End of the day I am just the language I think in and the languages that I don’t understand. All of it put together.

I wrote a story:

It was 2.00 PM in the middle of Mount Road. The odour of burning tar invaded the nostrils of the few pedestrians who had dared to venture out in the heat. Everybody had something to do.

Some hundred people had been ruthlessly stuffed into a bus like ruffled duck feathers. A few of them were sticking out in all directions. The bus obstinately continued its journey shrieking like an asymmetrical banshee.

The pavements were generously blessed with spittles and betelnut stains. They held the crumbs from the feet of a thousand wayfarers and stood unflinching. A wilted banana skin smiled like comic relief. There were odd dogs, sweaty library-goers and cyclists.

There was white noise. And the typical afternoon icecream bell. The mosque harbored plump pigeons that sought respite in its cozy crevices. The signals monotonously influenced butterfly effects, without so much as a sigh. Some truants had escaped school early and were biting into raw mango slivers coated with chilli powder.

The bustle was intimidating. Death lunged forward like a speeding bus or a careening auto. The black and white lines of the pedestrian crossing looked abandoned like violated rules.

Madness. Women heaved huge shopping bags into air-conditioned cars that stood like crazy Greek Gods who had descended to the ghettoes. Young girls giggled by with their dupattahs fluttering in the hot noon breeze. All was neutral like intense lethargy juxtaposed with incredible activity. Everybody was getting somewhere. Really?

In the middle of the mindless drone and chaos, sat a lonely translucent void. It was occupied by a cripple upon a tricycle. He had traveled a hundred miles by hand. From one street to another. Baby steps. Like withering shadows that grow upon nameless walls, his feet dangled in vulnerable suspension. His irrelevance was enormously relevant. Where is everybody running? Away from him.

Like a powerful epiphany he sat, momentously conjuring up tears upon onlookers’ eyes. In him they saw a personification of their own insignificance. A desconstruction of their safe shields of escapism. In him they saw the truth. Stripped to bare circumstances. They could not hide in their heavily-painted dance masks any more. They suffocated under their layers of silks. The air-condition singed their perfect skins. And they had an intense, irresistible urge to run. They wanted to run away from the one who embodied their own handicaps. They wanted to find the use for their efficient yet immobile limbs. They wanted to quickly retreat into their comfortable lives and forget that suffering existed. They were guilty and embarassed about his condition and they knew not why. He mirrored their own poverty of the soul.

Like a symbol in a suppressed deluge of emotions, he wheeled himself away. To encounter another set of hollow humans.

He who has legs let him run. Away from the truth, away from the self, away, away, away.

5 thoughts on “Away

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