Chandala

Chandala

by RJHoffman

The stories and poems I have been publishing lately are part of a project titled “Chandala.” These stories of varying word length, and poems from the mouths of mendicants, are meant to present the symbology of the underclasses of humanity and their perspectives and influences. Existentialism lends itself to the narratives to help pull together the iconography of the mendicants and gypsies, the under class, and show the irony of being a dreamer in the most pragmatic of conditions.

Being a Chandala is being without a social net, or being with minimal social net, being without sympathetic family or friends. It means having to live in a car, under a tree, in a cardboard box sometimes. It means seeing the scorn on the faces of passersby, and those passersby all have judged you as too incompetent for polite society.

The Chandala is an artist, a free spirit, a loner, a writer. He has become immune to the shock of existence, a witness to all sorts of loose horrors. The only thing that shocks him is himself and his incapacity to resist his impulses. He spends his life sublimating anger, fear, rage, hate, love, by twisting words and symbols, sculpting composition that can be apprehended like a bundle of parts from which an infinite number of things can be composed, depending on the receiver.

He realizes the futility of an endeavor for which he isn’t quite sure he is disposed, but is reconciled to it, even if his parents weren’t, or extended family. He is dependent on the kindness of others, but a handful of people of middle class enjoy his company, and have taught him that it isn’t the people of social economic distinction that are the meanest, it is the people in the pit who are fighting each other for a scrap who will slit each others’ throats.

The Chandala lives in a community sometimes for protection on the outskirts of town, along a river somewhere. He lives in a tent in the woods. He scrapes, barters, bathes at a truck stop (the local church sends him away in small towns). He does odd jobs, marries above him, fathers children when he has no means to take care of them. And through it all, disgusting to many, a bum, he finds work and manages to pay his rent while he writes…and writes…and writes. And draws…and draws…and draws. He isn’t a role model to anyone. No one buys his books, his music, or his art work.

Just take pain pills and work all day. What is the matter with you? Why won’t you do that? At least you will be a part of society. For he who thinks of himself as a voice of his generation, a voice that will live in perpetuity he is already aspiring to all he desires, even if he is irresponsible at times. He has no more time for the questioner. He has to go to work at the pig barn. Something he finds far more enjoyable than talking to others.

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