The monsoons has arrived in the city of Bengaluru and rains are always a fresh welcome for anyone working in a sterile office with little or no inspiration. I looked outside at 7pm and realized that the rains would not stop today. Whether it is Mumbai or Bengaluru, the only time the municipal corporation thinks of having a construction is during monsoon, because it is just so fitting to create roads and building so substandard with eventual dilapidation and shabbiness over months that it becomes a part of the city.
I decide to take the bus around 9:30 pm since I knew I would be stuck in an eternal traffic had I taken the bus earlier. The bus thankfully was empty. I presumed most of the people would have left for home. The few people that were there in the bus were either on their mobile phones or tablets. I make myself comfortable and plugin my ear phones and listen to “My funny valentine”, the Ella Fitzgerald version. I see two men talking animatedly. Somehow the song always reminded me of Mumbai and not any particular person. I see the two men, pointing something at the IPad that they were holding while Ella sang “Don’t change a hair for me”. As the raindrops drip on the glasses and through halo light, I think of the city lights in Ghatkopar Eastern Highway stretch. The song ends and before Louis Armstrong catch on the words – Brexit
I quietly put down the earphones and try to listen to what they were saying.
“Racism is part of culture dude. You cannot hide from it. What we call Marwari is also racism. We were always racist. From the time we called people Hanuman.”, said one of the guys. He was wearing a red sweater on this formal black shirt.
“I cannot believe you just said that. Well I think Britain is feeling what most bosses feel. That they are in power and control. That they do not need anyone”. This guy was wearing normal stripped blue shirt.
“Dude you have issues”, said the man in sweater.
“Think about it. All your life you have looted and then created something in your country and now you think you can be on your own. Don’t most of us collectively think that we are unique, but only when we are alone we realize we are a part of a wheel?”
I look out of my window and saw the skies getting darker. Home is still far away not by distance but by time.
I think of my history teacher who taught us industrialization. Back then nations looked powerful and great. Today they simply look frail, complex and confused. I cannot believe that we fought with the same country for years.
I hear some chatter happening at the back and suddenly the mood of the bus changed. They all had their heads down. They all looked at their devices but I could feel the mood changing. I intuitively open my news app and the news read, ‘Bangladesh under terrorist attack’.
I saw the two men reading the news in their tablet and I knew that they will resume their conversation. I put back my earphones and changed my genre to Hindi Old Classic – Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyar ko pyar mila (How would those men be who never experienced love). As the rain washed the dirt and grime of the city, I waited for the next day’s news.