Monday, January 21, 2013

10 Rupees

'R' sat in a bus. One of those 'non-Volvo-non-A.C' ones that you see running between the villages. The bus had a good variety in terms of its passengers. There were men, women, children - even a basket full of live chicken. 

While they all talked, jumped around and squeaked (not necessarily in that order); a co-passenger initiated a conversation with 'R'. The co-passenger was a local. And perhaps he knew a few folks in the bus too. He spoke about them. And 'R' listened.

"Do you see that lady sitting on the left with a baby?"
"Yes, I do."
"Do you notice the baby she is carrying, it doesn't move."
"...yeah, it doesn't seem"
"The baby was declared dead in the hospital. She is carrying it back to her place. Do you see her eyes? She's almost bursting into tears and yet cannot let herself proceed with it. She is scared that it might create a scene - and then the conductor would know. Then he might not allow her to carry a dead body in the bus. 

Alternatively, she cannot afford a rickshaw to go home - it will cost her 10 rupees. Perhaps she will weep to her heart's content when she is off the bus. Till then, she will have to make believe that the baby is sleeping.

It is an elusive 10 rupee note that governs the control over her emotions. It makes her behave as if the child in her arms is still alive. It is the money that commands her how to act and react over the situations in her life, and it will probably keep doing so in the future too."

 - as narrated by 'R'.