Thursday, January 15, 2009


I was late; being on time is something I am still working on. There were people everywhere in the bus-stand, teeming, winding their way through the spaces between the buses that were both parked and moving. I rushed to join them. Suddenly there was a loud, sharp cry that was cut short abruptly. By the time I ran to the source of the sound, a huge crowd had already gathered. If Indians are quick at anything then it has to be at this. When I nudged my way into the centre, I saw before me a man hanging limply from the head-light of a bus by his shirt. Blood was splattered everywhere, on the windshield, the bus in front of him and on the road. Just as the crowd began to buzz with whispers, passing around news about how the man got crushed between two buses, the body slipped to the ground with a muffled thump. The moment the body hit the ground, blood rushed out in streams. I mentally slapped myself for following the streams as they wound their way down the road and for noting the different shades of red.
We all stood there, silently, like sad mourners in a graveyard; only, we did not know if the being in front of us was dead or dying. Nobody dared debate that now. I stood there too, with my earphones stuck in my ears… But I could not hear anything, so deeply engrossed and amused was I with the absolute lack of action among any of us standing there. What was I doing?! Something clicked and I pulled out my earphones and tried calling for an ambulance. All lines were engaged. I assumed someone else in the crowd must be trying too… Yes, I tend to an optimist in the wrong places. As I was punching away on my phone, trying other numbers – friends, reporters, photographers, a bunch of policemen decided that the man was dead and grabbed a few plastic gunny bags from a near-by construction site and covered the body with it. A few seconds later, the body started twitching and convoluting. Someone screamed that he was still alive. I screamed at the policemen to get an ambulance instead. This is what I got in return, in angry kannada – ‘You public never allow us to do our job. Get back there!’ Does your job include letting life slip away you pot-bellied creature…?
A Hoysala van arrived. More policemen. After debating for many more precious seconds they pulled out a beaten and mangled stretcher from the van. Finally! Just as some of the cops bent down to pick the body up, an oaf of a policeman who looked like he was in a higher position, given his snooty half-closed-eyes-arched-eyebrows look, stopped them calmly. ‘Nillsrappa’ he said, as he languidly fished out a swanky phone from his pocket. Wow! It was a camera phone ri… everyone’s gaze shifted to the phone. Eager, simple eyes followed him as he shot pictures of the dying man from every angle. A whole bloody minute later a cocky nod announced that he was done. The man’s life could have been saved in that time! The policemen lifted the man from the sticky blood-pool and placed him in the ill-fitting stretcher, twisting his limp body and limbs this way and that to settle him in. The stretcher was then put into the van and the van sped away.
The drivers involved were let off since this wasn’t a ‘proper’ accident and, apparently, the victim was at fault – he came between a bus that was moving forward and another bus that was taking a reverse. What was to be done now? It was just another accident. A burgeoning city like Bangalore is used to all this anyways right?
Some workers covered the blood-pool with sand form the construction site. Other spectators went back to their platforms to board buses to work, college, school or who knows where. Still others stood around in pairs and groups discussing the incident till their buses arrived…
As for me… I boarded one of the killer buses,and the murderer drove me to college…

Sunday, January 11, 2009


It was getting to me, all that pondering and sweaty anxiety about the years ahead. It still is, like an endless nail being drilled into an endless wall. Status, prestige, yummy salary packages… things that I expect but find them too much to take, like a heavy cream desert after a five course meal that makes you puke. In a fit, in the flash of a flame that represented all my wonder years I came up with the following-

Spoil not my mind
With tales of success
And dreams of reaching
High and beyond.
I am happy here
With my sheep and my soup
Grazing my cows
In the valley of peace.

Oh shepherd of my soul! Sadly... nobody pays you for being at peace with yourself...