Flames

We had a small shop where we sold condiments .I worked in it.

That day when they came I had gone to the main market to buy supplies for the shop.The mob arrived soon after I had come back from the market and cornered me.

I was still at the shop when they came.I wanted to run, I had heard that there was a mob roaming in the area , my wife and children were at her mother’s home in Behrampura.But it happened too quickly.They must have come in a lorry they were carrying swords and were talking on cell-phones.Everyone in the area began to run when they arrived, but very few escaped.They cornered my shop from all sides.

The shop was in flames and some of the bastards had moved on.

They poured kerosene on me , and on the shop and set it on fire.My skin burned because of the oil poured on it. My clothes were wet with the oil.My clothes caught fire more strongly because of the oil.To have your skin burn is a pain that singes for a while.My whole body was on fire.My face hurt more and the pain was excruciating.I tried to cover my eyes with my palms, even as I ran away from the mob towards where my community was moving.I was screaming and begging for help.

When the burning seeps into the skin the fat begins to melt and portions of my flesh began to fall out, I realised in horror.The pain was now making it difficult for me to move and I began to crawl.The men who poured the oil and set me on fire were watching me, they had gathered around me in a circle.There were eight or ten of them.

—————-

written at the Jaaga Creative Writing Workshop conducted by Athena Kashyap.

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