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Thangjam Ibopishak Singh

The Land Of The Half-Humans

For six months just head without body, six months just body without head, has anyone
seen a land inhabited by these people?

No ? I have; it’s not a folktale; I’ve not only seen but have been to that land.
For six months to talk and to eat is their job; like a millstone grinding. The following six
months Bhima gorging and Shakuni suffering; for the headless body only shitting is its
share. The head talks, eats, drinks; just talking, eating, drinking. While the body is
working, laboring, shitting; work, labor, shit. To sweat, to be bone-weary. In the land of
the half- body.

Do women live in that land? What does the species of women look like ?
There are women; there are children. The same goes for women too, half-and-half body.
They have long hair like the women of our land. They are big, tall, buxom, broad and
well- proportioned. As for clothes, they hang them below the waist. The law of the land
does not permit a body hidden by clothes. When the body dwells for six months it is
springtime for them. (Since the bodies are headless when the men and the women meet,
they are not fastidious). The head-only gives birth within six months. Besides talking and
eating the mouths of the women also deliver babies. The women have more attributes
than the men do. That is why the women have no teeth. God created them with ingenuity.
When the head walks, its two broad, fanlike ears, spread wide and it flies like a bird,
beating its wings. When they speak, we can comprehend their language; they speak the
language of men. But when the headless body speaks, a voice that no stranger can
recognize emits from an orifice of the body. This voice is also accompanied by an odor.
A land such as this one is in the news; a land much talked about. The moon shines at
night; the sun shines in the afternoon. There is no predicament of poverty; dearth of food
and clothes is unknown. Some men even surpass Kuber. And the earnings of the body’s
sweat of six months, the six month-old head eats up with a vengeance.
There are political rights; a government is set up in the land. Democracy functions with
total success. An election is held every five years. But for the people in this land there
are no names. So for the nameless citizens the nameless representatives govern the land
of the half-humans. Because whether to give human names to the head or to the body —
no one can decide. A land such as this is very much in the news, a land much talked

Translated Robin S Ngangom

I Want To Be Killed By An Indian Bullet

I heard the news long ago that they were looking for me; in the morning in the afternoon
 at night. My children told me; my wife told me.
            One morning they entered my drawing room, the five of them. Fire, water, air,
 earth, sky - are the names of these five. They can create men; also destroy men at whim.
 They do whatever they fancy. The very avatar of might.
            I ask them: “When will you kill me ?”
            The leader replied: “Now. We’ll kill you right now. Today is very auspicious. Say
 your prayers. Have you bathed ? Have you had your meal ?”
            “Why will you kill me ? What is my crime ? What evil deed have I done ?” I asked
 them again.
            “Are you a poet who pens gobbledygook and drivel ? Or do you consider yourself
 a seer with oracular powers? Or are you a madman ?” asked the leader.
            “I know that I’m neither of the first two beings. I cannot tell you about the last
 one. How can I myself tell whether I’m unhinged or not ?”
            The leader said: “You can be whatever you would like to be. We are not
concerned about this or that. We will kill you now. Our mission is to kill men.”
            I ask: “In what manner will you kill me? Will you cut me with a knife? Will you
 shoot me? Will you club me to death?”
            “We will shoot you.”
            “With which gun will you shoot me then? Made in India, or made in another
            “Foreign made. All of them made in Germany, made in Russia, or made in China.
 We don’t use guns made in India. Let alone good guns, India cannot even make plastic
 flowers. When asked to make plastic flowers India can only produce toothbrushes.”
            I said: “That’s a good thing. Of what use are plastic flowers without any
            The leader said: “No one keeps toothbrushes in vases to do up a room. In life a
 little embellishment has its part.”
            “Whatever it may be, if you must shoot me please shoot me with a gun made in
 India. I don’t want to die from a foreign bullet. You see, I love India very much.”
            “That can never be. Your wish cannot be granted. Don’t ever mention Bharat to
            Saying this, they left without killing me; as if they didn’t do anything at all. Being
 fastidious about death I escaped with my life.

Translated by Robin S Ngangom

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