The Medley

is a twice-a-year literary journal run by the students of Hansraj College, University of Delhi. It is a repository of stories, poems and essays sent to us from around the world since 2018.

Deaths Collected

I was in tenth grade when a pup with its head concussed was fussed over by a pack of rich colony kids. they fawned over it night and day, then gave up in disarray when the vet pronounced imminent death. so the starving pup moaned alone in silent concentric circles corresponding to societal circles growing larger and smaller till it lay down to die alone, wrapped in the food and nonexistent love it’d shat out, eye sockets a vacant lot, pleading the solitude in death that had so haunted it in life. in two seconds flat, the vultures descended, the cultures descended, wrapping ‘it’ turned ‘him’, into a jacket of emphatic sympathy, of tears and moans that could have shamed its unheard cries of death, and they lowered it into a grave full of grave secrets, whose fancy stone read, “here lies Fido”, which is a lie because Fido never lied, because Fido never existed when he was alive. A sad concussed pup died alone and cold, and Fido the lie, was a new name in Death’s Collective book of lies written down with the nonchalance of deathly calm, Is death even calm?

Was Camus, when he wrote the Myth of Sisyphus and said, in order to survive, one must believe Sisyphus happy? And there was once born an übermensch named Sisyphus who happily pushed a rock up a hill, a continuous process spelled ‘cunt’ because a happy Sisyphus existed only in myth. The real Sisyphus would’ve been a sissy, would’ve groaned under the deathless torture of his chore, and would’ve possibly craved to die, just die, only die, die alone. but in living death he was found by the vultures, erratic, literratic cultures and they stole from him the only thing he owned: despair. One now imagines Sisyphus happy, and goes on with life, and another name has been added in the list of Deaths’ sub head: Buried Alive.

When the unemployed wretch around my old family house situated himself at the base of a mango tree and begged for some money for his ailing wife, a weight machine beside him, unable yet to weigh the burdens of a solitary life, nothing clinked into his threadbare cap, that wasn’t coated in disdain for his pathetic attachment to his dying wife. the morning sun blushed redder than usual when it lit up the blue face of the corpse hanging from the mango tree, or the purple one lying below. by first light, spectacled doctors had gathered to gather in the spectacle, collecting money to buy an expensive shroud for bodies which would never be warm again. such undying love, they said, should be buried together, not apart, and two more names, were added in the ledger of Death’s collected heart. “जिसे जीतेजी तन ढाक्ने को चीथड़ा तक न मिला, उसे मरने पर नया कफ़न नहीं चाहिए।”

But one must firmly believe in God, Godot will redeem, will overcome some day, and maybe reverse the narrative of pain of Plath’s head in the oven, of Jesus on the cross, of Woolf’s pockets filled with stones, never as heavy as her heart, of Narcissus clawing his face to fucking end his torturous beauty, of Echo starved of love, but what echoes instead is a narrative of romantic death for something that is best described as rot and decay. they say the one way to end the meaninglessness of life, is to end one’s life, end it alone on one’s own terms. but it’s like Wonderland’s little doors: you can never die alone, can never, never tell what’s on the other end whether they’ll name you Jesus, or Scoundrel Christ. Good cop-bad son, teacher- gambler, lover-wife beater, rapist, martyr, murderer, liar, liars all lying down in deathly lies. Life is a lonely, lonely business in which the fittest too, shall eventually die. But death is a collective, of grudges and debts collected, deaths collected, a complicit web of lies that one can’t possibly deny.

Aparajita Deb

Aparajita is of the mind that human beings are receptacles for stories, and that our legacies are determined by how beautifully, sadly, terribly or carefully we weave magic through ours.