The Bazaar Sleeps

The grubby boy washing out the steps of the half-closed eatery. A dog stands by, tail a-wag in expectation. In the next shop, a lights peeps from beneath a nearly closed shutter. The butcher's shop is still open, a gaunt attendant scrubbing a knife. Blood mixes with grime as it flows out to the gutter, only to be dammed by cabbage and mango leaves.

The marigold and jasmine seller cries out to the hurrying passers-by, three for the price of one. So does  the vegetable-woman, her head half covered, her voice shearing the silence. Eloquent, persuasive, the cadences rise amd fall as she plies her rehearsed pitch.

A shutter closes with a clang, a motorcycle roars, then groans away into the darkness. The clock-tower rings, I quicken pace. I can hear the hum of the last bus' engine, and the whines of the drunk I shoved and sent swerving across the street. Elbows clash as I run through the customers of the busy, busy paan shop, but the bus has begun to move. A dash, as I leap onto the footboard.

The streetlights seem dimmer as my bus tears away. The bazaar sleeps.


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