Mongrel Howling: The Past


This one is in response to Esther Newton’s prompt on ‘The Past’. Here goes.

Three venerable old men sat down to talk. For want of anything better, and to avoid leaving them to the nameless dark, let’s give them names. They are, for the purpose of this story, called Nehru, Gandhi and Jinnah.

The three old men lived in that nebulous region between Heaven and Hell. Some call it the Spirit world. Others call it The Realm of The Damned. As old men are wont to do, they began to talk of the past, and their time on earth. They had been contemporaries, and each had imagined that he had done great service to his country during his individual lifetime.

After talking a bit, and exchanging notes amicably, a strange realization came over them. Neither could agree on a common version the events of the past, or the effect of the events of their time on earth on their generation, or those that followed.

Each cloaked their version in fancy figures of speech, and in the finest robes of imagination. At times they claimed that it was destiny that had shaped their actions. At others, they claimed that they were the agents of God, and were acting in his name.  Each arrogated to themselves the best possible motives for their actions, and could only see the good in all that they had done.

Anger coursed through their ghostly beings, and they flailed at each other in vain. Gossamer arms passed through gossamer bodies, and all that remained were spirits of malice and spite.

Finally, they went to The Pearly Gates, and asked St Peter to be the arbiter of Truth and Justice between them. Each importuned him in the most wheedling manner possible, and fake smiles coursed across their faces.

The Good Saint smiled, and said, ‘Each version represents the truth, and each version is a lie. Each represents your own individual truth, but not the whole truth. Neither of you would survive the memory of the past, and must seek comfort in your own individual history, no matter the cost to the millions of innocents who lived in your times’.

With that, he closed The Gates, and left the three to wither and waste away.’


  1. Would you really condemn these men to hell? Changing the course of history is an horrendous undertaking. They were bound to make some mistakes.

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