Perspective

Between the sparse green of Indira Nagar
and the fluff of clouds
arranged as if they were to stand in a straight line,
I see a metro coach slide out of the station in the distance.
The coach is slow,
not in the clunky grinding manner
of a machine with disjointed movements,
but with a deliberate elegance,
like a chameleon pushing out a limb
and pulling its body forward.

I contrast this leisurely scene against my occasional rides on the metro.
Rides whose pace lies somewhere
between a sprint and a marathon,
not quite bisecting the distance,
a tinge of hurry in the belly of the train.
Then,
I’ve felt like a dot surrounded by dots
all being pushed along a curve,
through the bowels of the city.
And when the line bursts out above the ground,
I look down at stories in progress in the spaces below,
the intersections and one way streets
no longer a surprise plot twist with my bird’s eye view.
I see lanes and roads branch out like clogged veins,
and rush past them
as if I were flicking through the pages of a novel,
overlooking character detail so I can get on with the plot.
How much can a skimming read help?

Maybe what I see now is the weekend mode of the metro
when trains soak in the laidback city,
watch kites soar above,
let people walk in and out,
without having to rush
to a Monday meeting,
or dash off an email,
tick off items as read,
and then talk about the weekend gone by
over cups of tea,
the tea bags dangling out
like the residue of their lives
sandwiched between five-day work weeks.

Maybe a metro train
also uses the weekend
to go easy,
to take time
and think if it would like to do something else,
something offbeat, off the track,
questioning if it always has to shuttle between Baiyappanahalli and Mysore Road.
And perhaps when it sees another coach heading the other way,
the mass of metal gliding past it,
it steps up the pace,
for it is due to arrive at Ulsoor within the next two minutes.

Maybe it also thanks its stars
or the makers of the metro
for a single line means no competitors,
no coach
creeping up behind it
and beating it
to the station.

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