Confessions of a military traitor

When they asked me to join Special Ops
I didn’t really know what cops did in the guerrilla fights.
I spent countless nights running recon
And watched my six for a sneak-on attack that I knew was coming.

That one night, it was jungle all around us
And the blackness came to hound us
As we waited for their movement.
“Shoot at sight” was the Leader’s order –
A window of decision no broader
Than the buttoned fly on our pants.
“They come with their chants,” said our Leader
“And if you see some girl, don’t heed her
She will sooner cut your weener than you can say Mao.”

One such girl did run into our team
And broke at once into a scream that rang loud
In the emptiness that allowed no strangers in the jungle.
“Grab her,” barked someone from behind,
Clearing my mind of all thoughts but one.
I lunged and grabbed her ankle
As she turned to scramble off the grass
Back into the black mass of deadly silence
Where she thought she’d be safe.

If only I could go back once more
To that moment and score up the courage
To let her run away from me,
Then maybe, just maybe I can sleep again at nights
Without wetting my tights each time her despair crashes
Into the stone cold ashes of my conscience.
She comes and she shows me the scene
As if it’s not been some twenty years already.
As if it was just yesterday when I held her down
And the Leader gathered everyone around.
“Investigations” he called this farce
Beneath the canopy of so many stars, as one by one
They took turns with her.
“She loves it,” the Leader poked on,
As some of us just stood and choked on
The throbbing probe of his depravity.

Tell me I was a traitor when I finally shot him.
Tell me and I will take your offer.

If you happen to walk through a particularly sleepy village in Korba district of Chhattisgarh, India, you might run into a woman sitting on the road with her back against a red postbox.

If you say hello to her, she will show her teeth and smile a big gap-toothed smile. That is, if she recognises you. If she doesn’t, she will show her teeth, but in a snarl. And she can be quite dangerous when she is snarling.

If you ask the people around, they will tell you countless episodes of biting and clawing and bone-breaking that has happened around the postbox. And they will also tell you a story that has as many versions of truth as the tongues that tell it.

They will all agree, however, on some common points:

  • There was a policeman and there were several policemen.
  • It was night when it happened and many years afterwards, it was night again when they knew.
  • One policeman was dead and one policeman died later.
  • Everyone had heard what the dead policeman had said earlier and everyone had heard what the other policeman had said moments before he took his own life too.
  • There were several investigations before and there was this one investigation later.
  • The policeman who was dead was named a martyr and the one who died later was dubbed a traitor.
  • There were several newspapers which didn’t write the real story and one local paper which did.
  • The local newspaper died too.
  • Because nobody cares about a sleepy village in Korba.

They will not agree as to when the woman showed up in this village. They will not agree if she is the one from the story. But it is still a story they will tell you, if you ask about the woman.

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