A place called home #2
The not-so-light backpack resting on my back, I walk out onto the dusty, uneven road leading to Sitaphal Mandi station from the 3rd gate of the university campus. The crooked road is bumpy, narrow, recently dug up and filled with brown mud. Few cows graze on along the roadside. Crows and flies compete to bother them. A pack of dogs bask in the glorious June sun and rub themselves in the mud. Two other dogs are momentarily locked in a fight which soon becomes amorous. A long line of two-wheelers scurries along the bumpy road. Women wearing cotton saris, sit under temporary tarpaulin sheets selling vegetables - the greeny-bittery kind. Now flaked with dust, with names that sometimes sound like foreign languages or Marvel characters. The heat is too much to bear. Women with children walk by, trying to get their kids to school before the gong sounds. Babies cry. Men prance about wearing tucked up lungis and showing their (not so) bare legs. They stand gazing with a glass of cutting chai or a smoke. A Russian man sits sipping on a hot cup of Irani chai, taking in the surroundings very differently from the gazing men. Construction workers pile reddish-brown bricks and plaster them with grey cement. A manure-like smell wafts in the air from the cow dung. The chortle from the women selling the greens intermingles with the sound of onions being fried in the Chinese fast food shop. The wafting smell of garlic spirals into the cerulean hues of the sky. At the nearby station, the board at the entrance, "Sabari Express delayed by 3 hours...We regret the inconvenience caused."