She clicks on “Compose Mail” and stares at the white spaces. Instead of filling them, she fills her own eyes with wetness. This strange shyness. She had never been shy when it came to flirting, professing love, writing dirty emails, showing her armpit or mouthing obscenities. Unable to write to the man whom she wants to break up with, she takes the obscenely big Volvo bus to Pune to meet the man she wants to leave.
The bus winds through South Bombay. Her heavy heart brings the bus down several inches. The toothless man next to her works his way through the third murukku, deftly turning savory to cud. She wishes he had some real teeth for her to smash. Perhaps only anger could make her oblivious to her sadness.
Pavement shopkeepers attempt to drag foreigners to their wares. Badly made imitations with their steel buckles grin at the white folk who are here to find nirvana in the dirtiest corner of a city. Small plastic bundles full of the promise of amnesia and high spirits peddled with “You want? Best quality. Just like Manipur Gold.”. She spies on a rows of clothes arranged without respect for harmony. A traffic signal sits without meaning above them. The ugliness is overwhelming. It adds to her despondency.
Taking a detour, the bus goes via Fort, and there in the splendor of Bombay’s evening she spots the park named after some editor of a forgotten newspaper. Horniman circle. She wonders how life would be for a man named Horniman. Her own sadness seems very tiny now. Just a mouthful that could be swallowed. She wonders if the old man sitting next to her is named similarly. Her favourite word is “suddenly”. So suddenly, resentment turns to sympathy, and the bus finds itself elevated by three inches.