the massive cloud clotting the middle of the sky, was the sick lovechild of a button mushroom and an atomic bomb explosion. it threatened to burst and dissolve everything under a blinding obscurity. everybody seemed to scurry someplace. the streets would soon be deserted. nobody wanted to be a wet blur.
although she would’ve liked to be just that, she waited for the bus to lurch somewhere.
she somehow registered the prospect of having to stand through a very long ride. her shoulders sagged, exhausted, and she leaned against an aging grey, peeling support. “St. Aloysius stop”, and she paid the conductor eight Rupees. she didn’t have anyone else to talk to, after that.
it’d been long since she went to church. maybe she’d go today. preferably, before getting sodden and reaching home. her mother nagging about an impending fever, faded to background noise.
the bus moved. and she watched the world move in horizontal lines, at 40 kmph.
around, people were immersed in different depths of thought. each bore an expression that they seemed to own, at individual units of time. an entire spectrum, that never ceased to amaze her. she smiled, thinking of how ridiculous they would’ve all looked – each of these serious faces, going about life everyday, with their arms raised – without the support above that they clung on to now. some considered it balance. some rested their tired heads on their forearms, and dreamed of someplace pleasant.
someplace pleasant. for her, that would be outside the bus, walking the soon deserting streets, sinking in the humidity that preceded a downpour.
rain was never romantic for her. she hated that association. but she loved the rain. she loved how each chunk of cloud would pelt at her skin, begging to seep through, deep into her being.
the song in her ear automated her toe. an old woman nodding off by a window, shook to the buzz of the bus on neutral gear. she smiled, wondering how the old woman’s dreams would account for the growls of the bus.
she felt connected to everyone inside – by an exhaustion, and an anticipation to get somewhere and do something about it.
the seat next to her was occupied by a child, and his mother. the mother looked at the road outside and the boy looked intently outside too, directing what looked like bhel puri, into his mouth. his poorly co-ordinated hand sprayed his chubby thighs and his seat with chunks of onion, coriander and puffed rice. the boy proceeded to pick each particle and carefully feed himself, this time around. she faintly smelled onions.
she remembered how the men she had kissed, also had a hint of onions. it was sometimes unpleasant memory – they insisted on making the exercise hippopotamine. she liked it subtler: to suckle at the bump of the upper lip, trace the tiny box above the upper lip with her tongue, tickle the junctions between both lips, smiling all the while to the sound of human wetness, eyes dreamily shut.
she smiled indulgingly, listening to the prude in her scold.
the boy had now shifted to his mother’s lap, and a haggard middle aged woman occupied his seat. the boy and mother both dreamt of different things. absently, the mother kissed the boy’s head. outside, the sun’s exile under the thick carpet of cloud wasn’t a silent one. the sky was turning a rich tangerine. the boy’s and his mother’s faces were tinted with an orange.
her breath caught at a thought: maybe she’d forgotten to love. unconditionally.
the orange sky was fast melting pink. the church was still stops away.
at the next stop, she alighted the bus, and breathed in the remains of moist tangerine sky.
and she smiled, knowing it would rain in a few minutes.
everything else could wait.
old piece, reworked. still needs heavy rework. heavy.