Bus Ride

The small table clock bellowed with its usual tone as its arms ticked 6.00 am in the morning and Bertha reluctantly hit the clock to shut it down. Forcing herself to wake up, she strode through her usual way out of her room to the kitchen where her eyes caught upon the note stuck on the fridge.

“Aunt Gabby isn’t keeping well and I am off to meet her. I will be late. Take little Cindy along with you and drop her at the nursery. Take the public bus. Have kept money in the cupboard. Love Mom”

Bertha stared at her mother’s hurried writing and let out a sigh as she read the words ‘Take the public bus’. Bertha never liked the idea of travelling to her school in a bus solely because that would mean a walk of extra ten minutes from the stop to her school.

“Bertha isn’t this out first time out alone! Would you take me to the ice cream parlor?” asked little Cindy sounding excited to her elder sister. Bertha smiled at her “The ice cream parlor won’t be open at this hour Cindy. I’ll get you one while coming back home.”

Hand in hand Bertha and Cindy walked the alleyway and reached the bus stop. The bus arrived a little late than usual. ‘I am getting late for sure’ Bertha thought, as she and Cindy boarded the bus.

Almost all seats of the bus were taken and Bertha noticed only one seat that was empty and could be occupied apart from those empty ones reserved for the older and handicapped. Quickly she allowed Cindy to take the seat and she herself stood beside her.

Bertha noticed that the conductor was average tall, dark, his hair curled up awkwardly at places, his beard looked shabby and thick and his uniform neat. Bertha felt a weird chill as she noticed him.

Few moments later, Bertha held out the ticket fare to him and asked for a ticket.

 The conductor’s eyes lingered shamelessly on little Cindy. His eyes she noticed would trace Cindy entirely from head to toe.

 The conductor repeated his act again and Bertha stood there puzzled with mixed feelings of disgust, fear and anger as she clenched her fist impulsively.

“Half ticket for the little one too” he said smiling with his brows raised.

“Oh!…Sure” Bertha sighed. Sounding more of a relief than disbelief.

‘Appearances can be deceptive’ she thought.

The talk

Sun kissed, she wakes up to the morning light. Today’s morning was no different from the others, for she wakes up to the very thought that she has every day.

“Would he say it to me today?”

It’s been a few weeks that this question is being resonating in her head every now and then. Even in her dreams she would wonder and try to find answers. ‘Funny how that works!’ she always thought.

That boy she is smitten with was the only thing that seemed to matter more in her world of mayhem.

She was clearly mesmerized by every bit of him. His eyes, his messy hair, his gait though weird she found it amazingly cute.

She still lay in her bed when she heard a little cry at the edge of her bed. She worked her leg towards the voice and there she stood gazing at him.

He lay there eyes shining bright with a cover of tear. She picks him off his cradle into her arms. The boy finds comfort and a smile draws across his face.

“Mama”

Thunderstruck she stared deeply onto him and happiness fills her. ‘He did it’ ‘He said it!’

‘My baby just called me mama!’

Playground

An open space once filled with crowd and rush
Now transformed to a place of hush and shush

The wind blows away carelessly without touching any skin
Where are the little ones? Those tiny tots, the toddlers and those twins

Are the little ones occupied with those metal cases?
Buried into them avoiding each other’s faces!

The swings, see-saw and slides remain untouched covered in a crust of red
Once a locale of exuberance and life looks now like the grave of dead

Let not allow machines to gulp down childhood
Instead help the little ones to make memories of the time like one should

Cause childhood isn’t something to be held and bound
Instead let’s free them of the wires
To ignite new desires
Before it’s too late and their childhood expires
And help them revive a once empty playground.