The wind blew, as it does on such occasions, rather swiftly. It wasn’t exactly chilly but was of a February morning temperature.(Here there is raised an important literary observation. As authors today and in the past have often constructed the weather in scenes around months, a question arises. Surely the weather differs across the globe even in the same month? Then is the author referring to his/her own place of residence? Or was the work written in times where the readers had little climatic variance?) He never enjoyed the Sun but its rays now would be welcome. He walked on the edge of the road as morning traffic chugged beside him. School buses, milk vans and newspaper boys on their bicycles along with the occasional unfortunate soul whose day started earlier then rest of the professional world; the road wasn’t exactly teeming. Pedestrians however seemed to be everywhere, with jogging shorts and imitation track suits and fairly noticeable earphone wires protruding from their ears. The number of people who do penance for their unhealthy lifestyle throughout the day by dodging vehicles coming from the opposite side, seemed to be only rising.
He picked up pace as he overtook a bunch of very circular, rather old and very slow females. Their insistence in walking in one row, like pigeons on a telephone wire perturbed him no end. “Now that’s lovely” thought he as a young voluptuous creature jogged past him with velocity and gravity producing a beautiful rhythm, accentuating a noteworthy endowment. She was probably here to reduce that last inch on a perfect waist and that was fine. Some of us do have to pursue beauty so that others can go beyond the visual. A strong smell of nicotine suddenly filled the otherwise relatively fresh air. At a makeshift tea stall stood several men reading the morning paper, taking alternate sips of steaming tea and a cigarette. These were the true early risers, historically. Societies were built on the shoulders of these early morning gatherings of citizens seeking information and companionship. Most of the men here did look of an era gone by when the internet wasn’t there to outpace the morning newspaper.
The trees above his head seemed abuzz with avian activity. The commotion could be nothing prettier than a bunch of crows discussing the scavenging duties of the morning shift. He carefully walked around the shadow of the towering foliage to avoid any excretory bombardment from above. As he swerved left the familiar sounds of bells clanging could be heard. The unmistakable impending presence of a temple if not announced audibly before was reinforced with the smell of incense sticks as he drew nearer. Just around the corner sat his destination, a bustling with activity, fully decked up, south – Indian temple. With the Tamil equivalents of gargoyles and grotesques around the concrete structure the multi color facade now faded by pollution and rain. The interiors however were very clean and better for the generosity or guilt of wealthy patrons. A small crowd of similarly aged individuals stood in the inner hall, decked in their traditional best. He hurled his shoes in the general direction of the shoe rack and raced up the stone stairs, the large wooden door frame catching his hurried toe. He hopped up to a young woman in a crisp white saree with a golden border. She made space for him as if he was expected at that very moment.
He smiled at the two or three familiar faces around him and then looked at the trio at the center of this gathering. A couple in clothes which should have been done away with in the last century faced with a portly half-naked elderly priest with too much silvery bodily hair. For a runaway wedding there seemed to be quite a lot of tradition about. His eyes met with the couple who smiled with a look of humorous disapproval at his tardiness. The girl gave him that warm smile of hers that so many months ago would have rendered this situation unimaginable.
He could feel all those suppressed feelings of his that should come with a prescription if not a statutory warning, rise up. He was already regretting the journey to this celebration of his own failure when he felt a hand on his. The girl, the one next to him wasn’t looking at him but her left hand was firmly latched to his right. He could have sworn that her eyes bore an unnaturally all too familiar look as she stared at the groom. They both stood still as the newly weds shared a mutual silent chuckle.