"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

"That is totally unacceptable mister," she shouted, making everyone turn towards her, "Are you a human being or not? How on Earth can you think of abandoning a child's body like that?"

The young doctor, clearly embarassed at the attention, tried to pull her aside, as if he was feeling guilty of what he was doing. He did not dare to grab her hand for fear that she would shout again; finally just bent towards her and whispered: "Ma'am you know these are orders from above. Why are you shouting at me? Why don't you complain to the dean? I am just doing what they told me ma'am!"

"Okay! where is the dean's office?" He pointed and she stormed in that direction.

"Oh! It's you the activist again..." the dean thundered, "why don't you people just let us do our job?"

"I need answers," she retorted, "both the man and the boy died in the same accident, then why is the man getting a decent burial but the boy isn't? This is grave injustice. Don't you have any respect left for human life?"

The dean gestured her to be seated and spoke in a hushed tone: "Look! This is a politically charged issue. That man belonged to a powerful community, which is a prime vote bank. The minister personally called me to take care of the body. The boy was an orphan, and will be disposed along with the unclaimed bodies."

The activist lady wasn't buying into it, "What do you mean unclaimed body? Is that how you treat a being? Every life is valuable. Don't you dare bring religion here. I want the boy to be cremated honorably!" Her voice was rising in pitch. People began to gather at the dean's office. There were shouts and commotion. Various voices were heard:

"Give the boy a burial..."
"All life is the same..."
"There is no big or small in life or in death..."
"Every life deserves respectful cremation..."

Not wanting to risk a mob, the dean gave in and the second body was also dispatched to the burial ground. There were hurrahs and congratulations. They hailed the lady for her boldness and surged in to shake hands with her. Media people were also quickly upon the scene.

The dean left, and gradually the crowds dispersed.

On the way out a security guard wanted to shake the lady's hand too. She shook, and the poor man was unspeakably grateful. As gratitude to her kindness, he sounded a warning to her, which he obviously didn't care to dole to the others, "Madam, please take the other gate. There's a dog dead outside this gate. Nobody's looked into it for past two days and it's stinking real bad. Please avoid this gate."

She thanked him and took the other gate.

As she approached the parking lot, she noticed a dead butterfly on the bonnet of her car. Its bright red wings begged for attention. While she stood and admired the pattern on its wings, she got a call.

Someone spoke in a flirty tone, "Hey darling. Wassup? Saw you on news. You are becoming quite the rebel huh?" She blushed, "Oh c'mon sweetheart. You know me! I don't do it for the fame. I really want everyone to respect the value of life. And giving due respect to a dead body is part of respecting life, isn't it?"  The other side agreed, "I agree my tigress. Now why don't you come rushing to me and give me a kiss of life, before I turn into a dead body, devoid of your love..." She blushed again; hurriedly got into the car and drove away.

The butterfly carcass floated in the wind, drifted for a while, and landed on the pavement, a little away from where the dead dog lay.. rotting.
Categories: ,