Theme: Observation

Streets of India

Streets of India -- all.JPG

Quick-shifting figures
edge in and out of my kaleidoscope-focus,
as we idle-lurch-jolt
down the spaghetti-mapped roads
that form urban Bangalore —
Right-of-way cow
mindlessly minding the median,
chewing thorny strands
of meager-dry landscaping…
Tata truck maneuvering, menacingly,
("horn OK please") into my lane…
coconut vendor thrusting his machete
into a tough green-yellow shell, spongy husk,
to release the sweet milk of the tender meat,
for a clutch of thirsty workers…
jasmine-scented girls
blithely weaving between two- and four-seaters…
buses belching clots of day-drained corporates,
stop to infinite stop…
Ears of sweet corn roasting atop
a rusty-bicycle-wheeled cart
that has reached weary stasis, at road's edge,
an oblivious dog nestled under its rickety axle…
customers elbowing their jumbled ways
into the tarped vegetable market,
to haggle, with sharp bravado,
for the crispest long beans, sturdiest bitter gourds…
eager-grinning kids swarming the sugar-cane press…
school-age/school-deprived panhandlers
holding basketed baby cobras,
to scare a few rupees out of the pockets
of startled passersby…
sari-clad transvestites
zigzagging through a crosshatched intersection,
grabbing the gazes
of drivers both compelled and repelled
by their aggressive solicitations…
Male laborers wiping sweat-pocked brows,
as they sift and shovel sand, mix concrete by hand,
while females convey wood, water,
perching orange-and-white-striped buckets
atop their even-keel heads…
temple-keepers rewrapping their saffron dhoti cloths,
lighting ghee candles and incense sticks,
which send curls of black smoke snaking
into polluted pores of a ruddy sky,
where the gray wisps perform mating rituals
with knots of diesel exhaust…
pedestrians dodging potholes and open ditches,
to reach the stall of the chai-wallah,
who pulls another masala tea four feet to the sky
while gossip-sips slip past his regulars' parched lips.
As dust-obscured sunlight fades,
the montage files itself away.
I shut the window,
turn the nearest A/C vent straight to my face,
and slip deep into the supple seat of my SUV. 

Image © Sheri Vandermolen


More By  :  Sheri Vandermolen

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