The Drum Beat

I told you that there was something wrong with the way the beat of the drums sounded, something wrong with the way the trumpet was blown, something seems not right with the way people were shouting, I could feel that in the air, I could feel that on the ground, that it was not the vibration of triumph, neither of celebration. I could judge it from the way it affected my heartbeat, though the tempo of the drum beat had the same feel of victory, almost the same rhythm to tap one’s feet but once one taps one’s feet one could not resist it anymore, the tap was just a bait, if gives in, it possessed one’s body with such grip that it merges seamlessly with one’s being that one’s self dissolves into it, it perfectly fit itself to one’s face as if it was tailored only for it, it wriggled it on to the tips of one’s fingers as if wearing a perfectly matched glove, stretched it  to the tip of one’s toes as if putting on a warm socks, everything of one’s self is pushed out from one’s own body through the crevices and pores of one’s own skin and then it would take control of one’s movement with the agility of finest acrobats that one’s tap would easily transpose itself to the hysterical dance of myth as if one was intoxicated on some forbidden herbs, then there was no more stopping from one’s dance to the tune of trumpets, to the beat of drums, they would start to chant to the rhythm of already set tempo and one by one they would walk out of the their abode like rats for a Pied Piper’s tune, from every lanes and bylanes they would come out enchanted by the beat of the drum and converge on the main road to join the already crowded march; jeering, shouting, hollering as if they had memorized the chanting mantras for this great march, as they merged along with the throng of already entranced unified mass they could no more distinguish themselves from the rest of it because as soon as they became  part of it, they were smeared with the same colors, wrapped around with the same headband and made to hold the same flag, with the unification of their individual self to form the single mammoth INDIVIDUAL, their zeal to dance to the beat of the drums magnified. Their movements were no more under their control, there was no more turning back, no more breaking the pace, every step and every gesture they made were automated by the already set momentum of the drum beat, nobody had any idea where they were heading, none among them seem to have answers, no, not even the need to have one, for being one among the giant snaking march itself seemed to be the ultimate goal of their existence, doubts and questions were distraction from being in the ecstasy of mad crowd and they had no inkling of the meaning of the mantras they had been chanting over and over again, this continuous chanting of mantras had created an invisible string that bound them to each other and pulled them towards their unknown destination, just as the tap of the feet was the bait to possess the movement of one’s body, the curl of one’s lips to pronounce the words of these mantras were the bait to possess one’s soul, one had never felt the beauty of pronouncing a word, as if these words were removed out of banality to offer on the altar to consecrate them for some great celebration, they transformed themselves into living flesh, as they mouthed these words they could feel its texture and shape through the way their lips curved and tongue curled. They could almost see the words coming out of their mouth like some fruits in different shapes and sizes depending on the words spoken out, these words would float in the air like bubbles before bursting out in the sky like fire crackers filling the whole air with the hypnotizing fragrance. What carnivals of music and words they thought to themselves and their chanting grew more louder than ever, their march became more determined for they could sense the nearing of their final destination and their hope of finally meeting this unknown figure who had set this ripple of madness among them, was on the verge of fulfillment, their joy knows no bound but suddenly they were gripped by some hitherto unknown fear bringing them back to their senses  and as if they had bitten on a forbidden fruit drawn with the realization that it was not the rhythm of triumph nor of celebration but it was the tempo disguised in the rhythm of victory, that all through they were chanting their own death mantras and finally every words of the mantras became clear for them, they were disgusted to know that they were actually glorifying the name of the one who shepherded them to their gallows, they could not believe that they had failed to notice the very obvious fact – that his name was embroidered in every line of the mantras along with the words that bound them to their death, but as they turned back to let the rest of the crowd know about their discovery it was already too late, they were already on the edge of the cliff with nothing to support them from being pushed off by strong throng of entranced crowd and they dropped off one by one, cursing their own fate for being gullible to the bait in spite of being warned not to tap along with the rhythm of the drum beat, not to sing along to the tune of the marching crowd, and before their shriek faded away in the space between the edge of the cliff and the ground embedded by stony boulder had their skulls smashed, bones crushed and flesh shredded. It was a great fall.


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Dominic Sangma Written by:

Dominic is a filmmaker working on his first Feature film. His A.Chik film Rong’kuchak/ ECHOES has won awards.

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