Saturday, June 1, 2013

Scar on the arm

Shiela adjusted her saree . Shifted the band a lil' bit lower .Just enough to let the belly button show.
She looked around . It was almost midnight . The street lamps were glowing feebly . Illuminating the infamously famous street.
She could see the familiar figures lurking by the roadside . Pinki ,in her yellow ,glittery top and tight jeans . Saleema , in her gaudy magenta saree . The new one with the mole on her lips , the fat one in a patched up skirt .

She fixed her gaze on the road again . It was difficult to get clients nowadays . What with those greedy policemen patrolling the streets randomly
With a sigh , she adjusted a lock of her hair , pulled the blouse a bit lower , and rested her back against the Shiva Temple .

How ironic ,that this filthy street should have a Shiva temple . The great ascetic , the yogi with no worldly attachments . Mangal's grandmother used to be such a huge Shiva devotee . She would sit and make the poor boy learn all the 108 names .

Unbidden , Mangal's image sprang to her mind . Sitting by his dadi's side . The thin ,gangly boy ..with such pretty eyes . And an innocent little face ,with a mop of thick unruly hair .
Mangal would keep forgetting one or the other . Ashutosh , Neelkanth , Shambhu ,Mahadeva ... and on and on it went .
He wold run before dadi could catch his ear . Run outside to play and jump with all the rascals from his street !
Shiela could almost recall him jumping on trees ,and plucking mangoes . Or playing 'marbles' on the dusty road leading to the village pond . Riding on buffaloes' backs , and his all tiem favourite 'gilli danda'

Shiela's heart warmed up . Mangal's memories were some of the best things in her  sordid life . Sometimes , she would look at his old clothes ,and hug them close
Ah ! It's one of those useless ,haunting nights . She needed tension , sex , money , grief ..anything , to stop her from thinking this way .
She picked up a stone off the road , and threw it at the dog acoss the street . Stupid bitches ! she could still recall how one of them had bitten Mangal so hard on the arm , the poor boy had a huge scar afterwards ! Oh , how much had she cried .
She had cried still harder  ,when they took Mangal away . Grabbed him , kidnapped him from the side of the  pond . Bundled him ,and taken him away forever . She wished she could hold his hand , someone should have held his hand . And told the poor boy that he'll be saved !

The distant hum of the bike was unmistakable . She moved to the edge of the footpath . Placing herself directly under the street lamp ! The brakes screeched to a halt in front of her . It was half-a-minute before he spoke . Enough time for him to check her out .
"Aye ...chalegi kya ? "
The bike lights flashed in her eyes . She squinted , instinctively pulled her saree pallu a bit lower . The man looked like he was in his thirties . At least , it wasn't going to be one of those zero income nights.
She smiled and heaved her bosom as seductively as she could .
Putting a hand over his thigh , she sat down behind him . Making sure that her right arm was well hidden . It was never good for business , clients didn't like huge scars on the arm .

And ,as the bike started forward . She threw a backward glance at the Shiva temple . 'Ardhnarishwar' , that was one name his grandmother hadn't taught him .
But life had .