Tuesday, October 26, 2010
A Late Summer Afternoon
The afternoon was hot; the ants had lost their paces, he observed as he looked blankly down at the raggedness of his old shoelaces. The leaves on the trees that surrounded the open air cafeteria were leaden, motionless, as were the squirrels on them that looked golden to him the last time he noticed them a few minutes ago. The place was mostly empty: an odd motorbike would pass at intervals. Every few minutes a distant laugh could be vaguely heard, or was it just the hiss of the cafeteria stove. It was hard to tell. The birds hadn't been chirping; their collective silence didn't stun or shock, but was conspicuous all the same. Yesterday had been busy: hurrying roads, hurrying people and hurrying he, and competition and race and ambition and blah. Suddenly, now, as he found himself in the midst of unusual quietitude, the incredible world within his sight seemed to him a vast oil painting of itself. As if in some other time-zone, he wondered. He couldn't tell whether all of this was ordinariness in the extreme or extraordinary, but was sure that it was one of the two. The bottle of water in front of him was softly warm by now, and an unremarkable uttapam was being slowly consumed by him and an unremarkable other. The afternoon was sleepy, or maybe, sleeping, when she walked in, and they conversed for the first time. Soon, much had changed.