Updated: Nov 24, 2022
Are humans only as powerful as their thoughts? Does karma affect them? Does God exist? Do they possess a soul? Are they prosecuted for their deeds? Are they controlled by the omniscient irrespective of their beliefs? Are all of them bound to the laws created by Holy Men? Should they always procreate by sex? Is evil subjective?
These are a few questions Rajiv R Nair & R. S. Chintalapati discuss using their novelette titled Burning Beacons. Through the story, they show how culture and perceptions are rapidly changing. The writers converse how the previous generations are consistently wailing regarding the change while the new generations mistakenly presume their ideology is progressive and everlasting.
Day 0: Sex
A newly married couple discuss the possible gender of their child to realize that they have different choices. While agreeing that a healthy child is a common request, they are also surprised to realize they disagree on the name considering their differences in opinion on characters from epics.
As the cold winds swirled into the room through the open window, Bhaskar looked at his wife as he felt her for the first time. He could tell she was controlling her pain but her eyes were filled with tears. Unable to witness her agony, he pulled himself out of her and when he did, he could feel her bleeding.
He looked at her for a moment as she took a deep breath. A moment later, he leaned forward and kissed her. As she kissed him back, tears rolled down her eyes as she closed them. The nineteen-year-old Radha, he married a day ago, caressed his black curly hair after they kissed.
Looking into her eyes, Bhaskar could see her willingness before he felt her again. For a while, the couple moaned in pleasure before he passed the life gifted to him.
As he did, he truly felt the transcendence of power within and it was like never before and as she received it, she ushered in joyful pain looking at the man whom she chose to lead her life with.
Taking a deep breath, Bhaskar rested on his wife’s bosom feeling her heart pace. He felt the wait was worth every minute and life has never been more complete.
Feeling his warmth, Radha asked, “What would you wish the Gods for? A boy or a girl?”
Placing his chin between her life preservers, Bhaskar replied, “I would like to welcome Saraswati. What about you?”
With a smile, Radha replied, “I wish for a girl too. It would be like my elder sister being reborn.”
Recalling how the lack of medical facilities led to her ten-year-old sister dying of sickness, Radha curiously asked, “What if the Gods give you a son?”
Thinking about it for a moment, Bhaskar teased, “Looks like madam would, after all, prefer a son.”
Glancing at her husband, Radha laughed before confessing, “It was my father’s wish. He wanted a grandson named Arjun. Though I would love a daughter, I would prefer a boy equally, too.”
Leaning forward, Bhaskar stated, “Arjun? Rather than name our son of an overrated protagonist, I would name him a fallen antagonist.”
Finishing his sentence, Bhaskar kissed his wife on her neck. When they looked into each other’s eyes, Radha replied, “My husband should certainly read Mahabharat once again. Maybe then, he wouldn’t root for the fallen and realize the reason behind such a fate.”
Listening to her, Bhaskar just smiled. He knew she wasn’t completely wrong.
A moment later, he mentioned, “Honestly Radha, it doesn’t matter who it is. I just hope they are born healthy and continue our bloodline with at least the respect we hold now.”
Radha couldn’t be more glad. Her husband’s words gave her more pleasure than their actions.
Meanwhile, Bhaskar lay on her bosom and closed his eyes before falling asleep. Caressing his hair, Radha closed her eyes too.
For a while, she could see a man in his thirties standing behind them while three young children were playing before them on the floor while she sat beside her husband posing for a picture.
She lived the moment for a few seconds before losing it.
Day 15,702: Death
When not a single person in this world cares about another’s existence, the motivation to live for a socially dependent person ceases. The lawfully unaccepted notion of ending one’s own life doesn’t seem to be a choice but rather a destination. The misery of the mental self is strikingly dangerous with unforeseen consequences when not controlled.
Placing his plate of warm noodles on the dining table, Radheya recalled Mitram. He thought about how Mitram would have stopped him before he tasted his unusually sweet noodles.
Though he thought of taking a look at the portraits of all those whom he loved, Radheya started stuffing noodles into his mouth without wasting another moment. When he finished his noodles, he felt nothing.
It took a few moments before the intended reaction kicked in. While he was experiencing the pain, Radheya recalled the online friend he invited for dinner. Observing the clock, he knew that she wouldn’t even arrive for the next twenty minutes.
Moments before his mortal form lost its soul, Radheya couldn’t help but think, “Why did I even strive in life if this is how it would have ended?”
More than pain, Radheya dreaded the thought of what would happen next. He was certain about Gods and demons being nothing more than mere elements of the mind and firmly disagreed on their existence in the fictional concept of the afterlife. However, when facing death, the uncertainty certainly terrified him.
As he pondered on the question, the doorbell buzzed. Glancing at the clock in the dining room, Radheya couldn’t help but presume that his guest arrived early. Trying to look calm, he walked to the door as he felt the pain in his stomach.
Looking through the peephole, he saw his friend standing steady. He opened the unlocked door to find a stunning girl in her late twenties wearing a black gown standing before him.
As his eyes closed, Radheya mentioned, “You’re early…”
Observing her getting tense, he raised his hand in assurance before he crashed on the floor. The moment he crashed, he could see his astral form still standing.
As his body landed on the floor, the girl just stood there for a moment. She could see he wasn’t breathing and just calmly left. He was surprised that she didn’t even call the police as he had expected.