Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Neighbourhood snapshots

(Note: Was experimenting with spacing structures on this piece but cannot seem to reproduce them here. Anyone who wants to see what this piece originally looked like, and perhaps tell me how to achieve the same effect here, please drop a comment)

6 AM

The park is full
of the very old
with their walking sticks
and the young
with their iPods
Nervous squirrels start at the sudden sound
of the laughter club
loosening up with a few experimental chuckles
The sun wakes reluctantly

9 AM

The parking lot starts clearing out
It’s a weekday and the cars receive little love
just a quick brush and they are done
The rising star of the beverages department steals a look at his hair in the mirror before pulling out
The harried market researcher absently fingers his stubble
The ad executive marks an unsteady path home


The vegetable seller yells at the top of her voice
scaring the pigeons
and waking the ad executive
Ignoring the glares of the three men who always seem to be sitting there
she yells again but is interrupted
dhan ta na
ta na ta na ta na
her cell phone rings
and an order is placed
for two kilos of potatoes
one kilo of bitter gourd on the express condition that it be fresh
five unripe bananas
and a handful of green chillies

4 PM

The presence of cumulous clouds
in blue skies
depresses those expecting rain
and causes them to curse the power shortage and the embargo it imposes on their ACs
The Japanese school practices
very loudly
for its annual Sports Day
happy as usual
to remain self-contained
and strange to the local population

7 PM

The park empties out
and the parking lot fills up
Frantic calls
of ‘last over’ are heard
just before the ball gets lost in the hedge
Couples walk discreetly towards the leafier areas
Worker bees drive their economy segment cars back to the hive
murmuring a prayer
as they cross the temple on their way down the slope

10 PM

Sounds from five very different TV channels
struggle to coexist
Dogs congregate to sleep
as they do every night
on the temple steps
Policemen stand by
looking at the dark hedges
looking at their lathis
and thinking quis custodiet ipsoes custodes
The hopeful young man asks that eternal question
can you come out for some time?

1 AM

The watchman blows his whistle
reassuring the old pensioner
irritating the market researcher with a big presentation the next day
A car
with four friends
and some sad song on the radio
passes him by
It stops
near the parking lot
One of them gets off
Looks at the car for a moment
as if considering
whether to thank someone
but at any rate
decides against it
and just turns and goes home

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