My ebook: Journeys with the caterpillar

My ebook
Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
and Sumba, Indonesia
" is available at
this link

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Cityscape: An urchin- poor and often mischievous city child

She didn’t know that she was called a street urchin in English. Her name was Laali; it was quite amazing indeed that someone had bothered to give her a name. As soon as she sensed that the traffic light was turning red on the other direction at the junction, she and her friends made for those lanes.
They kept going from vehicle to vehicle. The rules of the game were simple. Motor cycles were best avoided. No motorcycle driver was going to risk going off balance to shell out a few coins for her. As for cars with tinted glasses, father said they were like lotteries. Most of the times, they won’t bother to bring down the windows, often giving a wave of scorn out of fear that these knocks from tiny human hands appealing to something termed humanity would end up leaving nasty marks on the windows that separated them. But sometimes, you could catch a glimpse of a film actor or actress inside. It was magic. But Laali lied many times when she claimed to her friends that she had seen a film star. The best picks were always the passengers in tricycles (auto-rickshaws). Many times they would be scolded in the choicest words. That day, a fat man called her “mada****d”. She knew what that meant. She was quite amused. She and her friends laughed heartily when they discussed this, wondering, how Laali could make love to her mother. Laali was five years old. But what surprised her even more was when some people would indeed give her a few coins. Father explained that these people believed that they would earn blessings from God and thus do well in their own lives if they donated money to her. And what amused her most was when that day, a man talked to her softly, saying that begging was no good, and she should study instead. Laali asked the man for twenty rupees instead of the usual practice of one rupee to help her buy books at which his face went red and he asked the driver to rush.
Today was a bad day; people had perhaps stopped asking God for good fortune. Neither had any film star gone by. And the road surface was hot as hell. But then she noticed a well dressed woman looking at her from inside a tricycle. Laali knew the sign. She rushed to her and held up her tiny hand. The lady inside started to open her bag. Laali’s heart started to pound in anticipation. But just then the traffic light turned green. Laali got anxious as vehicles all around her started their ignitions with random roars. The lady was still fishing through her large bag. "Just give me whatever you want”, Laali pleaded anxiously as she noticed that some vehicles had already started moving. The lady pretended not to notice and kept on searching for that lone coin she had somewhere. Laali heard the scream of her friend asking her to cross over to the other side of the road. But Laali thought it was worth taking the risk. The lady’s tricycle also started moving. Desperate, she ran after the tricycle; two small feet surrounded by ominous tires on all sides. As the tricycle speeded, the lady gave up the search; God could wait for another traffic light. At this sight, Laali’s heart sank. But within the moment, intense fear gripped her. Vehicles kept rushing all around her; the noise deafened her while smoke got the tears from her eyes. Confused, she stopped and then she felt a huge knock from behind. She let out a scream…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey chivas, this is a good one. You've developed the climax/end very well, in a good crescendo :)

The character is also not simple, and each line relevant. The descriptions were targeted and need not have to use bombastic words to do so. Very well-written.

And I'm not saying this to boost your ego or something. It's really well-written :D