February 4, 2023

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: The Summer of the Book of War by Nileena Sunil

2 min read

Nileena Sunil’s short story captures the religious divide which has been on the rise for the last few years in India for various reasons.

I watched the news footage of the riots with a growing sense of horror coursing through my body. This can’t be the town I grew up in. 

‘How terrible!’ my mother said.  I kept watching as they showed images of houses and shops that had been burned down. I caught sight of blood on the walls and felt a chill down my spine. A weeping burqa-clad woman was given the mic as she started talking about how her son became seriously injured after he was attacked by a mob. My mother kept gazing at the TV, the expression on her face unreadable. I wondered what she was thinking. Was she going to blame the victim or bring up some conspiracy theory? I kept wondering till she finally broke the silence. ‘My heart goes out to that woman,’ she said. 

‘Really?’ I was surprised. It then struck me that I couldn’t remember her expressing any bigoted views since my father died last year. Perhaps those views were never really hers in the first place. My mother continued to speak, surprising me further.  ‘I am a mother. I know how it feels when your child is hurt. By the way, Ashok, doesn’t your friend Faisal still live in that area? Why don’t you call him to make sure he’s okay?’ 

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