Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rewind - John Chhana

Three men removed the heavy marble stone and placed it aside, then went on to dig out the coffin that had housed him for eternity. Mourners arrived by the throng, the pastor read from the Bible and the coffin was taken to the morgue. There his corpse was removed and carefully inspected, after which the doctor came in to check on him, and eventually, to pronounce him alive. It was his birthday.

Seventy-six years, twenty four days, thirty two minutes and seventeen seconds, said the doctor, the cancer will be gone in five years or so. That was how much time he had left. He shrugged, got into his birthday suit, the black one, and was pushed out on a wheelchair. His family was there – the wife and the twins, both in their teens and they cried when they saw him. He said nothing, for he was but only one day into the world. There was the house, which he would go on to give to another person by also paying that person, and there was the dog which had been born on the same day as him, and now had twelve years or so left.

The years passed, and with that his memories left him, along with much of what he already knew. Fortunately, the pain in his side had gone as well; things were looking up. His children grew dumber and moved from college to high school, while he got a job at an office but then got fired because he now knew too little. When the twins grew smaller, he found that his problems got bigger and they had to have their diapers changed. Eventually, their time was up and they were sent back into their mother’s womb to the sound of joy and laughter. They had died and it was the first happiest day of his life.

In a year, he and his wife entered the church where the pastor pronounced them single man and single woman. They kissed and removed the rings from each other’s fingers; the second happiest day of his life. They had some time left together after that though, and they gradually fell out of love until that fateful day when he said goodbye to her forever. His brain grew duller every moment, and just like his children, he moved from college to high school, when in time, he knew nothing and the seventy-six years had all but passed.

And so, on that day, he too, was sent back into the womb. His father, who had been born miraculously out of a car accident only two days ago, gave him one last look, smiled happily and said, “You shall no longer be called John.”

On a bigger scale and long story short, the government decided it was time to wage war to give away their independence and one brave man thought it time to do away with the electric bulb. People kept erasing all the good books during all this time, while some experts were hired to unmake every last thing- skyscrapers and bridges were taken down. Millions awoke from their slumber on the fields of war, only to jump right into the fray with rifles at the ready. People were released from prison after which they brought back others into the world. Trees were returned to the forests where they stand for ages and all the minerals were taken back to where they belonged. Cities receded, the waters became pure and birds returned to their place in the sky. A great wall was demolished and the barbarian hordes returned to their humble beginnings.

In the end, a man walking on all fours removed his spear from a stag, bringing it to life. Big, monstrous creatures began to roam the earth again and the human was all but a tiny speck in the universe, as it always was. When all these things did come to die, the one perpetual thing undid the earth itself and roamed the void, because for Him there would be no beginning. 

John Chhana
lives in Shillong and has an unexpectedly scientific background for a young creative writer, being a postgraduate in Biochemistry. He is also a talented artist and graphic designer, as well as being interested in photography and videography. He recently made a no-budget Christian short film, doing the script-writing, acting and cinematography with the help of close friends.

He won second place with a very creative, tongue-in-cheek piece on headhunting in a short-story writing competition I had the good fortune to be on the judging panel of earlier this year.  I am delighted to be able to feature one of his writings here.


  1. Don't know how I missed this earlier. Brilliant.

  2. Better late than never, John. This guy wrote well and had a lot of creativity, pity he seems to have stopped writing