Yes of course it’s a factory, but of different sort. A factory specializing in manufacturing myths, myths of different kinds, each myth taking its own course and shape; each smirking inexorably and hideously at the sane faces. The myths swallowing everything in the way; gobbling down the truth and the just, the people and their voices, the memories and even their traces. Myths meant work; they meant annihilation, destined for wiping out the very existence of events. Myths were lies, lies of all kind, each being carried out by everyone, passed on to the other and then carried back to first one. Myths were unsurpassable.
The personnel at the myth factory; working conscientiously day and night with renewed vigor and enthusiasm, preparing rough drafts and then the final forms. The factory personnel after day’s work wait with bated breath to sell their myths at the myth market. The myth market is all occupied and busy, filled with squalor and gloom. The Sun rarely comes out.
The Street road leading to the market is all the time filled with dirt and human stench. The drains alongside the market road are blocked and sewage covers the road underneath. The traders are looking for myths that can fetch them more money. The myth factory had sordid motives to be accomplished which were written at the entrance and exit gates of the factory in a coded language, only to be understood by the workers. Masters in their strident voices dictated things to factory personnel.
The saner voices at the other side of the wall (A giant wall dividing the factory people and people at the other side) were not much louder and audible. They were hopeful of living at peace with the factory people but not at the expense of truth. They all knew in their hearts that the past and the present is unalterable and is the only truth. The memories of past were unassailable. The torment inside them went on stretching wide and caused excruciating pain. Each myth released and circulated caused greater torment and unjust. Everything that happened in past had to be overshadowed by myths. Nothing was to be remembered.
The factory veiled by silence operated mostly in nights. The personnel at the myth factory worked under the command of their masters. The masters were the learned ones and were presumed to be shrewd pseudo-intellectuals. The factory was at a distance from the town working secretly under the wraps of being an intelligence agency. The people of the village were not allowed to saunter around the factory.
One fine day, two young fellows from other side of the wall on a motor-vehicle are stopped at the factory gate in the afternoon. After much deliberation with the fellow workers guarding gate, who were stubbornly persistent in stopping them to go across, one of the fellow sweeps through the guard swiftly and knocks at the door of leader security worker. He aptly discusses the situation with leader; mentions about attending a class at this very particular time on the other side of the gate. Leader security worker shrugging continuously comes out of the room. The gates are closed and young fellows are pushed back to the other side. Both of them dragged on the gravel covering the road loosely, workers hurling abuses at them and then all breaking into laughter, laughter that pierced their ears. They were brutally thrashed, beaten and humiliated. The day was oppressively humid. The hapless friends drove their way to the market street; it was a myth day, new myths were to be released.
Monday was the day of leisure for party workers; an official holiday marked in factory calendar. The factory calendar drafted by masters divided the year into working and non-working days (and nights as well). The years had always more holidays to offer. Factory personnel made peace with this and presumed to be happy always.
Life at this side of the wall was more or less devoted to factory affairs. Factory had a number of departments to run. Each member of village families was employed at factory; recruited at a very early age. Apart from giving food grains, clothes and shelter; the factory provided added benefits to the senior workers. The factory works were supervised by a greater organization that was some 100 miles away from the factory site. The organization remained inaccessible to the factory workers and to the masters as well. Instructions in the form of paper scrolls and tape recordings were dropped each week by personnel working in greater organization. The factory personnel in their conversations and gossips always depraved about the saner voices (people at the other side of the wall) and despised them.
Two young fellows (same fellows) on a motor-vehicle driving to relative’s house in nearby village, through meadows, river and forests. A fat man lying flat on the road is up and waives hands to the fellows coming on the vehicle. He stops them, fellows refused to take him as there was no space. Fat man with heavy hands slapped them hard, ears went red, vehicle turned upside down, one of the fellow looses balance, his head hitting little stones. Face bruised and marked; boys lay on ground, fat man takes hold of vehicle and kicks them hard on their faces. He was the personnel from myth factory and had all the powers; power of killing anyone.
As days progressed, factory workers were commanded to work on a new myth. The myth propounded that the fields had turned poisonous and the produce if consumed could be life threatening. Before the myth was released, scores of animals were slaughtered and put around the periphery of fields. The other day, myth was released and it related well with the people of the village. They were horrified to see countless animals dead in the fields, the land surrounding fields had turned red and frozen. Animal carcass with horrible stench led to diseases in the village, epidemic broke out in the village. Factory supervisors directed the village people to cut down the harvest as it was causing disease. They said that the produce will be first disinfected and then incinerated so as to save lives of people. The people in the village under distress and confusion hurriedly harvested the crops. The crops were stored inside the store of myth factory, as it was being done from last so many years. Harvest was later packed and send by the factory people to their masters. The whole harvest of the year was hijacked and people were left with no food.
Sunday morning, a myth was released by the factory, sold at market and released afternoon. The myth identified that people at the other side of the wall were bringing misfortune to the factory works and the village. The greater organization at the village outskirts had prepared this myth a week before; the myth was received well by the factory people. Myth was shared; it survived, breathed, lived and ultimately became truth. There were demonstrations and processions held in the factory streets, an uprising against the people at the other side of the wall. Myth propounding an idea of misfortune, misfortune bought by the people at the other side. Factory people jeering at their neighbours, hurling abuses, threatening their lives, asking them to leave the place. Misfortune myth creeping the whole state, every household and the people at the other side of the wall were pushed away from the factory site, 1000 miles away.
People were kicked, thrashed, abused and made to run for miles with no water to drink and food to eat. Few loaves of bread were given after every 10 days. People were not allowed to rest throughout the tumultuous journey, bringing them close to exhaustion, alienation and ultimately death. A counterfeit establishment wiped out entire populace. People who survived hunger were lodged in dungeon for years to come and then made into slaves and sold to other establishments of the states. There was no coming back. There was annihilation and annihilation, entire civilization was obliterated.
Centuries after, people evolved, there was state wide insurrection; myth factory was abandoned and people lived in peace.
The Story was first published in Indian Short Fiction (ISF Literary Publishing Combine, Chennai, India), Issue 5/ Vol 1 Mar-Apr 2015.
Sushant Dhar was born in Kashmir and currently lives in Buta Nagar, Migrant Quarters, Jammu. He studies Microbiology. Sushant writes short stories. He fears absurd. The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org |