Odd’s On A Sunday Morning…A Vignette
January 23, 2011 1 Comment
[Vignettes are short, impressionistic scenes that focus on one moment or give one impression about a character, an idea or a setting]
Retirement is a miracle that packs more than sixty minutes to an hour! That’s not all. The vision gets more sharp unaffected by the cataract of professional preoccupations. Small things catch the eyes. Here’s the catch of odd scenes – nothing to grab headlines – brought back from a short walk on a Sunday morning.
Part 1: Where the bus stops…
This was on a Sunday two weeks ago. It was usual for Chemburkars to laze in the bed until late. The chill in December ensured folks stayed in bed longer than customary. I was out on my morning walk and also to the neighborhood saloon for a hair-cut that was overdue by at least a couple of weeks, the hirsute growth framing me with a distinctly simian aspect.
There was occasional car swishing by noiselessly. A few pedestrian forms – no features could be made out – swathed in bundles of drab colored woolens could be seen briskly rolling towards the Diamond Garden. Half-way to the market was the bus-stop. This was one bus-stop that, curiously, as far as I could remember, never collected a crowd – yes, these days it is an amorphous crowd and never an orderly queue – even during peak hours. May be that the buses from that stop went straight to the nearby abattoir, no one’s destination. On this day, in its place stood the newly-erected all-metal bus-stop that I couldn’t have missed – the paneled front, the support poles and the hand-rails, all in metal; and as a concession to its hassled customers, some ten-inch wide sheet-metal seat running along its length, hinting strongly to a longer wait henceforth? Right off the bat I could see the designers had committed a boo-boo – the six inches were hardly adequate to support in full the substantial posteriors of the Mumbaikars whose only claim to physical exertion is their daily commute to and fro work-place. Perhaps the designers ran out of their budget and/or metal. Or, intelligently, they did not want the homeless that drift towards these shelters to get comfortable at night?
As one thing leads to another, next my gaze went to the closer of the two occupants of the bus-stop and did a quick double-take: Quite unlike someone waiting impatiently for his bus, he looked more like one peaceably lost in a book while waiting out in an airport for a flight delayed by hours. Engrossed in reading some English newspaper folded thick to a column width, oblivious to the surroundings, and there was another bunch shoved into his trouser pocket yet to be perused. Perhaps another unhurried guy in retirement. Nothing odd there, eh? Only, it was a much younger man, his face gaunt with sunken cheeks and unshaven, clumps of unkempt hair on the crown and his shirt in tatters on the far side and unwashed.
I didn’t think he was looking at the column on job openings. Was he a white-collar – never mind in actual it were not white and in tatters – roughened up in a scuffle with a rival (workers’) union? Or worse, a school teacher taught a lesson and more for failing the politician’s son? What was his story?
I didn’t ask.
(To be contd.)