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Age of innocence

Her untidy, muddy-brown tresses, the latest pixie rage, served to compliment the dusky hue of her skin. On anyone else, the turmeric-yellow top would have clashed with the skin; on her it seemed subjugated by some quiet confidence. The red calf-length skirt with plenty of mirror-work swished too & fro, the blue sandals demurely completing the ensemble. She was pretty; her eyes, nose & mouth conspiring to project a picture of childish wonder & amusement. Around her, the crowds swirled & ebbed but she looked steadily at one man.

At first glance, his clothes, shoes & weary demeanour shouted 'casual labourer'. Another look might just suggest something better... a low-pay clerk at a small, dusty office perhaps. The faded blue checked shirt, the grey trousers & scruffy black boots covered him with a familiarity that suggested they had been doing so forever. His hair, slicked back with the help of much oil, was black, yet white had begun to touch the roots. The face was craggy but managed to suggest a kindly pride dulled by tiredness.

The two of them eased their way through the throng even as purple dusk spread her wings across the sky. She held his hand even as he sauntered on, seemingly oblivious of her fingers twirling in his. Together they made their way to a bench that was already occupied by two other men. He sat down without a word. She stood in front of him for a moment, swaying gently on her heels, contemplating. With the grace of an autumn leaf in the wind, she slipped into his lap. It was done so naturally that no one looked. People passing the bench did not even glance at them with that pseudo-voyeuristic delight one sees otherwise. Not a word was said between she & he. They continued to sit & watch & mull over their own worlds.

The young man who had been watching them all this while, continued to watch. He was waiting for something to happen. Surely they would not continue to sit there all night ? He wasn't going to wait around to find out, that was for sure. For now, he waited, his foot tapping to the music on his mp3 player.

It happened.

He heard two whooshing sounds & people began to run. Through the music, he could hear yells & screams. And her voice crying out...

"बाबा बघा ! दोन-दोन ट्रेन आली आहे !" (Dad look! Two trains have arrived!)

The two of them got on the train heading to VT. The watcher got on the train to Andheri.

Bandra station was left behind.


Song for the moment:
I want to hold your hand - The Beatles

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