• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 11
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The lives we hold

I learnt to drive at the age of thirty five,
A commendable feat considering what it means
To be on the Indian roads. I was now free
Of the queues, edging past the bus doors and
Negotiating the rides wishing I was trained to be a trapeze artist.

I was delightfully on my own.

Before long I began to miss the way the buses moved
Disregarding completely the three wheelers and the motorbikes
That dared to come close. In and out of the pot holes,
Sending all shrieking in decibels and the pitch they were capable of
And in search of a bar, handle or a shoulder.

The view akin to being on top of a hill or a place of virtue.

It was not only the landscape that was lost but the faces
On the footpaths, the little eateries in bylanes
Offering snacks and tea attempting to stay time momentarily.
The bonds invisible at first from those hours in the bus
Irrespective of origin, upbringing and reach.

Designer wallets to cloth bags, learning to cope with what we had.

Today when I pass by a bus tilting with weight,
Hands pressed against the window panes,
Feet playing the balancing game, I remember most
The lives we hold.