Kargil

Ten years on, I came searching for
war signs of the past
expecting remnants—magazine debris,
unexploded shells,
shrapnel
that mark bomb wounds.

I came looking for
ghosts—
people past, skeletons charred,
abandoned
brick-wood-cement
that once housed them.

I could only find whispers—
whispers among the clamour
of a small town outpost
in full throttle—
everyday chores
sketching outward signs
of normality and life.

In that bustle
I spot war-lines of a decade ago—
though the storylines
are kept buried, wrapped
in old newsprint.

There is order amid uneasiness—
the muezzin’s cry,
the monk’s chant—
baritones
merging in their separateness.

At the bus station
black coughs of exhaust
smoke-screens everything.
The roads meet
and after the crossroad ritual
diverge,
skating along the undotted lines
of control.
A porous garland
with cracked beads
adorns Tiger Hill.
Beyond the mountains
are dark memories,
and beyond them
no one knows,
and beyond them
no one wants to know.

Even the flight of birds
that wing over their crests
don’t know which feathers to down.
Chameleon-like
they fly, tracing perfect parabolas.

I look up
and calculate their exact arc
and find instead, a flawed theorem.

by Sudeep Sen.

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