Friday, March 27, 2020

Rani, Guddu, Death

Today's prompt is easy:
-- Exactly 500 words
-- In dialogue form
-- Explain an idea (concept, theory, phenomenon) to someone who has never heard of it before.
The following words must appear in your piece - "wonder", "genius", "nevertheless", "red", "suave".
Rani (3 years old): Why is Dadaji sleeping on the floor?
Guddu (13 year old cousin): He isn’t sleeping, Rani. He’s dead.
Rani: Dead means?
Guddu (Muttering to himself): Kahaan phans gaya! Why did Chachi find me only to look after this genius kiddo with her endless questions? In this huge joint family of seventeen, sorry, now sixteen people, why me? I wonder how long I’ll have to babysit her.
Rani: Guddu Bhaiyya, batao na. Dead means?
Guddu: Dead means no longer living, not breathing anymore.
Rani: See Guddu Bhaiyya, I’m not breathing. Am I dead?
Rani holds her breath, her chest held tight in her little red dress. (In all the hustle bustle of the funeral arrangements, her mother couldn’t find a single sober dress. Red would have to do)
Guddu: You are only holding your breath, Rani. Dead means Bhagwaanji ke paas chale gaye?
Rani: How do you go to Bhagwaanji? I want to go too. I want to go and play with Dadaji. I want Dadaji to cuddle me, and let me sit in his godi.
Guddu: Do you remember Goldie? The goldfish in the bowl in Dadaji’s room?
Rani: Goldie was so pretty, swimming round and round and round and round and round.
Guddu: Please stop, Rani, I’m getting dizzy. Then one day Goldie stopped swimming, we found him floating upside down in his bowl.
Rani: I want Goldie, Bhaiyya. Let’s go to Dadaji’s room. Maybe Goldie has come back. Chalo Bhaiyya, chalo.
Guddu : Sorry Rani, we have to stay here, in your room, with all your toys and books. Your Mumma said you have to stay with me. Goldie can’t come back. When someone’s dead, they can’t just come back.
Rani: Okay Guddu Bhaiyya. Does Bhagwaanji have a nice big house? Will Dadaji have a nice room like his room here?
Guddu: I really don’t know, Rani. All I know is that our Dadaji is no longer alive. He isn’t breathing, talking, eating, drinking, moving around. He can’t even blink, baby. (Mutters to himself): God, please let her not ask where they are going to take him and what are they going to do with his body.
(Background sounds of ‘Ram naam satya hai’ and ‘Brigadier Sahib Amar Rahein’ rent the air. Nevertheless, Guddu maintains his composure. Rani, of course, rushes to the window.
Rani: Where are they taking Dadaji? Why is he covered with all those garlands? How will he breathe?
Guddu: Sweetie, he isn’t breathing. Come let’s play with Teddy. See, Teddy’s crying, he’s missing you.
Rani (Crying): Guddu Bhaiyya, let’s go and stop them. They can’t take Dadaji away.
Guddu (Holding Rani in his arms, standing near the window): See, baby, Papa, Chacha, Bade Tauji, they have to take him away. They have to take your body away when you die. Or else you rot and stink, like the dead mouse behind the fridge.
Rani: Haan.
They huddle together, crying, as the once suave Brigadier Kohli marches on his final journey.

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