Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Of Patriotism and Other Diseases…

Posted by A Great Liar

I sat quietly in front of the TV set, listening to the harmonized rhetoric from a happy idiot lip sucking the seemingly endless series of lyrics that smacked of patriotism and the much needed melodrama accompanying it, as always.  

From the corner of my eye, I had an obscure vision of Ammo entering the lounge, with the usual evening ammunition of pot and weed candy in her hands, all ready to suck in the marijuana once again, her nightly occupation for as long as I have known her.

She fixed herself a cigarette, and eventually noticed the popular song being played on TV, and exclaimed. “Holy friggin’ crow, Lev. Since when were you a nationalist soul?” A smile of amusement beginning to smear her face.

I gave her a look of horror, meeting her eyes, the bleary look within an evidence of the fact that the magic weed has finally started to weave its spell on her, and said. “You greatly disappoint me Ammo, not for the life of me will I ever stoop as low as that.”

She frowned. “What are you implying exactly?”

I replied. “I mean how can one even think of justifying a notion, nationalism or more conveniently popularized as patriotism, which, if you study it thoroughly enough, is nothing but a conviction that a particular few thousand square foot of land is the best in the world simply because one was born in it, … and what does it make a patriot, a barbarian who thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature, and the rest of the world an offshoot of the ancient savage tribes of Germania.” Paused. “Jeez, Ammo, gimme a break, will ya!”

“Hmmm”. She made an inaudible reply and busied herself with the cigarette.

I continued. “I mean, isn’t that ridiculous by the mere sound of it”. And gave her a look that ranged from hypertension to one of sheer frustration, a part of me balking at the sight of her once again deeply immersed in devouring her stuffed cigarette while I had ranted on.

I sighed and politely inquired her. “Or is it just me, Ammo. Pray, do tell?”
At first she gave a slight jerk as if awakened from a pleasant waking dream, a dried up wasteland surrounded by a multitude of Gollums serving as her objects of affection would have been my bet, and replied. “Lev, you know … that you have rarely, if ever, made any sense to me. Your notions are either totally devoid of sense or have too much of it within them. Either way, they are of no use to the society at large”.

“I owe all my originality, such as it is, to my determination to be a man of no importance.” I replied, ignoring the sarcasm in her voice. “Instead of indulging to the vices of the well established and the over privileged club, I chose to bathe in the stink and stupor of the downtrodden and the devastated. Instead of drinking, dinning and womanizing to the hilt, while acquiring literary airs and articulating endlessly about arts and literature, I sat on the dumping tower of the local junkyard, and surrounded myself with the skilled crowd of scavengers, bootmakers, beggars and you know what not; the usual hordes of smalltime criminals we so like to malign in our dinner table conversations, on stupid media shows and God knows what else”.

“Criminals you call them!” Ammo said, apparently disgusted. “They are just a pitiable group of people trying to make a living for themselves and the families they are responsible for”.

“Yes.” I agreed. “Trying to make a living, or criminals in other words. But I don’t blame you for the confusion because the breadth of the word criminal has been lost on most of us, given the lack of education in our esteemed educational institutions. There is just so much more to the word criminal than we have been told about.”

But what I was mindful of not to add is that I didn’t expect her to understand most of it because she was after all a woman. A woman whose breast nourishes all criminals alike; the heroes, the politicians, senators, parliamentarians, ministers, the clergymen, doctors, media men and the mere criminals, the most honest of all criminals confounded to an eternity of petty crimes on the street.

Silence followed, during which Ammo ardently occupied herself with another round of puff, inhaling the dense smoke and bellowing out the infested junkie breath, relentlessly polluting the confines of the four walls of our room.

I ranted on. “And you must not forget that lower the criminal, the more impact he has upon the society he inhabits. In fact, all the progress depends on the lower class criminal than their bourgeoisie counterparts, who are only there to feed upon the goods lay down at their disposal, and who only dream of dying one day smelling of French perfumes and having caviar as their final meal-to-be.”

Ammo asked. “Is that one of your many feeble attempts at connecting with people you profess to represent, the needy and the starved. If so, dare I point that it is bound to fail, … yet again.” Paused. “You are just too much of a cynic to be anything but an isolationist, Lev”.

“Why?” I exclaimed, ignoring the accusation. “I would rather be with the criminal in the street than be with the criminal in the mansion, because for former, crime is being thrust upon him, and the latter has been thrust upon the crime”.

“Indeed Lev”. She replied. “You are surely on your way to the glory you seek, be it in the shape of murder or lifetime imprisonment for treason”. And chuckled.

“Murder!” I said. “That’s a fancy term isn’t it? Now tell me Ammo, where would they rather murder me. In the streets, the hills or the lonely white room?” Paused. “Because when a man wants to murder someone in the streets it’s called a crime; and when he wants to murder him in the hills, it’s an act of patriotism, and when he wants to murder him in a lonely white room, its only healthcare.”

“So you would rather fancy a prison?” Ammo said, amused. “A condemned soul forever sulking in the world of his own half baked ideas”.

“Half baked maybe”. I replied. “But not as half baked as the prison you fancy for me. It was for the condemned alone that God created Hell, and we, on the other hand, trying to match God’s work by creating prisons in return, unwittingly ended up offering the lower class a sanctuary of sorts, the closest they can ever come to heaven.”

“Well.” She momentarily seemed to ponder upon what I said, or pretended to anyway, and said. “You are indeed hopeless Lev, good for neither prison nor the bullet. I mean what’s a point of hanging a man who does not object to it.”

Silence followed.

