Wordle by Shama Mahajan

And like the millions, I too start playing Wordle Deciding which ‘five letter word’ should be the random guess to begin the day. The hidden headline of today’s newspaper under the empty teacup prompts me to begin with WOMAN And at the stroke of my fingers punching enter all the letters turn grey and I decide to not play the game. Not today. I don’t read the newspaper either to know what does the headline say instead, just keep staring at the remaining five attempts left for the day.

SATIS I type, it says the word isn’t in the list and a laughter builds inside me like a shiver when I realise, SATIS was just a rearrangement of SITAS. I don’t type PYRES though, Just watch my resolve of ‘not playing today’ sizzle and burn the arsonists wait for their turn to marauder unaware ARSON was someone’s first guess! This is a country of Fires without Fire Fighters Saffron, Red, Blue, Green, the acrid odour of burnt skin wafts through the window mixing with the incense from the temple and eggs benedict half-cooked on the stove I try to listen through it all, just the screams resonate for we don’t know the sounds of a SIREN. Maybe they started with this word today!

REBEL, I frown upon the word just as the colonialists would have in 1857, This is a country of Clocks without its hands, Alarms, only an interruption to the sleep not a call for waking up! SLEEP it is I choose.

The whistle of the Pressure Cooker isn’t loud enough to garb the voice of the News Anchor who has come to life mid-sentence in the neighbour’s living room…ISLAM…HIJAB…HINDU My brain counts the letters while the words get lost in the controversy he blames someone is meticulously weaving, This is a country of weavers without any yarn to spin. The scheduled power-cut of Sunday decapitates the Anchor who didn’t know that this is the only Damocles Sword hanging over his head…SWORD…did he whet his tongue on it today or is it just another BLUNT BLADE being whet by his weavers on our HEART? Is this now a Country of Weavers with BLUNT SWORDS and a HEART of STONE?

Silence descends like the setting sun on the neighbourhood, like a howling child interrupted by his own yawn I hastily type PEACE not thinking of the greys and yellows above…a hunger I wasn’t aware of made me grab at a dish whose name I have forgotten how to pronounce…every tile turning grey didn’t disappoint me this time…from history its yet to become archaic to memory.

FIGHT…as every tile turns green registering my first ever victory on the third attempt, The ceiling fan heaves a sigh of relief, its warm breath enveloping me in CHAOS that ensues again, as my living room, kitchen, the playground outside, honks of moving cars and the news anchor all begin narrating their STORY, This is a country of Stories without the Storytellers! Staring at the mobile screen I wonder, And when HUMAN would be the word of day…it won’t be our first guess…but would it at least be the last? I pick up the newspaper and add it to the pile, lying unread in the corner Tomorrow I’ll start with FAITH, I decide to stand before the mirror…in my white uniform…today I wear a Pink TURBAN!


Shama Mahajan

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