Despite their deeds, Jee Nah and Nayi Rooh found themselves in heaven. Nayi Rooh plucked a red rose from the Garden of Eden and was looking around for Edenwina’s lustrous tresses when he bumped into Jee Nah sniffing madly for tobacco cultivation. To mount an attack that would divide heaven into two, he placed a batten on the ground to restrict Nayi Rooh from entering his territory.
God was offended to see this divisive attempt. He summoned them for an explanation.
“What are you guys up to? You did this division job on earth and now you want to repeat it here. Answer me, Jee Nah?”
“You do not realize how he turns everything impure with his womanizing ways. I want to have a pure land for myself. That is why I tried to draw the line. You should be just, Lord. Control this fellow if you want to save heaven from turning into hell. Drive him out of here.” Jee Nah shot back.
“I don’t need your advice. I do what I think is right and at the right moment. Till then, I would like you to behave well. Live like brothers and achieve what you could not achieve on earth. If I am satisfied, I might reconsider sending you back to the countries as leaders. But you have to promise me that you will not fight and nuke each other. All these years, I kept you two separate from each other. Now I brought you together to see how you get along. But I am shocked there is no change in your enmity that should have ended long ago.” God gave a feisty response.
Both Nayi Rooh and Jee Nah looked at each other and exchanged pleasantries. A warm handshake sealed their new friendship, thanks to the lure of regaining power. Both were kind of attracted to the idea of getting back India and Pakistan – after seven decades of aimless wandering in the celestial confines.
The opposite of what did not happen in life posed a challenge in the afterlife. No ego clashes, no competitive jealousies, no my-my-me-me…Realize the blunder of dividing nations based on theories, repent for sowing bitterness in peoples, regret caving into the British designs, shoulder responsibility for not reposing trust in each other.
“I did not want this soil to be used for terror activities against you, trust me, Nayi Rooh. I had a totally different idea of Pakistan as a disciplined, progressive nation.” Jee Nah confessed, though it was difficult to believe his words.
“I know that. But God should have intervened earlier to save that nation. USA and China are fuelling hatred between India and Pakistan, feel terribly sad about the escalating terrorism in the sub-continent. Kashmir mess should not have been internationalized, my fault absolutely.” Nayi Rooh came up with a candid confession to compete with Jee Nah.
“Perhaps God knew our enmity was still alive so he did not assign the reconstruction task to us. Let us be honest here. For the sake of power, we are behaving well and tolerating each other. Am I wrong, Jee Nah?”
“No. But why don’t we get along? It’s really a matter of concern we should address. What is lacking in our education?” Nayi Rooh wondered.
“Two strong personalities with similar weaknesses,” Jee Nah summed up briefly.
“Do you think we can bring the situation back to normal?” Jee Nah sought the opinion of his counterpart.
“I have doubts,” Nayi Rooh agreed. “But if there is a will there is a way. With God planning it for us, I am sure he has a grand vision he wants to execute through us.” Nayi Rooh raised hopes.
“Hahaha. We are repeating the mistake. Frankly speaking, God is not trustworthy. Never gives equal opportunity. You got to live for more than a decade and build India’s base. And God called me back within a year of independence. I did not get the chance to build Pakistan. That explains the chaos. I could not set my house in order.”
“Agreed, you have raised a valid point,” Nayi Rooh said, “but I think God has realized that blunder and so you are getting another chance. True, I got a fairly fair chance, but my daughter and grandchild did not get much time. My grandson could pilot a new tryst with destiny and make the country fly high. I have certain grievances as well. Discuss those later.”
“I have an idea which I want to share with you. Let us make a pact here before God sends us back. Let us decide to reunite the two countries and rectify our big mistake through non-violence.” Jee Nah proposed with genuine passion.
“I applaud your bold thinking. But isn’t it something similar to what God wants to happen? Don’t get me wrong, just think deeply. Everything that happens is because God wants it to happen. The mortal world believes so. Let us first secure the chance to rule there and beat God at his game of deception if required. Keep everything secret from God till then. He should not hear our plans,” Nayi Rooh shared his thoughts.
“Is that possible? Tell me honestly, did we actually want partition last time?” Jee Nah asked with fervour.
“But both of us wanted power – wanted to be Prime Ministers,” Nayi Rooh replied truthfully.
“And one country could not have two Prime Ministers,” Jee Nah cut in sharply. “So we sliced the land in order to lead. That’s it.”
“The dream was fulfilled, but a heavy price for it.” Nayi Rooh regretted what followed after that.
“Yes, millions were butchered but we did not plan it,” Jee Nah said apologetically, “somehow things slipped out of our control.”
“This reunification process will not repeat that bloodshed,” Nayi Rooh replied confidently, “as we will take preventive steps.”
