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A Hundred Gourds 4:3 June 2015

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page 14  

Vidya S. Venkatramani - India


THE WALK


This weekly walk together-how many times we have done this before! Bidding mother goodbye, we set out before dawn. Outside it is still dark, the velvet sky embedded with stars and a pearl-white moon. In the porch light, all the leaves in the garden seem to glisten after last night’s rain. I stop just a second by the gate, to have a whiff of a jasmine. You offer to carry my bag but in all the bravado of youth, I refuse.

It is just a twenty-minute walk to the railway-station. Twenty minutes with you ! .I talk about my friends at college, about the quirks of the professors, the books I read last week and as always, about what I am going to do next. Sometimes, you give me your viewpoint, a perspective. Sometimes, you just listen. At times we do not talk, silence binding us together in an invisible bond. We walk on, keeping pace with each other. No sound on the roads except for our footfall. An occasional vehicle whizzes by. Once in a while, I hear the cycle bells of the newspaper boys or the milk man. I stumble on a stone on the pavement-wordlessly, you steady me and I feel the grasp of your large hands.

footsteps–
on the moon’s trail of light
the rising sun

On the huge bottle-brush trees outside the station, the dawn crows cry themselves hoarse. We walk into the hustle-bustle of the station. There are people all around-the passengers, the vendors, the porters. Finding my seat on the train, I finally sit down. As the train pulls away, I wave at you. Nose-pressed on the window-pane to catch every glimpse of your receding figure waving at me.

azure sky–
the wind that buoys
the paper kite



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