Dead Sea plea

- Anand Vijay Gurung, Kathmandu

Jan 26, 2019-

If there is hell below,

or anywhere upon earth,

 I told myself, taking cue from Amir Khusrow,

“it is here, 

it is this,

it is this.”

Where I lay

 flat on my back

 in a Shavasana, the corpse pose,

on an aggressively hot, muggy day,

floating on the primordial soup,

 bubbling like a cork.

Where they say,

it is impossible to drown,

the water pushing you up

like as if you are some bubble fizz.


I sniff the acridness

of the dark blue brine

where almost nothing lives

except glob...

cause you are in the sea of death,

the Dead Sea.

The lowest,

the most desolate point on earth.

Surely under this

must be that place of eternal torment

all the priests, the pundits,

the mullahs, the rabbis

are ever eager to warn us against,

 lest we fall in it

and can’t be saved.


Nature plays tricks with you here,


 and I find myself unable to sink

 below the surface

of this bitter mother liquor

and descend into hell...

to see for myself

what is it infact

to avoid which people

go through all that fuss

that divide them into

various creeds and beliefs.


But I just bob up and down,

afloat in the dense blob

unwittingly but gently nodding my head

from side to side

like a priest after hearing

confessions carnal.


I then thought to myself,

a little courage,

a little foolishness

 must be the passport

that one needs to pass

through this portal

and enter even though briefly

the abode of the dead.

For which, I later realised

and at great risk to myself,

you have to cease,

floating on your back

 and just turn over.


And so I did,

as the anterior of the body

 got submerged

and it became hard for me

 to lift my head up.

My face was not my face

 as the body got pushed

with some blatant force

 into the deathly brine.

Skimming the thin line I was

between life and death.


 The struggle ensued mechanically,

triggering the body’s survival mode,

independent of the mind,

forcing my arms and

my feets down, sideways.

And with great difficulty 

And with a little bit of providence

I then managed to turn my body over and breathe.

(not for him a watery grave.)


Suddenly I felt adrift in the sea of life

that proclaimed there is no place on,

below, under or above earth

that is hell or heaven

or both.

And illumined the place of

endless punishment and

eternal joy

that remained deep within me

and where I was at that moment.

Such, such was my resurrection. 

Published: 26-01-2019 09:54

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