…at night. The sight of a person looking into infinity from within the confines of a moving vehicle. What sparked this memory was a single scene from a song in a movie (Malayalam) that I saw recently – Salt N’ Pepper. Not in this song, which is absolute foodpr0n, but in the other melodious song (2:50 – 3:05) You’ll probably not recognise Shwetha Menon.
In trains, it works differently for me. The lights are much further away, and flicker, as though desperately trying to get me to imagine their story. In buses, the lights seem much closer, and so are the people outside. Returning from work, knowing they have a night ahead to recoup before they face the daily grind the next day. On their way to meet friends, hoping they’ll have a good time. Rushing home, eager to see a loved one, whom they have missed all day. Stories of hope, stories with a face.
I don’t get to see this these days, but I remember when I was in engineering college and used to return home on weekends. My usual bus dropped me at home by 6, too early for this, but in case I got delayed, I’d be in a plodding bus, half empty, on a route and through a landscape that looked completely different when seen at night. Before I got the Kiney to Goa, the trip from Panjim to Ribandar at night felt just the same. The Mandovi just made it extra special. In my first job, there was a period during which I used to travel daily from Cochin to Paravur, about 20 km away. That was probably the last time I got the window seat in a bus, at night. Ironically, that was also the time I used to go back to an empty home. One of those times, when the spectator had his own story to tell.
There is something about the window-seat-at-night experience – romantic/ nostalgic/ wistful that makes it special. A feeling that I was not alone in the crowd. It used to give me a sense of peace, a feeling that everything would be alright.
until next time, the bus stops here.