Live, Leave

(this has been sitting on the stove for too long. patience died. the title is no more a title.)

I sit in the bus, the sweater pulled around my shoulders. It isn't cold but I need the extra warmth. I am leaving town after all and without a good-bye wave to anyone or a polite nod that would've meant, "Until next time then". The bus would stand still for another 25 minutes. Until then I am left to ponder the cloudscape - my send off party, I presume.

I wonder if I'll miss anything or anyone. Surely, this question has been through the mind of every single person that has ever fled from his life, his town or anything else for that matter. I have walked on these roads for years, I have shopped at this convenience store, I have seen these people that I look at from behind tinted windows. I even know the names of some of those people. That's Ram, he runs the only restaurant in town - a sorry little affair with only two tables. He's a happy man though, it shows on his face even now. Oh and that woman in the red sari sitting behind that pot of buttermilk. I think her name is Lekha. She has set up shop at the same spot for over five summers now. She doesn't live here, she has to travel 10 miles everyday to get here. The ragged dog that you see hanging around Ram's restaurant, that's Tony. Tony is what all of us call him. He's ragged but always clean. I suspect that he is someone's pet but nobody owns up to being Tony's master.

I have lived in this small settlement forever. Do you see the tree that stands alone on that small path which leads into town? That's the tree I used to pelt with stones as a kid. The juicy tamarinds were every boy and girl's favourite. Not mine though. I felled the pods for my best friends - Meera and Prashant. I don't want to think about them now, but I know that my mind will wander back to them.

We grew up together - the three of us. We were friends even before we started school. Our mothers used to visit each other all the time and we would be left to play our games.

If things were different, I would have gone to college in another year. Meera wasn't too keen about college and she always dreamt about waiting, while Prashant and I worked towards a job. She always talked about the longing and the pain of the wait. She was a romantic and you didn't have to see her half-dreamy eyes to know that. Before I miss the point, I should clarify something. Meera and Prashant were in love. The whole town knew it, their parents too. When Meera spoke dreadfully mushy things it was about Prashant. Not me.

Their togetherness often annoyed me. I was happy for them and all that, but it often got weird when after talking about something for a long time I realised that they were lost in their own lovey-dovey world. They were a sweet couple - the two of them. I used to watch them walk hand-in-hand, blissfully aware of only themselves and wonder if love would strike me ever.

Prashant died last week. At my hands. It was an accident but I don't expect anyone to understand that. Noone else knows how he died, only Meera and I were present there. Meera is no longer in a position to talk about it though. She has retracted her life into some hidden corner within herself. I am leaving town because I cannot bear her lifelessness. She thinks I pushed him into the rushing train's path. I can see it in her eyes.

There he is. The driver that would drive me away in this tin-box bus. He wouldn't understand the significance of today's journey. I'm sure he doesn't find anything different from his routine. He's walking up to the same bus now, spits into the same corner and wipes the same palm across his face.

The wind feels nice. I wish it blows away all the negatives that are on my mind. The memories too, if it could. The familiar fields pass by, weaving a farewell tapestry. I can feel my heart wrenching its way away from this heartland. It's tearing away with a fleshy rip - long drawn and painful. I hope the pain is just the rite of passage to something less empty and further from the present.


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4 comments:

  1. Preethika Says:

    Well written... but it clearly shows signs of something that’s completed jus because if was left unfinished for a long time. :-)

  2. Biju Says:

    @pree: that's right! infact i inserted text in the middle to "complete" it. :)

  3. david santos Says:

    Hello, WATER!
    This text is vry good
    Thank you

  4. Sunita Says:

    Well narated. Quite sad.