Montréal Serai

Bringing the margins to the centre…

Sea of Revolt

Maya Khankhoje

If you observe a mappemonde carefully you will notice a large body of  blue water surrounded  by land on all sides. Well, almost all sides, except for some straits that  allow whales in, vessels out and the back-and-forth of water between oceans keeping salinity in check. There is a fine  lady’s boot in the middle. The inhabitants on its shores are mostly olive skinned with soulful eyes. They used to worship several gods but now they have learned about the One and Only, but  claim His exclusivity with different names. For ages they have exchanged  wheat for olives, ciphers for letters, hieroglyphs for triptychs.  They have been quite contented except for  the occasional ruckus over the kidnapping of a legendary beauty or the crossing of swords over the heart of  the beguiling daughter of the Pharaohs,  known for toppling empires or the struggle to lay claim to the stewardship of the Holy City.  Now they trade the sweat of their brows for the secrets of a silicon chip,  their playgrounds for unruly playmates and their  liberty for a crumb of bread.

Of late, however, this hitherto productive sea has been churning, spewing out not fresh fish but stale discontent.  Several moons ago a satyr who lives in the boot kissed the hand of a madman who lives in a bunker presumably for  having initiated him into the mysteries of the bunga bunga. Or was it to exchange gold for oil? And many more moons before that another descendant of the Pharaohs fell off  his seat as his heart was  pierced by a shard of metal leaving his seat vacant which was promptly warmed  by his best man. This new Pharaoh only gave up his seat when it became too hot. Such stories are the stuff of which epics are made.

Why should people, people started asking,  starve to death  in a land that has  produced a  diet that health gurus claim ensures longevity? So the inhabitants of this land of plenty surrounding this deep blue sea  have learned a new word: R-E-V-O-L-T. First somebody whispered this word to someone else who  twitted it to a third person who pressed the send button and copied it to a fourth person until it hit  Facebook. Images went viral, imaginations were inflamed.  People took to the streets. Because, you see,  newspapers can run out of newsprint and TV screens can go blank  and journalists can meet untimely death, and the internet can suddenly freeze, but the voice of the people cannot be silenced.

Actions have consequences. Some bad rulers have been run off the land, others have been kicked into the sea and some have taken flight. Blood has trickled and then flowed, tainting the once azure waters the color of rust.  Who will replace them is a question that sages are still pondering.

But if actions have consequences, how come it is only the people under the boot who are restless? Not so! Take a closer look at the mappemonde. Inside the boot you will see the women with their brooms chasing away the satyr who once kissed the hand of the madman who taught him the bunga bunga.

 


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