The car smelled of papa. She rolled down the windows, pressed hard on the accelerator and popped a random cassette into the player. Of all the places, this wretched car smelled of papa.
The home held no trace of him.His battered Rolex, his shirt flung over the sofa, his cassettes stacked next to the TV, his half-finished biscuits, the cup stains he'd leave all over the house. Nothing.
Amma had wiped it clean. Not with her usual ocd vigor. With a vengeance.
Here, in the rickety old Maruti, he lingered. In the ash under the seats, in the dusty compartment, in the scent of OldSpice that would not go away. In the jerky gear handle and wobbly seat, he lingered.
She instinctively ran her hands through her hair. And held only cropped rough stumps. She had chopped off her tresses when they wouldn't let her burn his pyre. Nothing. Next came the tattoos, the nose ring, the kohl lines eyes, the cuts on the wrists and the emaciation.
She kept driving. Blew a puff and stared dreamily at the deserted stretch of road that lay ahead.
Over the stereo, Begum Akhtar crooned,
'Babul mora naihar chooto jaaye....'
( Father, I am leaving my home behind)