December 3, 2015

[Echo] Stream of Chennai's Consciousness

An elderly lady walking forlornly, a folded umbrella in her hand; A man smiling at a little child, as they both get off the bus, a just-born relationship in the journey they shared, scattering in the wind with that bye; A guy throwing a plastic bottle into a puddle of water and smiling with glee; A girl searching for mobile signal in the middle of the road; A man, moving ahead with a victorious smile, to fill his bike’s tank; A long queue in front of the ATM, the rich and the poor, united in their wait; Some chic youngsters talk to a lady selling tender coconuts, the fierceness of nature bringing out the tenderness of humanity; People’s eyes seem to peer deeply; Long queues and empty aisles in shops;  Looking up from his phone, a teenager looks intently at the person next to him. The man who has mobile signal strength, gazed with reverence, like a celebrity; A person looking at a packet of candles as if it were a pack of gold biscuits; A middle aged person shivering at the slightest gust of wind, in fear, with a question at the sky, ‘Have you got more for me?’; A lady walks around her house, lighting oil lamps, like a leaf out of the book of the past; Bus depots overflowing with people leaving the city they dreamt of living in, the city they left their homes to make a living; A lady standing in her nightgown and blouse, saying she left her house, just as she was, escaping the rising waters; An elderly couple refusing to leave their shelter in their home in the second floor, even as water stands at the first floor level, the reluctance of leaving one’s home, no matter how unsafe, resplendent in their hearts; A three-year old standing on a motorbike, in between his parents, with arms outstretched and face kissing the incoming breeze; A grandfather, father and son tasting some pakoras and bondas on a wayside shop; A man staring with disbelief at the piles of garbage, plastic covers of every colour and shape, strewn across the beautiful beach, he jogs on every day; A police convoy of jeeps respectfully guiding a suctioning truck; Hyundai and Honda owners getting on a lorry to buy groceries for their homes; Fishermen cruising on their boats inside the city, fishing for sinking human life; A shop-owner writing out a cash bill, his unaccustomed hands feeling the strain. A couple holding hands and walking together, cellphones forgotten, internet forsaken, just happy to be in the company of each other; A man taking shelter in a movie hall, where he saw a disaster of a movie, just days ago, reflecting on his city’s disaster, just then. A couple of thirty year olds listen to a wise sixty year old and therein, tales of past and visions of future unfold, on the stage of that strange present. 

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