Wednesday, January 16, 2008

snippet (4)

(c) Harendra Alwis

...The bus serenely waited for the command of an old clock that was precariously tilted on the depot wall, to set off on the last leg of a tiresome day’s exertions. A dented front bumper, gashed grill, smoky lights and rusted wipers that drooped across the scratched windshields, sculpted a look of profound sadness on its face, which was accentuated by occasional wails and shrieks of invisible body parts. Passengers, who sat themselves on its rigid seats or prepared to endure the rocking journey with the aid of a steady metal pole fixed to its roof, rarely expected the ride to be comfortable or fast. Engineered unintentionally into the body of this lifeless machine, by design as much as incidence; was an eerie reflection of the sadness that some of its passengers also bore deep in themselves. The hollow metal chassis afforded them a space in which they were free to take off masks of stern looks and tight lips that they had worn through the day. It silently offered them comfort and empathy; perhaps because they found it is easier to embrace their sadness in the belly of this sad lifeless beast which they felt; could understand and empathize with them in their misery. Perhaps their unobserved thoughts knew that the burden of misery is amplified in the company of others who are happy, whose happiness would enforce itself on them and compel them to smile out of fear and guilt, that any hint of sadness on their faces might rob their elated friends of their fleeting moment of bliss. Even though the metal heart of the bus was too rigid to melt and dissolve with tears of a despondent soul, it was often sensitive enough to dry those tears with a murky breeze or hide them among stray raindrops that sometimes flew in through its open shutters...

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