Monday, June 29, 2009

Bored and ...

It’s been over a month since I shifted base to Kolkata. As I sit here beside that same old window from where I watched the comings and goings of the world around me, I wonder were they for real? I mean the days away from here. Time flies. But everything looks just the way I left it.
It is just midnight. The traffic signal is a blinking red. It means that there is no one to man the post, so one must be careful and cross it their own risk. A man is standing underneath it staring at it, almost stupefied by the red. The next time I turn to look at him again, he is gone. Was he Time? The fruit-juice vendor is departing to the lower end of his shop that comprises his home. His family sleeps somewhere in some distant place in Bihar. There are many more like him. But they are not as lucky as him. He has been a little too lucky this year. With the monsoon delayed he can still sleep in peace without the constant fear of water gushing into his 4 feet by 3 “home”. The cabbie strategically parks his car – so that he is the first in line the next morning to pick the first passenger to the railway station. An early entry there means a day of good business and some multiple trips. The urchin decides to lay claim to the road that has denied his existence all day. What can the road do? He has to help these helpless yet indomitable little beings. They may not have a claim over the road, but surely, they have a claim over the sky. A group of bikers rush passed. They are making their way out of the city. Another roadtrip in the making – their minds and bodies tensed anticipating the result. Everyone knows that the road is the safest place to be. A lone cyclist makes his way back - followed by the last bus. The dim light almost shrouds the shady figures that are sitting in it. The men line up to sleep on the footpath - their torsos bare and a loin cloth on them.Some, trying to avoid any untoward disturbance sleep on top of the shade of the bus stop. I have always wondered how they got up there.
There goes the lunatic walking right in the middle of the road. With no traffic this is the best time to fulfill his life’s dream – that’s what the common saying goes. The Press truck whizzes passed. Deadlines have to be met, deliveries have to be made. The city might be sleeping – but it is like a sleeping monster. It only needs to awake and it devours everything that it sees in front of it. Trucks loaded with goods make their way into the city almost stealthily. It must replenish and the city’s stock and quietly make its exit. The sophisticated city people do not like the ugly sight of them. Typical!