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7 Mar 2011

Lenin Square

Posted by Oblivion in Fiction | 4:39pm

Six people got into the bus. Two of them were blind. Sameer, sitting close to the door, noticed them holding each other's hands and talking. Is it the language of reassurance? What is it to be blind, Sameer wondered. As the bus collected speed, Sameer observed their faces. They were smiling; they were happy. He wasn't. 

"How far is Lenin Square", the old man, sitting next to Sameer, asked. He was inaudible, or Sameer felt so. "Second stop from here", he looked at the man and quickly looked away. The old man was keen to prolong. "City traffic is getting worse. I'm already late... my granddaughter would be waiting at her school. My poor little bird", he remembered fondly. Sameer smiled casually and nodded, only preteding to have followed the conversation.

As the conductor made his way through the crowd, the blind men moved next to Sameer. He looked at them again. Would they get down at Lenin Square, he almost asked. He refrained. Of course, he wouldn't have asked. He is in no mood to talk. He noticed the girl on the seat in front, reading a message on her phone. He noticed her smile. She quickly typed a reply. He could clearly see her typing. "Stupid doc. What does he mean by ineligible? Tom is already high on harmones. High time you find him a mate ;-) Check with another vet", she sent. 

Sameer didn't find it funny. He wondered why she smiled. And why she typed ;-) But he wondered only that far. He wasn't able to focus on anything. He was looking aimlessly. His mind wasn't registering anything. He moved his leg a little backward, and felt the bag. It was stable, under his seat, perfectly unnoticeable among that crowd. The bus stopped. Five people got down. The blind men didn't. 

The old man was restless. "Next stop, right?" he asked. Sameer assured, "yes". "I am also getting down, don't worry sir". The old man smiled. Sameer looked at his watch. "13 minutes more", he reminded himself. The signal turned red and the bus stopped abruptly. The bag moved out a little and hit his leg. "Asshole", Sameer referred to the driver. Slowly he pushed the bag in. He felt he should rather get down here. But he reckoned Lenin Square is just a couple of minutes away, and decided to remain seated. The bus moved.

Sameer checked the bag again. For one last time, before he stood up. The old man followed. Sameer moved toward the door and looked back. The two blind men took the seat. He looked at the girl. She was busy with phone; she wouldn't get down at Lenin Square. "Lenin Square", the conductor yelled. The bus stopped neatly in the slot. Sameer got down, and noticed Sid who had been waiting for this bus. "Hey!" Sid greeted Sameer. Sameer was nervous. "What are you doing here, buddy?" he asked. "Am going to the mall. Want to come?" Sid asked, prepared to get into the bus. As he followed Sid's words, Sameer noticed the old man walking briskly away. 

The conductor was asking crowd to get in. The bus would move. "Hey, why not take the next bus?" Sameer checked. 

"No. Need to go to the book exhibition from there. Am already running late".

"That's ok, Sid. Have a cup of tea and then make a move".

"Sameer, next time", Sid patted on his shoulder. "Will go. Will buzz you. Bye", Sid got into the bus.

Sameer wanted to stop Sid. Sid won't stop. The bus moved. Sameer remembered their previous meeting. Sid had remarked he wanted to die. Sameer stood still and watched the bus move away. He looked at the watch. "Six minutes more", he noted. He looked around. For a moment, he felt he had lost all sense of comprehension. He wasn't able to follow anything. He could just see, hear, but it was all like a swiftly passing dream. He thought he should rather run and stop the bus. But he stood unmoved. 

After a minute, Sameer turned around and walked on. 

Five minutes later, the bomb, ticking silently inside the bag that the blind man felt with his leg, took off. 

6 Comments | "Lenin Square" »

  1. By chandoo:

    14 Mar 2011, 4:37pm [ Reply ]

    @Linus: insightful comments, as ever :-)
    @vj: yes, u got it right. i didn't mean to question his choice, but was curious broadly - what drives a person, conscientious like any other, do such a thing. i see it's difficult to dig, as you suggest.

  2. By oblivion:

    9 Mar 2011, 11:51am [ Reply ]

    @chandoo: no idea what motivated him. could be anything? could be one... could be a thousand. we see it every day... why does one do it? am not sure if i got that, but are you suggesting that a chap capable of ethical reflection would not do such a thing?

    @Linus: can't disagree. ethics are quite subjective and loosely used. you are indeed right about people overlooking their prejudice for personal trangressions. different rules for different people... one comfortably fails to notice the unconscious biases. do you look at this differently, chandoo?

  3. By oblivion:

    9 Mar 2011, 11:35am [ Reply ]

    @Linus: i took it from 'lenin sarani' in calcutta. for some reason, when i think of a city or streets, it's always calcutta.

  4. By Linus:

    8 Mar 2011, 10:11pm [ Reply ]

    @chandoo: ethics is a very subjective playground, although most people think of it in absolutes. what are the criteria to categorise ethical and unethical choices? sameer (and the likes) did so complying to the code of his group (assuming he belongs to one). he stood for his expected role and didn't let his group down. so, is it ethical or unethical? on what grounds? don't we all comply with the code of our respective groups - state, country, judiciary, company, family, etc? and don't we all believe we are perfectly ethical? yet we are all so keen to judge ;-)

    what say, vj?

  5. By chandoo:

    8 Mar 2011, 2:54pm [ Reply ]

    sameer comes across as capable of ethical evaluation. what has motivated him to do this?

  6. By Linus:

    8 Mar 2011, 11:12am [ Reply ]

    sid has graduated to guest appearances? :-) which city is lenin square in?

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