“…The sun was still orange then” he murmured. the forest, of old, glistened through his eyes. his dappled ashen beard shimmering gently in the breeze. “This was before the world knew humility, before humans knew the meaning of violence. I was brash then. bolder than I am now.”
Kaththi always seemed as if hew was sitting at the threshold of this world. as if his eyes were thrown open in wonder, gazing into another universe filled with dreams and magic, and his voice was giving testimony. or clearing a path between the brambles, and long prickling grass of the forest.
The dogs sat caught in the lasso of his story. Quiescent. some panted. all of them were watching his every gesture, as he spilled the milk of his pasts into their midst.
“I stole it. like an idiot. like some petty thief. and I sold it in the blackmarkets of Aryavarth. Ganpati’s story. for a few paisa. And as more people heard his story, he grew bigger. and bigger until he was too big for the forest.
Yeah, that’s right. Ganpati ran away from Siva, to look for his human head. his elephant body. We met. I took him captive.”, and he let out a great big guffaw.
“You’d think he was divine, immortal and such, but he was clumsy as hell. just wrong. plain misfit. he was standing there like some confused adolescent. might as well have held a sign.
One full day I gave him. in return for his tusk.
‘I’ll throw in a poem he said.’
‘with war and stuff. two warring families. I’ll throw in a story of live, and death, and betrayal. I’ll write you an epic worthy of an age of giants, and men. women of such fire, and men of such vision, that they will be the stones on which lives are scratched out hence’
‘So I gave him a day. bartered for the Mahabharata’
before I returned him to Shiva”
“He never quite got the hang of it, you know. this god business. He seemed better of in the forest.”
he stopped. Tashi suddenly sprung up and trotted into the foliage at the edge of the clearing. a bird called in a shrill bassoon. leaves rustled.
one look at sitara, the alpha of the pack.
and they left. the dogs.