“We will do it on paper, let everything remain where it is, no exchanges, no relocation,” Jee Nah suggested a roadmap ahead.
Both of them seemed to agree that this could win them respect and they would perhaps get the Nobel Peace Prize – Nayi Rooh and Jee Nah declared joint winners.
While they were engrossed in discussing the future, God came to see how they were getting along.
“So what is the solution to bring peace in the region?” God asked them.
“You really want us to foster peace?” Jee Nah found it difficult to believe.
“Yes, but why do you doubt my will?” God threw a sharp glance at Jee Nah and took a deep breath. Before Jee Nah could react, God began with enthusiasm, “As soon as you are reborn in the royal-political dynasties I send you in, there will be, before the end of the first half of this century, a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue. I will discuss your fates later – but it will be heroic and glorious. You will set new history and show the world a new way ahead,” God summed it up.
Nayi Rooh and Jee Nah looked at each other, unwilling to believe what they heard just now.
“You are the mastermind, God, you play the game and we get all the blame and shame. Before you send us in human form, spell out our future, what you want from us. Do brief us about the trajectory of our lives. You wanted the Indo-Pak split and so you filled our heads with hatred. We danced like puppets to your tunes,” Jee Nah spoke fearlessly.
“He is right, God, we were mere executioners. Reveal to us your full game plan first,” Nayi Rooh rallied behind Jee Nah in full support. “We do not want to live and find out.”
God became angry after hearing this.
“Everything that happens in the mortal world is because of me. All poverty, exploitation, misery and misfortune because of me. I am blamed by all. Mortals worship me and then do things they want to do. Finally, they say God gave the strength. Show me evidence that I do it before levying such allegations, you wretched souls.”
“You are very clever, God, you leave no proof. You make others do things. In India, Jee Nah is hated and Nayi Rooh is intolerable in Pakistan. Though we were dead. Just because of you. Take charge to establish peace and stop playing games with human lives. Third world war will break out because of your violent tendencies.” Jee Nah delivered a bold reply.
“You are threatening me and my ways, asking me to change my habits? I will send you to hell, remember, it is not far from here,” God warned them both and then resumed after a long pause, “Okay fine, this time I will not write your destinies, leave it blank. Do whatever you feel like. You will get the same time and equal opportunity. As humans, you will have full freedom. Be angels or devils. The choice is yours. Develop these countries the way you visualize.”
Jee Nah and Nayi Rooh decided to discuss the proposal at length. They sat together under the apple tree and decided a few key points.
“Unless God specifies what he wants to achieve through us, we should not allow our names to be spoiled any further,” Jee Nah began with thrust.
“Whether he wants a borderless nation or one born with a fresh constitution after the war, or a representative government from both sides as equal stakeholders, we need total clarity. He is fooling us by giving freedom and writing nothing in our destiny. He is making a smart move,” Nayi Rooh seconded Jee Nah.
“God’s ways are always undefined. Something happens suddenly and then things go awry. His intent is mysterious till the end comes,” Jee Nah poured forth.
“In that case, we should, first of all, resist the greed of being powerful once again. Tell God we prefer to be born as farmers and not as prime ministers. Ready to till the land till we die,” Nayi Rooh proposed.
“It will be an open revolt, be prepared for the consequences,” Jee Nah said. “God will not tolerate dissenters and pack us to hell.”
“Let him do that but we should resist human weaknesses and overcome our follies. It will be a big personal victory over weak human nature – a conquest that makes us truly proud of ourselves. What we could not do then we managed to do it now,” Nayi Rooh said with complete satisfaction.
“Well, brother, let us undergo this cleansing exercise and resist earthly delights,” Jee Nah agreed wholeheartedly, “Seems for the first time we are agreeing so quickly.”
They shook hands and embraced each other.
When they communicated their decision not to be reborn as prime ministers but as ordinary mortals, God was enraged.
“I was ready to give you what I do not give to others and still you refuse to obey my orders. You will suffer without a life till the end of time and plead for mercy, but you will not get relief from the unimaginable tortures,” God created fear.
Joining hands to declare a revolt against the supreme will and wily ways of God, Jee Nah and Nayi Rooh said in a rare, united voice, “We are ready to face the worst. Do whatever you like but we will not turn earth into hell again.”
He works as a senior copywriter in Kolkata. His short fiction and articles have appeared in EARTHEN LAMP JOURNAL, KITAAB.ORG, THE BOMBAY REVIEW, READOMANIA.COM, OPEN ROAD REVIEW.COM, TEHELKA, DECCAN HERALD, ASSAM TRIBUNE, STORY MIRROR, AND THE STATESMAN. HIS FIRST NOVEL, PAL MOTORS, WILL BE PUBLISHED THIS YEAR.