She continued. “But surely not all of those belonging to the upper class can’t be as bad as that, I mean surely, there must be exceptions.” Shaking her head. “Sorry but it smacks of too much exaggeration to me”.

“My dear Ammo, like all young ladies who are yet to come across a naked man, you greatly exaggerate the difference between one man and another.”

“I beg your pardon!” She gave me an evil eye. “And you are nothing but a wretch who thinks he can justify every useless little thing in life, including his own existence, by mere magic of words. Because that’s all you are good at, words, words, and mere words. Underneath all that, you are nothing but a shamefaced pessimist to the very marrow of your soul.”

“Pessimist indeed I am, but certainly not useless.” I protested, calmly. “Don’t tell me Ammo that you will also now deny the equal importance of both the optimists and the pessimists in the society. The optimist invented the marriage, the pessimist the abortion, and you ought to thank them both.”

I was glad to see her beginning to lighten up a little. Words do have their magic after all. She took couple of moments finishing her weed cigarette and said. “But pessimism, or pessimists, do not have any solutions to propose, all they have is complains and more complains”.

“Idiots shouldn’t be allowed to vote, is what I propose.” I said. “Define it as an act of pessimism if you will, but it’s a practical solution. It should take care of democracy good and proper, primarily because the hundred per cent of my countrymen comprises of ninety-nine per cent of the idiots”. Paused. “So, you see, it has to work”.

“Do away with democracy”. She chuckled. “Lev, you have totally lost it for good today, I am afraid.”

Look who is talking. I thought bitterly to myself, and replied. “Well, Ammo, what else would you propose for a solution in a country that has become a den for the elites and elites alone, who only give enough alms to the poor, in order to keep them in a continuous state of breeding, while also very mindful not to change the state of absolute destitution they live in, because in order for upper class to have soldiers, the lower class must have children. Where each social class strives to serve its own ends, and that the upper class win in the struggle while the lower class loses. I condemn condemn condemn the democratic system of this age, where workers, ruthlessly exploited by greedy employers, live in abject poverty and are too ignorant and apathetic to vote intelligently. Where dying for their country does something to their minds, and because being shot in the head has become the surest way to become great without earning it”.

“Lev, I … have always wondered and failed to come up with an answer that would make sense. I mean what do you owe so much madness to?”

“Ammo.” I replied. “This is the most impertinent of questions you have ever asked me, and yet the most appropriate one. I mean, how do I even begin to describe my inner struggles but to think of me as having a pair of dogs within me. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.”

She asked. “And which dog wins?”

I reflected for a moment and replied. “The one I feed the most.”

[Do leave a comment, it matters...]


  1. I LOVED it. Beautifully set, this narrative composition was AWESOME. I just realized one of the reasons I enjoy reading what you write is that you write in class. The perfect 'english' way; a 200-year-old-classic way. And that's the highest compliment I can give anyone.

    I'm not sure which character I like better; ammo or lev. They're amazing, though I have to say I agree with lev on many points. But I also think ammo has quite intriguing arguments.

    Also I read its prequel, and you've ardently turned the mode of the story, moulded it from one shape to another with grace.

    Oh and I, too, am of the opinion that idiots shouldn't be allowed to vote :D

  2. Wow! This is an amazing write-up, such classic language is hard to find on blog as far as I can remember. Excellent point of view, the way you make the character spoke with the theme is lovely! Glad I found your blog. Take care! Happy Blogging

  3. @the butterfly effect: Oh thank you so much. And well, it kinda sounds lame to be honest becoz how do I even return this compliment. Very very kind of you indeed. Shall I take a bow, lolz :)

    And I have always been a huge fan of the subtle british humor as opposed to an extraordinarily crude yankee version of it. I love watching old classic sitcoms like Yes Minister, Yes Primeminister, Mind Your language, etc etc

    Thanks for agreeing with most of my rather crazy convictions.

    And well, to be really honest, this happens to be my personal fav of all Lev n Ammo posts thus far :)

  4. @Tanya Sehgal: Hello and welcum to the blog. Thanks for the kind words, and for following the blog. Appreciate it.

  5. Hmm.. I do agree to the two sides in all. the good the bad. well yin and yang is what I call it and blog on...often;The bad is what we give in to; the good we have to cultIVATE.HAHA I came to tell u that I noticed ur comment in the post I mentioned, and have replied. Thanks :) I havent been taking a break I write only two posts a month and the one I had been writing needed a bit of research. Have posted it. Hope u will read it although I am not sure it will interest u as it is on a conspiracy theory (environment linked). ANyway nice connecting to u :)

  6. in the first place i must say it s a joy to read through your post...
    i got a nano size of this one back at my blog..
    and thanks a lot for stopping by

  7. Amazing tone along the humor.
    Its good to have come across a different versioned writed.. Appreciate this unique style.
    Keep Writing! :)

  8. So glad I caught up on everything. Classic just classic!

  9. Who knew blog-surfing could be so fulfilling??
    Loved the post...and you now have a faithful blog stalker!
    Keep Posting!

  10. Seems u are taking a break now! I was hoping to invite u to my new post u might like titled "In Love and In War!

  11. Hi friend, I'm hosting a contest on 55 Fiction. It would be very Interesting. I'll be very happy if you contribute your writing in this contest "Best 55 Fictionist Contest" you can share it to your friends and fellow bloggers... take care...

  12. Thanks for the follow. I really love all your posts. They are so fascinating and fun to read. So glad to be following :)

  13. "for former, crime is being thrust upon him, and the latter has been thrust upon the crime" one of the many good lines.