on the bus from godhra to baria, technology finds its awkward place. an electronic ticket vending machine, mobile phones, barefoot people, an old man snoring on the side, dirty fingernails on calloused hands - these are only some of the things i notice about the people on the bus. while the (singular) speaker sings in its squealing treble an old hindi song about love and sadness, conversation flows between silences of others. the baby in the second row cries while her mother is engaged in the world outside. my presence, a ripple of a skipping stone in an otherwise steadfast river, draws many eyes.


how the foreign integrates with the known - we take what we want, in the way we want it. the clock indicates time on the bus, phones ring in tones that praise Gods and in songs of films i know. i buy tickets, but i don’t know the cost written on them. many wear their religion, red wristbands, caps. there is familiar clothing, but a dupatta on the head, a saree, but tucked in a way that i have never seen before. women wear beautiful silver bands on their legs, feet left to the sinister earth - cracked and dirty.


it is a hot autumn outside of the bus. hundreds of trees have shed their leaves, in knowledge of the sun drinking up all their water. the leaves are on the ground, a rusted brown. some trees have maroon leaves, some red, some yellow, some still green, all falling in the occasional breeze. is this the colour of the season, a cacophony of drying leaves?


echo said...

reminds me of a similar trip sometime ago which i could not/did not want to write about because it always somehow seemed exploitative to write about it.but reading this, i thought maybe i could have tried :).also, very evocative.

Sita said...

echo: thank you :). nice seeing you in these parts again! how're you doing?

Sharan said...

this was the best piece of writing i have seen anywhere in some time .. sitamma, you are really making me itch for the keyboard!