The Boy by the Road

Grey clouds loom low on the horizon, setting off the dark green of the vast, seemingly endless acres of land ahead. There are trees as far as the eye can see, a solitary bird or two rising from the undisturbed wilderness of the forest, mapping large circles amidst the clouds, keen eyes in search of prey. A concrete dome rises in the distance, a patch of barren brown land draws an incongruous line through the undulating sea of green.

The sun touches the angry clouds gently, giving them a tinge of silvery-gold, softening their edges. It will not compete for supremacy today, but share its splendour with them. The rain keeps itself at bay; it is a Sunday morning, and groups of people are walking to and from the church nearby.

A lone boy walking by the side of the road breaks into a jig. Wearing an oversized shirt and shorts that barely peer from underneath it, he wiggles his elbows, shrugs his shoulders, hops down the road in a rhythm all his own- he stops suddenly as he feels footsteps approach him, chastened to sobriety by the disconcerting shadow of an adult. His dance of joy, his pride in the day will only be mistaken for stupidity and ignorance of the higher levels of acquaintance that adulthood assumes it has with life. Deception! He stands and looks up into the sky, at the balconies of wildly expensive buildings, then waves at a passing bus.

He walks a little further and slows down. He lingers by the road as a woman in a pink saree and a bottle-green cardigan walks slowly down, having just taken her son into her arms from another little boy who walks by her. She appears due to have another child in a few months- the small group trudges on wearily, save for one boy whom life has made its own child- perhaps to a drunken or ailing father, or fatherlessness.

I have been reading a rather disturbing portion of Maximum City, and this sight doesn’t affect me more than what is already running through my head. I am thankful there is only one woman in that group- all that I have recently read gives me ghastly ideas of the fate that awaits girls who have no one to care for them. I press my palm against the surface of the glass table as I read further; I watch my fingers leave convoluted images on the glass that disappear gradually, their uniqueness dissolving into the thick, polluted air.

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