The passing of seasons or governments make no difference to me. I cannot look out of window and watch the dry leaves fall or listen to the wind or drizzle. There are no windows here. There is no wind. I see no sign of life or reality. Arnab Goswami says the nation wants to know when I will be hanged. Nothing more. Nothing less. While in here, I rot , day after day. Alone. Silent. Unseen. Unheard. Hated. In a room that smells of rust , urine and filth. Everywhere around me, all I see is shadowed walls, empty ceilings and grilled doors. And long and narrow corridors that twist and turn into ugly emptiness. And blood stained awkward non-sensical inscriptions of another prisoner who must have made them in moments of sheer desperation during his tenure here. Twenty three maddening hours inside this miserable cube shaped hellhole everyday is the toll I pay for choosing the path of darkness and vile while I still had the time and choice to go back to life. Here, listening to the deafening silence and the eerie vibrations, I pray for those innocent souls I had slain to safely reach jannath. And wish that the next second, the next moment, the next minute, day, week ,month , year would pass a little quickly than it did before. Looking forward to nothing but the judgement day in Allah’s court. Everyone around me, just about everyone , wants to see me die a ghastly death. During the occasional visit to courtrooms and hospitals , thousands of people wait to lay their hands on me. They try to kill me, throw stones at me, call me names. Abuse me. Burn my effigies. Not that I don’t deserve any of it. A mass murderer , an infamous criminal who is the perpetrator of one of the worst terrorist attacks that struck the country. My name had gone down in history in bloody bold red. A terrorist. I was that and nothing more.
The outside seemed unreal to me. It simply did not exist anymore. This was my destiny. A direct result of a series of wrong choices I made. Most of them made out of the sheer lack of choice. We were all trained for this. Trained to be undeterred and vicious and strong. Yet no description of reality will prepare us for the actuality of it until it strikes us. Sometimes, I close my eyes and try to recollect the world outside.I don’t particularly imagine the sky or the birds or the meadows. But I might have wanted to see the sight of the shack in which I was born or the fields in which I used to play as a kid once more. Recently I even developed a wish to get the feel of the sun rays on my skin again. I didn’t know it was one of the things I would miss so badly some day. Occasionally I would scream, I would cut myself, bang at the walls, tear at my clothes, rip my flesh. I would groan,cry, weep, jump, fall, run, and then at the end fall to the floor tired and weak. I am not insane. Yet I often dug my fingernails into the walls and make carvings of my Ammi’s face. I am not guilty, yet pray that all the souls of people who died because of me would rest in peace.
I didn’t mind the bad food or dirty clothes now. Indeed I had left home one Eid because Abbajaan did not buy me new clothes. Not that I got them later either. I didn’t know they would come for me. And then I met those men . I did not trust them then. I never trusted them later either. I had tried to run away more than once. And I came fleeing home, but then they had chased me back. I knew that if I tried again, they would burn my house down and uproot the rest of my khandhaan. My Abbujaan and Ammi watched in terror as they beat me up and rolled me into their truck. My parents were too old and poor and unhealthy to stop them or pursue me. In a vain attempt, they did try to raise a meek protest. I looked back at them and watched their sunken faces for as long as I could as the trucked pulled away. They knew I didn’t want to do this. They feared I would be made to do something terrible. Despite that, they will never have me again. The fact that they have disowned me doesn’t upset me any more. Those people were too powerful and influential. The path that I chose for myself had not left me with any way back. There would be no redemption or salvation. I could only wait for the day of judgment to arrive.
That day in the basement of an ugly building in some remote land, they had me and 20 others, handcuffed and chained. Then we were offered food and clothes and allowed to offer Namaz. We were given clean clothes and bed sheets and shown our rooms. The next day onward they started teaching us to read our holy books and understand what we thought was about the greatness of our god and our religion. But they manipulated our scripts. They taught us exactly what they wanted to teach us. They showed us exactly what they wanted us to see – About how our life was different from others. When they told us the stories of our brothers who fought bigger wars and gave away their lives for the love of our God , they had our attention the entire time. Then about the need for national reconstruction and the issue of identity politics. We did not understand most of it. What they didn’t tell us then was that, in the pretext of religion, they would shape us into wanton criminals who would kill away thousands of innocent men and women. They wanted a state for us and would settle for nothing less. Slowly and steadily they were turning us into religious extremists, more so, as bloody criminals.
In the next phase, they taught us to kill. To run, to not escape but to kill more. And to kill faster. To not leave anyone alive. They told us of everything that can happen to us if we are caught. Of all the torture and torment. To survive it. Ways to outlive the pain caused due to physical endurance. To enjoy the high and the color of blood. And then they gave us a choice to back out. But then we were warriors, we didn’t want to back out anymore. We wanted to be martyrs. We were ready. We would never flee. The whole purpose of my birth and existence was narrowed down to this moment. This moment where I would be the perpetrator of God’s will. I did exactly what they said and more. The bomb blasted exactly at the time and place where it was meant to be. The rest is history. What was not part of the plan was that I would be caught, alive. I wasn’t allowed to live.
I took bath and offered my Namaz. Every time I close my eyes, I saw the terror on the faces of the people I had killed. The sight wouldn’t let me sleep or walk or talk. I believed I was remorseless. But deep down I felt weak and helpless. I wasn’t allowed to be guilty. I looked down on the lines on my hands – my lakheer. For one second, I wished I was born as another man. I looked at the dirt in my fingernails and lifted my hand to feel the wound on my face. I take out a small piece of blade I had hidden inside my clothes and smeared it at my vein. I see the blood oozing out in a slow shower. I watched every drop fall to the ground. More blood. All red. Slowly it formed a pool. I cut again. I enjoyed the high pain gives me. I try to imagine the face of Ammi. And the fields. Abbu. Bhaaijaan. The visions become blurred. I grow dizzy. The pool of blood forms a narrow stream and slowly starts flowing away from my body. The visions are now of the faces of the people I had killed. To die knowing that there is no one to mourn our death leaves us half dead. But then to know that the Nation is waiting to celebrate my death fills the other half. I had sinned. I have no alibi or pleas. I knew that along with many others, I had wronged my God and my people. Well, the human in me had died a long time ago. They made an animal out of a poor illiterate 22- year old. I was not allowed to be guilty.My thoughts drifted back to the night I was brought to the basement. That night ,I was dead and a terrorist took birth.