Homeward Bound

The sun is far from setting yet and flecks the uncannily blue sky, sending streams of gold shooting through the clouds and reflecting off some of the hideous monstrosities that are the glass-and-concrete buildings on the campus- a far cry from the delicate grey-and-red of the older, more sedate structures sheltered by thick foliage.

Down the winding cobbled pathways with gaps that have seen the demise of many an expensive pair of heels goes the tired multitude. The hair tumbles out of the chignons, plaits and ponytails, the kohl is smeared all around the eyes and the shining look-at-me self-consciousness of the morning is replaced by tired nonchalance.

The crowds wind towards the bus and the parking lot. A few haggard souls make their way back from coffee, fortified for another session at the grindstone. How it must hurt to go back to work when the rest of the office is emptying out! A thin man with a gaunt face and worried eyes walks in, bearing the air of someone with his moustache freshly taken off and painfully conscious of its loss, a sacrifice at the altar of unreasonable women who ruthlessly demand clean-shaven faces in their conversations with girlfriends.

On the bus, claustrophobia sets in. Skin against skin, the odour of stale sweat, food-laden breath, the unadulterated smiles of recognition that break out with all the more freedom at the end of the day. The struggle with the window panes that stick fast to their niches, the blinding dazzle with which the sun chooses to go down, lighting up the spectacular violet and white clouds. The rattle of the metal body of the bus, of bones and teeth, the absurdly long halts at the traffic lights.

All superseded by the promise of a couch and a good book to read.

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