Reality Rides

Crammed in a bumpy bus-seat,

Lulled by abrupt breaks and over-takes,

I hide my face,

In the crook of his neck;

I close my eyes, fighting,

To hold on, to every sense he is,

Fighting away, the teenage heads, drowned in tubs of hair gel,

The stale breaths of drunkards, cursing to themselves,

And piles of everyday waste, blowing in through the shutters;

 

I entangle my fingers,

Tightly around his,

Trying to feel his life beating through the skin,

Against the loud 6/8 tracks playing on the radio,

The crass, screechy conducting of the conductor,

And the relentless political breakdown from the gentlemen behind us;

 

I nuzzle under his chin,

Thinking how pointless this journey is,

For, I am home,

In the crook of his neck.

 

I breathe in every moment, with great care,

Praying for a prolonged ride,

Before he squeezes my hand to let me know,

It’s time to say goodbye,

And I open my eyes,

Braving my heart to let in,

The world I had blocked out.

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Car Memoirs

 

Bitter Lemon afternoons,

While you drove us home,

Back when I first started school;

I take sips, feigning to be brave,

All but childish.

 

I dropped my soy ice cream once,

On the car-carpet, I was ten,

Sulked in silence; terrified,

You merely laughed,

Bought me one, all new.

 

Half a decade later,

The hybrids had clogged Lanka!

We talked cars, stuck in the traffic,

For me, it was always the Beetle,

You teased me to no end.

 

Then began the boisterous debates,

Over generations of music,

War crimes and whatnot,

Whom to cast my first vote,

I was turning twenty.

 

Two years down the line,

I stare at the lamp posts, grocery stores,

From every day;

You stare ahead, intrigued,

By the Marutis in the traffic.

 

Between us, chilled air. Silence.

Except for my “hmm”s and nods,

To your mandatory queries;

A head-turn, a single, “Thattha”,

Would revive the ashened conversations,

 

But we lag on,

Me, squashed with the guilt of the confused,

The massive disappointer,

You, burdened with remorse,

Of being a failure.