Write a poem/piece of prose up to 300 words on the following theme:
COME LIGHT MY FIRE
By Neel Anil Panicker
Tonight’s the night when it may all go up in flames. My dreams, my desires, my love, even my soul. I am in the garden, looking out at the wondrous skies, illuminated with the sounds and lights of a million projectiles.
It’s the festival of lights, the triumph of good over evil. For me too it’s an upheaval__of not just this night but for all nights to come.
Inside, on the cot, lies in wait Aslam.
He is my husband’s brother. Tonight I am to marry him.
“Aren’t you ready yet,? The maulvi is due to arrive any time soon”
That’s Fatima, my mother-in-law. Her sound bite, more declarative than interrogative.
She may be pushing the wrong end of seventies, but neither her tongue nor her hands have lost any of their razor sharp speed.
An imprint of her stout legs on my sallow cheek is proof of her prowess.
Boom, boom…bang, bang!.
The decibels levels been up like this, always. This being a border village precipitates matters.
Rockets, shellings, mortars __ I am used to these deafening sounds__ all par for the course.
Out there, beyond the garden, around those fields, among the bushes, hides Sailesh, my lover.
In my womb, I hold his baby__our child.
My eyes scan the dark.
A strobe of light circles the magnolia flowers to my left.
It’s my cue.
I step out, careful not to trip in the dark, gingerly holding onto the ends of my bridal dress.
I don’t look back, I simply move on__to my new life, to freedom.
I am leaving behind still-born memories of my ‘husband of one night’ before he was called to war, never to return (missing, presumed dead, absconding__ I just don’t care!).
Suddenly all around me bombs explode, rockets blaze up the sky.
Lost in the gun shots that follow are the crazed shrieks of my mother-in-law, soon to be ex.
The fireworks have just begun.