Acts of God

Kanan Gill


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Someone with high security clearance was patting foundation gently on the nervous face of the Indian Prime Minister, who was wondering how to turn yet another catastrophic failure into a success. In his long career in power, his party had first counted all of his failures as incorrectly measured successes, then proceeded to extinguish all institutions that called a spade a failure, then celebrated failure as the storm before the calm, then denounced failure as a dastardly ploy by the extinct opposition to spread ‘negativity’, then ignored failure entirely to focus on the emotional toll it was causing the PM, and now, if this alien arrival turned out poorly, well … it wasn’t clear what was left to do.

‘That’s just how things are sometimes,’ said Manjunath. ‘They are wrong before they are things.’

Confidence rattles the strongest of constitutions, targeting directly the most hallowed human want – the desire to not look stupid. Only confident people should have to deal with confident people; they scare the shit out of everyone else.

In fact, people who believe in set times for fun often spend entire lives forgetting to have it.

Here it was, the problem born from the problem. The instinct to tilt necks and look around the back of meaning for more meaning. Where there is nothing to be found, those who look will always find something.

The best secrets hide the fact of themselves. Bad secrets, secrets that become a problem, are the secrets that enter awareness. A locked room is troubling, a hidden room never is.

'With great power comes a great number of social obligations.'

Mere acceptance is an imprecise response to death. How do you believe that someone who was is not anymore? What really is gone? Their ability to chat or respond to correspondence or circulate air? The sound of their laughter, their raised eyebrows over a lowered newspaper, the warmth of their touch, the light in their eyes, the wrinkle in their smile, the salt of their tears? Of course! But how will the fact of them ever go? They were. They talked and giggled and sulked and tripped in public. They were kind, thoughtful, charitable, reliable and fun! Uh oh, but these silver linings are also bordered by a little dark cloud. They could be rude too – bitter, abrupt, cruel, distant, annoying, frustrating. You even had fights. But why waste time in overcast plains? All things they were, you are too. They suffered from life as you do, and they even told dirty jokes now and then.

Acceptance of death is an antidote to grief. Grief is making someone else’s existence about you. Fuck grief. Isn’t it better to think of those you love as you wish to be thought of? Exalt that little place in your heart, coat it with love, redecorate sometimes, get some fun throw pillows and maybe a nice lamp and an expensive rug. Warm it with gratitude. Love them. And, if you really, truly care, live in a way they would have loved you to.

Things were taking on an isotope of their usual character.