Pedalling the cycle in a rhythmic motion Auntyji moved ahead, towards a destination unknown to me. I saw her through the bus window and I don’t remember her face. She was wearing a dull purple sari; now was the sari actually light in colour or was it the hand-washing that the sari went through for infinite times that made it dull, I have no idea about it. Her complexion was rough. Her hands and arms and her neck looked very rough; and rough not because her skin was bad or something but rough in a sense that reflected how hard she had worked from ages and how hard she’ll work for ages. The skin was rough and dry because the sun rays befriended it; the sun rays and the burnt skin smiled together whenever they met.
She was also wearing a chain. She was married. She was bulky but not because she was lethargic or something. It was the birth of her three or four children that left her on the heavy side and the fact that she rarely had any time for herself. However, she took two minutes in the morning to dress herself, apply powder and bindi and comb her hair, she enjoyed these two minutes day after day. I didn't know where she was going to or coming from, what was in her mind, communism, liberalism or food, what was her religion, Christianity, Hinduism or food, what was her educational qualification, a doctor, a teacher or a food gatherer, what did she knew about the world, global warming, the war/peace game or the wastage of food supply, and that whether being a human being was she even aware of her life’s higher purpose, following a godly Saint or a reasonable atheist, following a complex God or a simple composite Holy Text?
I am not sure about anything and nor am I interested to be. Because she was cycling in rhythm and I connected with her as did the wind. She was nothing extraordinary and almost obscurely invisible. She camouflaged with the out-of-city-region-before-entering-the-proper-country-area perfectly. Yet she was the most alive person there- the Skylark of the sky and the Albatross of the ocean. She was the solution to the puzzle; she was the answer to the riddle. Amusingly, she carried the answer and the solution in her bun- the lively, fresh orange flowers.
There were two or three orange flowers, beautifully and neatly pinned to the bun that even the speed breakers were not able to disturb at all. The orange flowers- what was the type I don’t remember-were fresh and sweetly orange in colour. The orange flowers hummed a soothing tune. Oh! It was melodious, it was magical, I can’t explain in words…it was a feeling. And after all I had just seen a glimpse of Auntyji. I was in the bus and we passed her and many other cycle riders. Everyone moving towards an end, busy garnering their life without realising it.
She possibly was ignorant, out-dated and wronged still she had found a way that was orange in colour and alive and quiet and true.