Hello, amazing reader,

How have you been?

Starting this new category in my blog – Telltale pictures. In this digital era where clicking pictures is one of the profound ways to capture memories, we often come across photographs that speak a million words. This is my humble attempt to interpret such images and try to tell their story.

I have always been a lover of the ruins. There is something inexplicably enigmatic and exotic about these old things that have stayed around for so long, witnessing hundreds of events – the good, bad and the ugly. Some of these are well-known, recognized and even celebrated. My country, India has many such World Heritage sites – Beautiful ancient shrines, architectural wonders, caves, monuments and forts. Sadly, many of these have been wrecked by foreign invasions and even by vandalism. I have written about one such historical site, here.

But there is this other kind, that we see in our daily life, pass by them every day and somehow miss to see the beauty in them. They are the ordinary objects made for our daily use and then scraped when they are no longer functional. But if one chose to stop for a minute and wonder, what is its story? What was its journey like?

If only they could tell stories, write memoirs or narrate their wild experiences…

The Lonely City Bus

A photograph, a good friend of mine sent last week, is one such object that got me thinking.

Lonely City Bus Image courtesy: Karthik Rao

The image is of an old city bus that from the look of it, is no longer functional. The seats are removed, the paint scrapped and the iron rusted. Having carried people (often more than its capacity) from one place to another all its life, it is now hollow, quite literally.

It stands in a corner of the depot, reminiscing its old days, recalling the many many stories that took birth in it. Like the teenage couple sitting on adjacent seats and stole a glance at each other when no one was looking. Or the college students sitting in the last row anxiously preparing for their exams. A bickering old couple, the wife complaining about having to travel in the city bus instead of a car. The job-seeker, by the window-seat, wondering if he would get the job he had just interviewed for. The middle-aged woman carrying a big basket of vegetables from the market to sell them at her little shop. She is always the first one to board the bus.

There might have been some not-so-happy memories too. The many times the driver just missed hitting an overspeeding two-wheeler or the time when some local goons decided to burn the buses to show their disapproval about a decision. Some of these incidents left the bus with a scar for a lifetime, some healed. The bus also might have had some haunting memories, like that one time the windowpane shattered, the shreds of glass piercing a passenger’s arm.

Maybe there were a few everlasting happy memories too. I’d like to think it did.

A rainy day when the bus was filled with a variety of sounds. The constant humming of the engine, the occasional honks, the pitter-patter of the rain against the roof, exasperated passengers talking on their cellphones or with each other, the driver yelling at other vehicles on the road, raising his voice above all others. Amidst all this a young man and woman sitting next to each other, the man holding the thin tarpaulin sheet against the window with one hand. A conversation slowly bubbling between the two and then in the heat of the moment, the man blurting out his feelings for her, a girl he had liked for many years now. Her quiet acceptance and his victorious smile lost in the chaos of the rainy day…

One can only imagine, the stories the city bus might have encountered in its decades of service, while today, it sits there in its lonely corner of the depot hoping to someday relive it all once again…

That is all I had for today’s post. Have you come across any pictures that were worth a thousand words? Do let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Shikhandini – Warrior Princess of the Mahabharata (ebook and paperback)
  2. Those Girls – A Tale of Perspectives (ebook) 

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