a clown in a rickshaw ocean

A new rickshaw wala abandons his rickshaw in the standstill traffic to go and get a paan.

He stands and listens to the cross-legged paanwala complain about his wife while he sucks and chews and masticates the betel nut and sweet coconut in his mouth.

Then, with a red mouth like a clown and dusty feet in chappals, he heads back to the sea of rickshaws. In that ocean, he cannot find his own.

He curses. His home place of Jamshedpur is nothing like this goddamned crazy city full of traffic.Traffic starts to inch forward maybe a hundred meters ahead. His passenger starts to worry, where is he, she is already late.

He swims through the ocean to reach her and swings himself into the rickshaw like an orangutan, swiftly starting the rattling engine. They lurch ahead just in time.

He feels relieved and a little bit heroic, and smiles a paan-stained clown smile at whoever will look. The children in the next rickshaw on their soft mothers’ laps laugh and point at him.

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