Irfiction: Payback

Logo for IrfictionMy first take at fiction, through my eternal favourite subject of animals. And in case it’s not evident, find out what Irfiction is here: About Irfiction.

It finally dawned on him. Why he was fed the freshest, greenest grass the past few days. Why the kids led him – paraded him – down the street. Why the elders came every once a while and felt him up – his belly, his legs, his flanks… And he thought they were petting him.

As they dragged him by the ears presently, toward the crimson-smeared area, it finally hit him. They feed you so that they can feed on you. Horror slowly consumed him. Yet, the last tenacious bit of him – oh, he was tenacious all right, having bounced brazenly from one rock to another on his tiny toes even as a kid – managed to bleat out, his loudest bleat ever, to the next in line, “If… If they do this to us… isn’t there any way… we get back at them…?”

Next-in-Line wasn’t exactly a wise old white one; none of these are – old, that is. And… he was next. As Tenacious was slowly readied for the ritual – first the hind legs were tied, so he wobbled and fell, then the human hands swooped to tie up his fore limbs, then his mouth was fastened, finally two hands each held each of his limbs and mouth and head – as Tenacious was slowly prepared, he kept searching Next’s eyes, lips, face for some redeeming answer.

On his part, Next was trying his best, even as he was slowly started getting paralysed himself. Just as the blade came to rest at Tenacious’s neck – perhaps waiting for the auspicious time, perhaps from some prayers – he could sense some murmurs from nearby, perhaps allowing him one last look – Next, and the humans, turned in the direction of the murmurs. The strains of the TV wafted in, much as the stench from here wafted there: “Hundreds of pilgrims have been reported dead in the holy city… on the eve of the festival. Authorities are…”

Next looked back at Tenacious, and slowly carved out the words through his goatee, “Oh, we… get… back… at… them… alright…”

Gently, Tenacious closed his eyes, even as his ears caught more of the urgent words, “Reports say many more are injured and fighting for their…”

A composite of two images, the one on the left of Holi celebrations, the one on the right of a sacrificed sheep

Holi Mubarak*

Day after, we celebrate Holi again –

Only this time, the crimson,

Not aimed at, but coming

From an unsuspecting one.

* Holi is the festival of colours in India, during which people shower and smear others with colours. ‘Mubarak’ is an expression of greeting during the different Eid festivals, such as the upcoming Bakrid.

Close-up of a camel couple


Fifty-five grand, it seems,

Is the cost of a camel’s life.

But has anyone checked that

With the camel’s wife?

Inspired by a report in today’s paper mentioning the cost of sacrificial camels for Bakrid. Camels are the highest-priced of all the animals for slaughter during the festival.

Goats for sale before Bakrid

Dead End

Here comes again that time of the year,

When herbivorous animals are bought, and tied, and fattened,

Little do they know, they have little cause for cheer,

And that this really is the beginning of their end.

This year, Bakrid, the “celebration” of goat (and other “domesticable” herbivorous animals) sacrifice falls on September 24.

Goat being held down before being sacrificed during Bakrid