22 July 2006


Running on rail tracks. Sand everywhere. Leaping and bounding across tracks. Scorching midday sun. Screeching trains in close pursuit. Rattling rail tracks. Hot chase. Sweat. Heart beats. Lungs on fire. Nerves on end. Not letting go of clenched fists. Still racing. Engine hurtles past. Phew, made it just in time.
It is a massive cylindrical building painted black on the insides. Each floor is circular. The balconies of carved wood are widest at the top and narrow with every floor below. The ceiling is high, there is space in abundance. The missing bit is the stairs. The lone prisoner is on the top floor in darkness. On the bottom most floor someone is engaged in a duel. The mission is to reach the cellar in time for the underground train to escape. The duel is on. The prisoner leaps down each floor, shackled though she is. The duel meanwhile, has been won. Freedom!
The old lady lives next door. I visit her each day. She is disabled. She tells me stories and feeds me good food. She hangs clothes to dry outside her house above the well where I can see. One day when I go to her, she laughs and tells me I can no longer visit her. I am puzzled, or am I a bit afraid? I leave and as I do, the doors I pass suddenly come to life and whack me on the butt and send me flying to the next. And so on till I find myself by the familiar blue rusty gate. At home I discover, we all have to leave. Somewhere. It is night. Bags are packed. The taxi has arrived. But strangely, aunt and children have left without proper direction. Scooter comes trotting on its own. Kalasipalayam is far away! London Open bus arrives. We all sit safely in to leave for an unknown destination.