The Sixth Hundredth word.

Bazooka sprang into action, trying his best to snatch away the dead deer from another man. Tall, dark and muscular, they fought desperately one of the numerous fights; the civilized world fights on a larger scale and calls war. Bazooka did not know this. I did. Hidden in the bush, I, their Goddess decided what to do. If I came out, they would tremble, fall to their feet, forget the prey and pray fervently to be forgiven. I did not. I didn’t want to be the Goddess. Overwhelmed with sadness over what the world had become in last few centuries and worried what would happen to my clan if they stayed centuries old, I returned to chambers. I left the men to themselves. “Oh! These savages! How I detest them! The more I try to help, teach, the more they sink into the savagery,” I said in an exasperated voice to Antaki, my maid at hand (priestess they called her?) for this lifetime. “And yet you cannot leave them Mistress, can you? she asked in her husky voice. “No.” “If I may ask, why?” “Because, I love them. They are my people.” Antaki managed to learn English with me. Just when I had survived the plane crash and jumped with a parachute to land here, she was about to be killed. My Avatar made me Goddess and I saved her from death. She served me. She didn’t reveal me and she saved them from uncontrolled bloodshed. I could decide peace, treaties and wars if anything went out of hand. All clans would obey. Unconditionally. My simplistic tribe had just five hundred ninety nine words in their vocabulary. They didn’t need more. They knew lust, hunger, anger, surprise, fear and quite a few other emotions. I wondered what was missing. I sighed and slept off. It was late afternoon that I awoke to the ominous beating of drums. “Oh God! Not again!” I thought while Antaki ran out to find out more. I thought it was war. But no, this time it was the village shaman. Contesting my authority. 7001189130 Anupama Garg

The tribe was divided into two. They hid me in the deepest cave with the best men to protect me; women and children deeper in the jungle. They would fight. I paced the floor impatiently, Antaki frowning why her Goddess wouldn’t sleep. My guards wouldn’t budge, not letting me get out of that hole. Tired and exhausted in 3 hours more than I had been in last 3 years here, sleep finally took over me. Early morning, I summoned the chief. It was difficult to talk, explain, make him understand with 599 words Goddamnit !!! And he was the chief. By the time, he bowed and obeyed. I was semi-dead, tired, but he understood. We couldn’t have women and children be orphaned. I wouldn’t have men die for me. I wasn’t worth it!!! He didn’t agree, but understood and obeyed. Enough for me, I thought. I might as well have been dead the day I landed with my parachute and got lost here. They didn’t understand, my savages, what I was doing. They didn’t understand why. They wept, wailed, tried to appease me, but I wouldn’t give in. I would surrender myself to the enemy. Enemies? Really? I’ll surrender to the other side if they won’t kill each other. They were savages, but had honour. I knew if they gave word, they wouldn’t kill. And some day, in remote future maybe. my people will learn the Six hundredth word – Sacrifice and then more – Peace. I smiled and slept.

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Anupama Garg