Shabby Tales – 1


Autumn of an unknown year, we become friends. I was the quieter one, laid-back and primitive. We chatted for long hours until we grab a coffee from one of the hut-like roadside cafes to settle down our ailing stomachs.

As far as I can remember, our conversations were all nonsense. Rather they were mere excuses to talk more and kill time. I was more enthusiastic because in a long time I never had the company of a better soul to talk open and loud.

I waited every day, wandered through the corridors until I met El – the human being I talked to –to begin preaching.  I started to grow a penchant for the evenings, a strange love. It was pure solitude, even in the courtship of a very talkative person.

It was an amazing autumn. September was drenched in the moisture of morning drizzle. Then, a strange feeling, like the one you get when you look into a Polaroid photograph, swift into the sleeping day. Almond tree leaves were in full bloom. Peach and golden leaves scattered all over the promenades and potholed roads. One can scent the smell of death in the fallen leaves.

Evening sun shone bright in golden-syrup like rays, bathing everyone with the warmth of the season.  To have an evening in autumn with a human being preoccupied with nothing, was a real blessing.

We used to sit in the lawn of the library. I don’t have a membership there, neither does El. But the lawn was a public place. People from all the walks of life came there to share their evening. It was a very noisy place, but, never a distracting crowd. It’s a place you can visit with whoever you want and do whatever you assume and no one will bat an eyelid on you.

In a sense that was strange. In a city like ours, were people are so eager to stare each other without any invitation behaving like they are civilized, was nothing short of a surprise.

I reminded El about the contrasting things a city can produce, to which El smiled.

“You don’t get that point?” I asked El.

“Get what?”

“The contrasting nature of things” I try to save our conversation.

“I know. I understand” El said.

“Hmm… Let’s walk. It’s getting late”.

When our coffee mugs were empty, I found a bus. It made an old cranky voice as it rolled. There were no glass curtains in the windows. Instead they have drapes like polythene cloths tied to the top portion of the windows. Passengers can lower the panels during rain. But it wasn’t easy to execute. Strong winds can send the panels to flutter high. If one is sitting by the window side, there can be no respite from the rain.

There was no rain, because it is September. Autumn can be humid and hot, sometimes cloudy and accompanied with gusty winds and morning drizzle, never the season of rain.

I was on the bus observing people while listening to a David Bowie song. I can see people whiz pass me in the streets. I was seated in the window-side. Outside, people are slowly winding up their day. It’s like sitting in a time machine. You hardly see the struggles, minute details of life. You only have a view, a very rapid view. All in a sudden you are at a different place, staring at a different view. You hardly are reminiscent about the life passed. Then, when the bus stops rolling, you come back to realize the sober pace of life.

The bus dropped me in the Trinity bus stop. I started to walk to my room. I was tired and my steps were rickety. I collapsed into my bed. While I’m at it, I have filled my mind with a thousand pictures I captured today and closed my eyes hoping for a blissful evening. I wanted to bypass the morning. I was thinking; “Can I die in the morning and reborn in the evening?”

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