there is something curiously calming about staring out of the window of a bus.
at ten o’clock at night.
i am on a bus from aberdeen to london, and am located exactly above the driver. red tail lights form beacons in the night even as yellow headlights flash past.
the night has finally fallen and the sky is in transition from blue to black. the countryside is a blur of shadow along the side-windows; the shape can be discerned but the detail is shadowed by the lack of light.
a sudden change alongside as a petrol pump flashes by – yellow light in the gloom.
the window is blurring as a sudden shower comes, the red beacons are split by the prisms. closer observation shows the chaotic pattern of the raindrops splattering against the windshield in front of me.
passengers murmur in the darkness behind, one knows people are there but who – it seems almost sacrilege to turn and try to pierce the privacy of the dark.
its not easy to write due to the lurching motion as the bus takes the circle and then goes down a winding road.
a passenger sleeps, from the look of it uncomfortably, but the gentle sway of the bus is comforting.
the rain comes down harder, the road can barely be seen for the mist of raindrops. in the window alongside, a mirage of the self sits – it is company that is never really there. i lean against “myself”, the feel of cool glass against the cheek is warming; but a chill sinks to the bone in a while.
the night stretches ahead…
my feet are cold, my hands are ensconced in the folds of my jerkin. the rain is coming down harder – the continuous patter of the raindrops against the pane of glass woke me from my doze. wind and rain combine to form random patterns… the bus stops at a signal in the middle of nowhere. weird.
i think we’re entering glasgow…
buchanan bus station, glasgow. pink floyd plays ‘marooned’ in my ears. i believe that was their only grammy winning number. not even ‘comfortably numb’… the bus driver is changing.
the designs of the windows of a random building on the way into the station were weird. it looked as though the pane had been split apart by a random force.
the pattern of rainwater in front seems to take on new meaning in the music…
2 a.m.. sleep comes and goes as the bus hits the motorway. all that can be seen now is the illuminated patch of the highway lit up by its headlights. i drift off… thoughts, dreams, and reality seem to merge into one…
6.30 am. greenline coach station, london. most passengers are still rubbing the vestiges of sleep from their faces. all too soon, one clambers down from the bus. it has been something of a residence for the last twelve hours.
‘rasiya’ plays as i eat my sandwich while sitting on a bench, waiting for the connecting bus. it is already day – london looked half alive to my half-dead eyes on this sunday morning.
ahead, near the europe buses, the scene is that of any indian railway station. clamour, chaos & crowd. baggage. only the omniscient porter is missing.
another hour to go before i get the bus to birmingham..