“When the evening is spread out against the sky”


A walk though the winding lanes of a congested town.The cars, the buses, the horns , the dust. Black smoke coils upwards from the red buses. Twilight gets stuck in the church steeple. People are going home, most people are going home. A few unsteady footsteps pass by. Lamps start lighting up near by and bulbs faraway. In some places, naked bulb hangs limply from a twisted red and black wire. Yellow light lights up the cucumbers and lettuce. A lady bends down, with carefully holding her jimsem, to touch the carrots and lemons. Blood collects in the plastic bag having pork wrapped in the banana leaf. The kid who sits with banana spread over the upturned basket, looks on.

Bells tinkle by as jhal muri wala walks down the traffic, crisscrossed by the shrill whistle of the uniformed man.The dying light glints from the rear view mirror of a car. A smell wafts down the lane from the tandoor in the corner. Black bits of ash fly as coals turn red.Twilight comes down as shreds over the city, slowly. Footsteps grow quicker, the whistles shriller. The traffic spills like tentacles over the lanes and by lanes. The girl tries to put her bananas back into the basket. The mother is there, perhaps, somewhere. A group of students pass by, the cigarette tips glowing in the descending darkness.

The street lights blink to life.Shadows glide over the rain washed tar.The chants from a near by temple moves into the road, mingling with the smell and chaos of the street.Rock blares from the Maruti 800 that finally manages to whoosh past. The meat-seller throws away the rest of the debris to the dogs and washes his blade. The girl walks away with the basket stapped on her head.The red skirt seems to catch fire in the halogen lights.



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