From what little she could see by glancing above, a streak of the sky revealed itself—as narrow and as skewed as herself.
She asked that filtered slice of sky, “Tell me sister, of which city are you the blue alley?”
In the afternoon, she would catch a glimpse of the sun for just a moment and think, “I couldn’t understand any of that.”
Overwhelmed, the alleyway uttered, “There wasn’t any problem when it was parched dry. Why this sudden pouring trouble?”
At the end of spring the southern wind looks delinquent, raising swirls of dust and sweeping torn pieces of paper. The alleyway says, bewildered, “Which god’s drunken dance is this?”
She knows that all the garbage that gathers around her every day—fish scales, stove ash, vegetable peels, dead rats—are reality. With those around, she never thinks, “Why all this?”
Yet when the autumn sun slants itself on the balcony of a house, when the notes of Bhairavi float from the puja nahabat*, she thinks for a second, “Perhaps something big really lies beyond this concrete track.”
The day yawns; sunlight drops from the shoulders of the houses to rest in a corner of the alleyway, just like the slipping away of the end of a housewife’s sari. The clock strikes nine; the maidservant walks by, tucking to her waist a basket of vegetables she bought from the market; the smell and smoke of cooking envelopes the alleyway; office goers get busy.
And the alleyway thinks again, “All of reality is contained within this concrete road. What I had thought of as something big must be just a dream.”
* Music room or a tower from which live music is played/performed during festive occasions.