If you’re hailing down a rickshaw, hail a few Marys too. Incessant sudden rain has completely drenched umbrella-less me as I stand outside the office on Inner Ring Road. One auto driver after the other, take a hard look at me and drive away: “We are not headed there!” Some snicker and others laugh when I ask where they are headed. Standing there I cook up fantasies about how I could do away with these unrelenting drivers: laser beams from my eyes that would burn them to ashes, an alternate career as a sniper, sleight of hand that would puncture their tyres. After the twentieth refusal, I just decide to walk home to Indiranagar.
The black lady bus driver always drives away just when all those Latino men and women come running towards the bus arms flailing with babies in hands, and asking the the kids to let go of the balloons. I sit and wonder what makes her do that. It can’t be doing her job with righteousness that heaven hasn’t seen. She’s always late. Sometimes those men and women with paint on their clothes, tired sweat on their skin even reach the door or windows and bang and knock but she drives away. Takes off and in a whirr she goes. And the men and the women and the kids? They missed the bus. When it was still there. Yet they stand there and smile.
A man was thrown off the bus because something about him didn’t feel right to her. She threatened to call the police and then he walked out and threw his bag in front of the bus. She refused to budge. Then he started throwing bricks at the bus. The window are bullet-proof, I think. Perhaps sticks and stones, bricks and bones won’t break them either. But we cringed and bent and held our heads in our hands. She drove away.
There was that curly-haired homeless man lying on the pavement in the nook of a building across Cedars Senai. Covered in a tattered blanket with flies buzzing about him. He feebly calls out, ‘Have a great day, Ma'am!’ as I walk by. I turn around. 'Hope you have a good day too, Sir!’ flash him a smile and walk away. In the moment, it was a touching gesture. But as I walk away I feel guilty about being so cheery.
Then there is that old bent gardener, who sometimes crosses the road and looks into my eyes and greets me 'Good morning!’ Sometimes he laughs if he sees me run into the rain of yellow flowers outside Sur. Someone’s always watching out, it’s comforting. Someone’s always listening, it’s an uneasy feeling.