She traveled in packed buses
the ones that sped past villages
the loud roar of engines heard
from far away, seconds before
you saw the towering vehicle
gliding through roads
storming past bullock carts
that made way to the sides
startled by the broken silence.
Often, she sat by the window
rusted bars, that let the wind rush in
brushing her face but never too harsh.
and sometimes, seeing broken branches
from a distance, she ducked her face.
through the stained glass, she stared
as pictures changed, a reel on slide.
The men dotted abysmal rice fields,
their feet half sunk in sticky mud
spots of brown splattered across
clean white gamusas.
fields close to the road shaded
by canopied mustard trees
withered by the scorching sun
bodies parched up, sweat trickling
down burnt foreheads, wiped off
by the back of soiled hands.
Women in pairs sat in courtyards
yarns in clasped palms, they pulled them
in practiced manner, running them
into neatly woven warps and wefts.
others huddled in tiny verandahs
they chatted, leaning towards others
they whispered words that broke
into bursts of tinkling laughter.
Inside, songs of old hindi movies
blared from speakers above
the chatter in the bus drowned
by the sound of crackling music.
The man with the basket of chickens
was now asleep, his head swayed
from side to side before finding
a resting place on the next man's shoulder.
as dusk bordered grey skies above,
she waded through hawkers,
rice sellers and other trademen,
she knew would be home soon enough.
*First Published in Frog Croon, 1st February, 2011.