Sunday, October 6, 2013

The brown belt.

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 42; the forty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "COLOR"

Abhay pulled up his trousers for the umpteenth time, like every day. He almost did it subconsciously like it was akin to breathing. Any trouser was a misfit on those skinny hips of his. But he never wore a belt. Wearing a belt brought back memories.


Painful Memories.

Those of his father. Of the putrid smell of alcohol mixed with smoke. Of his towering, overpowering presence in their shanty. Of being thrashed mercilessly. That snaking brown belt. Around his father's rotund belly. How he dreaded it when his father ripped it off it's favourite perch! How he cowered when it found its way on to him! Of the blue and red strips on his back and hands, and his legs and face. Across his ears. Yeah, that incident had left him partially deaf. And partially blind. He remembered withering away slowly. The years of wetting his bed after evenings of whippings.  The feeling of sleeping on a bed of thorns. The ache penetrating every nerve ending in his body. 

The belt. The brown belt.

Why him? he wondered. Was it his mother? Was it because she ran away? Or was it because she ran away with his best friend? Maybe he reminded him of his mother. Or maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was the penury. 


Beads of perspiration began to form on his forehead as he thought about them. He felt a pool of water forming at his feet. His trouser soaking in the warm wetness. His slippers starting to smell.


Shalini. The only love of his otherwise drab life. What a breath of fresh air she was! Warm like the sunshine, untouched like the morning dew, and delicate like a flower. He smiled as he thought of her and how much colour she had added to his life. And then the smile turned to a cry as her lifeless body spun around in his head. His piercing cry rented the air as he buried his face into his palms letting the tears of anguish flood them. The black burns of cigarette butt on her unblemished skin, the teeth marks that had left behind red blood clots, and the look of terror on her face had shattered him. And then he saw his father. Lying next to her, consumed by alcohol, consumed by lust, consumed by his own apathy. The brown belt lying next to him. 

He had run out and retched till his stomach hurt. The years of being thrashed seemed painless now. 

He returned a little while later. He looked at her body lying limp on the ground, terror still evident in her eyes. He sat down beside her and wept. The beast still lay asleep. Abhay reached into his pockets and felt the silver cold metal against his warm hands.  His fingers slid effortlessly into the groove underneath. They landed a string of six messengers of death into his father’s head. The smell of burnt flesh pervaded his senses as he bent down to feel his father’s pulse. There was no sign of life.

Then he closed her eyes shut. She had seen enough. Enough for redemption. He removed the ragged brown belt lying next to the beast and fastened it around his neck like a noose. Pulling it tight till he felt the neck snap.

Just to be sure. 

Just symbolically.

He smiled. And pulled up the trouser weighed down by the wetness. The smell didn’t bother him any more.

The brown belt. It was no more.

They were now just memories.
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