1 min read

is a historical event-in-the-making that repeats in all its pluralities every single day, at least, in a million niches simultaneously. Some wars are considered more important than others for reasons only debated in academic papers. It’s easy to find yourself at war with yourself too.

Ocean says we need to reforest the way we use language, get rid of the metaphors of war from daily usage. So instead of announcing we’re going to nuke the bacteria with antibiotics, I explain to the patient, think of this pill as sending flowers as a peace offering to a group of opportunists with pollen allergies. The patient turns out to have a pollen allergy and doesn’t take the metaphor well. I should make it a habit to read patient charts more diligently.

Through misfires and mistrials, the bacterial world has gained more information on our inner workings than we have on them. They cling to us like countries to oil reserves. They have larger numbers too. To top it all, they have always lived inside our bodies. They don't hand out any rubies the size of tangerines, jade stones that could bring down empires, emeralds with forests enshrined within. If you wish to stay alive, though, you have to burn the forest down and smoke them all out. It's easy to start a war with another when you've been at war with yourself.

If I were to take out a bacterial infection, I could use a reservation at a spectacular restaurant in the middle of nowhere. A well-cooked chef, I'm told, like every mother, has all the answers. Sadly, I'm not rich enough, or famous enough, to hire a chartered plane, let alone get out of a zone of inhibition. So all I do is dream of this war to end, watch people younger than me bharatnatyam their lives on parks and streets surrounded by pigs, nestle posts about injustice between selfies and celebration on Instagram stories.

Lavanya Arora (they/he) is trying to figure out this whole writing thing one step at a time. Their work has been previously published in The Phosphene Magazine, TARSHI’s In Plainspeak, and Usawa Literary Review. They are a part of the 2024 cohort of the Himalayan Emerging Writers Residency, where they’ll continue to work on their first novel.

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