lottery that you are only as safe as the unpicked number
    You are lucky that you are still alive
    You are a tiny drop of water that has been lost from the sea of humanity
    And it does not matter how long you are going to breathe, but tell me
    how your aspiration would change the world
    when people want no indisposed ideals of happiness
    but money to buy their family that plain felicity
    and places to go to watch to follow the soaring, wading birds
    and time to divide it by hours, not by day and night.

    “And your barbarity in killing all the sixty fuckfaces
    will provoke the main masters to send in the armies,
    while they go to America and join the bands of democratic pioneers;
    while it will mean more intimidation for the people
    more fear psychosis, more violence, more everything that is
    more unwanted than the government that you once belong to.

    “So I’d suggest that it’s better if we wither here together
    In this rotten room, in this bondage with our immoral sense
    Believe me, it’s less spoiled than what our world is outside
    where a piece of dung is more expensive than life
    where the air is filled with the smell of dead animals
    And if you are still too disgruntled
    —take this piece of junk, and I have a gun for you
    —have a shot and go high, maybe you will feel alright.”



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