(100-word flash fiction)
It is Holi. The neighbourhood youth are gathering logs and twigs for the bonfire.
She takes her wedding sari out and weeps into it. Endless pain after years of abuse comes pouring out, soaking the red silk into a dull-blood burgundy.
The lit bonfire is steadily growing.
She takes the mangal-sutra off her neck and tucks it into the soggy sari.
The fire is a roaring beast, flicking tongues of pure flame.
She walks to the bonfire and tosses the sari into it.
Elsewhere, her husband, quite by accident, trips on a naked, high-voltage wire and fries to death.
The festival of Holi begins on the night before when a bonfire is lit and people perform rituals in front of it. The name comes from the mythological story in which the demoness Holika is burnt to death by Lord Vishnu and symbolises the triumph of good over evil. It takes place at the end of winter and a deeper meaning suggests getting rid of all internal, unwanted garbage (the diseased, decaying and dead) in us, so that we can welcome the oncoming spring purged and fresh. Holi – or the festival of colours begins the next morning with the smearing of colour on each other in a friendly, playful, and relaxed atmosphere. The many hues of colour signify the new, emerging colours of spring. It is also harvest season and the time to meet and rejoice, end past conflicts and mend broken relationships.
The mangal-sutra (literally meaning blessed thread) is tied around the bride’s neck by the groom during the wedding. A Hindu married woman wears it until she dies or becomes a widow.
Photo prompt –