The Curious Case of the Saffron Gate

There exists a saffron gate that keeps us from accessing the necessities stocked on the other side – logic and free thinking. On this side, however, we have access to misleading godmen and public servants, who tell us they can help us get to the other side. All they ask is that we sacrifice our freedom of speech at the altar of the holy cow; that we only reproduce babies-of-the-better-religion and chant hymns praising the Prime Gatekeeper – the chanting is meant to have a numbing effect so that we don’t feel the need to question things or make demands.

The farmers on this side of the gate have unrestricted access to all the food they want, but the only thing available is rats. Meals too are sanctioned by the gatekeepers. So, while farmers feed on nothing, the rest of us are prescribed selective cannibalism. Those who follow ‘other’ religions are fair game to feast on. After all, as our books not-so-subtly tell us –  we need to lynch those from lesser religions to secure other members of our population, like the holy cow.

One part of the demographic is entitled to special attention – pregnant women.

Pregnant women are prohibited from lust, desire and eggs. This prescription is based on findings from the wise council that runs the Central Body of Unscientific Methods in Medicine. It’s all a part of the Swachch Population Abhiyaan (Pure Population Programme), they say.

The Susheel Bharat Abhiyaan, on the other hand, tackles a completely different issue. The other side of the gate isn’t bad at all. It functions on reserves of Equality-Supporting Equipment. In ancient and medieval times, organically settled into equal social set-ups. ‘Hatekeeping’ is a relatively new concept though. Make that gatekeeping. Auto-correct.

On this side, there are cans full of special badges, available in two colours – pink and blue. Pink for humans with vaginas, blue for those with penises. A few people who dared to ask for differently coloured badges were declared criminals for having desires that deviated from the path of godliness.

I must warn you – the path to godliness is tough. It begins with a wedding ceremony, held in accordance with the rituals of the-better-religion in the best-known-language (known only by the priests of the better-religion). It is imperative for the blue badge wearers to sexually engage pink badge wearers after this traditional ceremony. Force themselves on the latter, if necessary. Asking for other colours in badges seems like an unnecessary expenditure. The watchmen at the gate can’t afford to spend their scant reserves of logic on such frivolous demands.

The pink badge wearers have recently become quite vocal about an endemic which has spread far and wide on this side of the gate. However, in a mysterious turn of events, people claim that they cannot hear pink badge bearers. A century ago, pink badge wearers weren’t just inaudible, they were invisible too. No one believed in their existence until someone brought over an antidote, laced with logic, from the other side. Pink badge wearers believe another such antidote needs to be imported. This demand has led a group of the pink parade to march to the gate and express the dire need for logic from the other side. Unfortunately, though, the watchmen couldn’t hear them too. All of them were blue badge wearers.

There are rumours that the decision to make pink badge wearers visible but not audible was a part of the Sanskari Bharat Abhiyaan.

Pink badge wearers decorate this side of the gate, you see. They are allowed to be ogled at and touched so that the blue badge wearers can deliver on their responsibilities diligently.

They’re taking steps to ease the pain of the pink parade. The gatekeepers have set up vaccination camps for pink badge wearers every three kilometres, where they are force-fed a drop of ‘sanskar‘. This is to free them from a malicious bacteria that makes them believe they have any right on their bodies.

For recreation, we have a community gathering at the better-religion’s place of worship, where the Prime Gatekeeper addresses us once in six months. The rush of excitement we feel then matches no other. We forget about the vices on the other side of the gate. In fact, we end up appreciating whatever little amount of equality he brings in from the other side of the gate.

But sometimes, around the fourth month of his absence, that old ailment of questioning his methods knocks at our doors again.

Before the gate was constructed, we had free access to those natural reserves of equality, logic and free thinking.

Garima Pura, 22, is a freelance writer and filmmaker based in Delhi. You can find her on Instagram by her name.