It was peak summers and she waited at Acharjya Vihar Chhaka in Bhubaneswar. She was waiting at the bus stop for Bus No-18 that would take her to Cuttack, her workplace . The bus seemed quite late today than the usual time. She looked at the azure-colored sky with patches of clouds floating like fluffy cotton candies and was lost in the moment when nature’s beauty resembles pure magic.
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha is a smart city now. Well, for her it was a city that was much beyond being just smart. A city that had witnessed her childhood, seen her mesmerizing youth, and now is the spectator of her adulthood when she tries to navigate the paths of the complexity of matured life. It is a part of her existence; a city that is close to her heart. Not because of the wide roads filled with magnificent Gulmohar trees that bloom in majestic yellow and red in summers, not because of the planned architecture of the city that make it spacious enough for one to feel the air in one’s hair, not because of its quaint lifestyle but because this city belonged to her and she too belonged to it in true aspects.
The bus had honked and suddenly she came back to the present moment. She held her maroon-colored satchel tightly in one hand and wrapped her blue duppata in the other hand so that she can swiftly aboard the bus. She managed her way through the other passengers that seemed restless to get into the AC bus and reserve a seat! As soon as she got into the cold chamber, it felt nice and she immediately looked at the conductor, a lady in her early twenties who wore a grey and light blue colored uniform. The lady conductor, though petite in her frame had a commanding voice enough to make one straighten up with an alert. The lady conductor then immediately made a gesture with her eye and the lady with the blue dupatta could find one empty seat just behind the driver’s seat! Without wasting any time, she grabbed the seat’s handle in one hand and put her bag on the seat so that she could mark it her own property at least till her destination arrived. Probably this is the little privilege that she enjoys being the regular customer of the same bus.
She sat down and heaved a sigh of relief as she had finally won the tiny but very crucial accomplishment of the day. After two stoppages she looked towards the door that had an automated opening and closing system. She scanned the faces of people coming in and searched for a particular face. There he was, wearing a crisp lavender color shirt with his pointed shoes and his signature masculine body. She quickly looked away from him and peeped into the front mirror near the driver to catch hold of next events that would follow. She saw him turn his back ,walk the aisle for sometime and and then sit down after few minutes of standing .She smiled to herself. It felt normal to have him on the journey every day and his absence made feel uneasy. ‘He might be a decent person. His dressing sense says so. But they say never judge a book by its cover. You might be surprised to know what content is within. They all say nice things to you first and once they understand that you have started trusting them, they change their colors just like a chameleon. But then there are always exceptions. What if he is one such rare exception?’ She was lost in such thoughts as the bus made its way on the road.
‘She looked pretty today and that navy blue suit with a silver border made her look extra appealing. She seems to belong to a well-to-do family. Unlike the rowdy ladies in the bus, she seems to be always poised and probably… she is unmarried. Nowadays it is difficult to trace women in that manner . And it should also be a norm. I mean why should only a woman declare her marital status whereas men enjoy the benefits of anonymity. Well, whatever be the case, she seems unmarried to me. I guess she works as a government employee. The attire says so and maybe she is a non-transferable employee because she almost makes it daily to show up on the bus at the same time. What if she is the one!’ The man in the lavender-colored shirt thought to himself while the lady conductor asked for the destination so that she could punch the keys on her machine for generating the ticket. The wheels of the bus rotated and covered the distance between the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
The two individuals met each other almost on every single working day. The color of the dupatta and the color of the shirt changed but what remained constant was their invisible & silent inquisitiveness towards each other. A face sometimes in the crowd looks familiar and that’s when an unsettled emotion creeps into one’s heart , an urge to know more about the other person, to discover life from their perspective. Why? No one really knows the answer to the reason behind such unsettled feelings that form little waves in the ocean of the heart.
Did the shirt ever get to know the dupatta? Did they ever introduce each other? Did they find the courage to walk up to each other and start a conversation ? Or, did one of them suddenly drop off from the routine one fine day? Do we always get answer that easily? Like life, probably many things remain unsaid, and create uncomfortable, unsettling undecided open ends!
Have you ever felt any kind of unsettling emotions that remain unsaid in your life?
I have decided to take up an emotional joy ride with this year’s A2Z challenge where my focus is to showcase different aspects of human behavior . I will be penning down pieces of fiction centered around emotions in alphabetical manner. I have a title for my theme and it is : A little bit of you; A little bit of me .
I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z -2021
You can click on the alphabets below to read the stories that have been published so far.