Because 15/12/2019 Remains With Me

it, the clinic, is dilapidated,
much like the modern spirit.
ammi swears by his
she is almost certain
that he can cure everything.
when i ask her why then
does she still take other pills
she breaks the conversation midway.

he asks my age;
i stutter, which i normally don’t.
i am at an age when one, at times,
forgets, or rather waives the idea of years.
one lives, at the expense of a calendar,
like a new grandfather clock that has borrowed
the title of ‘antiquated’ to seem important.
i merely had a foot in the 90s and yet
i distance myself from the other generations.
“23… no 24… well 23 right now… 24 in a month.”
he brushes it aside, “not required exactly.”
i don’t show it but i am taken aback.
when the riot policeman, hitting me in my sternum
had yelled, “tu dilayega azaadi? umar kya hai teri?”,
it had seemed that my exact age was important.
“so what is your issue?”, he looks at me calmly.
i run the calculations in my head,
do i tell him about the voices?
“i…i just have trouble sleeping.”
the three other people in the tiny clinic,
and their crude stares don’t help.

“huh kids these days… who loses sleep at this age?”
it is an elderly woman, a blue shawl covering half her face,
her nose peering past it.
“they stay glued to their phones,” another one joins.
i scratch my head, look at him.
“how long has this been an issue?” he asks.
i hesitate. i have to come up with an answer.
who will believe it’s been three years.
even the walls have forgotten, masking
their sorrow behind 8 coats of hypocrisy.
the metal fences raped by bullets no longer wail.
yet here i am, entrenched in desolation
weakened by yesterday.

“a few months,” i say.
he stares at me.
the corner of his lips are dressed in darkness,
the culprits lay strewn about in packets on his desk.
his sight is rough, they seem to convey
a heavy humanness.
his moustache has turned almost all gray,
clinging on the remnants of a handsome face.
“what else?”
“some thoughts keep repeating”,
i keep my eyes locked on him.
he gets up and walks towards the back.
there are a million vials in the rusted shelves.
he picks some up and drips them in a tiny bottle.
“three times daily,” he tells me as he hands them over.
as i lean in to get them he whispers,
“you are strong.”

a month has passed.
his medicines have slid behind my bed, forgotten.
i am sleepless in equal measure.
i am fiery in some other.
i paint the scenes in my head when i lay.
i am a terrible painter.
i have switched the reds for greens,
so unlike Goya,
all i paint are gardens now.

Hanzala Mojibi is a Post Graduation Literature student of Ambedkar University Delhi, having been at the forefront of all the protests against CAA-NRC. Political and social issues charge his writings as he wishes to make a mark on people’s minds on contemporary issues. On a lighter note, an aspiring modern polymath, he loves writing, photography, painting, football, sketching, and getting to know random bits of knowledge that will never come to use in his lifetime.

Featured image: Students raising their hands leave Jamia Milia University following a protest against a new citizenship law in New Delhi December 15, 2019. Photo: Reuters