Sizzling. I was sizzling. And I don’t mean in a red-hot, sensuous kind of way. The sun was high – it was around noon. I was already sweating after dance class, now I could feel it dripping down to the small of my back.
Dazed and on the verge of heat-stroke (yes, I tend to over-dramatise things a tad) I blinked blearily when my bus finally arrived. I clambered on, shoving people out of my way, and managed to find myself a window seat. Then I got a ticket, switched on my iPod and closed my eyes in bliss.
I was nearing home when a random, cheeky boy dumped his black backpack on my lap from outside the bus. (Welcome to India, where strange occurrences are common). Now this is normally done when the bus is overflowing with people and there’s not much standing space either, so the ones lucky enough to be seated are dumped with the bags.
I looked around. Not so crowded bus. Not in the least. And where the hell was the cheeky boy. Why the hell did he even pick my lap to dump it on. I was far away from the doors of the bus. The middle-aged lady sitting next to me glanced at the bag and back at me. I shrugged.
Why, why, why. Why me. Then I thought. What if it was a bomb. And visions of me exploding and meeting an early death suddenly bombarded me. Visions of friends not knowing for several days, and of my brother crying in his white kurta, while lighting the pyre on which my corpse had been kept… the middle-aged lady was looking at me again. I tried subtly re-adjusting my posture and shaking the bag to see what was inside. Upon looking around, the boy was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he had disappeared after planting the bomb. Yellow-hearted, non-kamikaze, fool. And then I thought. What the hell. If some random passer-by dumps his bag on me, why should I allow it. I live in a free country. I can check what’s inside.
So yours truly vehemently tore open the bag. And my breath stopped.
It was a hideous looking creation. Purple in colour, carrying a heart which claimed ‘‘you’re special’’. The teddy bear looked at me with its beady eyes, as if chastising me. And behind him, were a stack of notebooks.
I felt incredibly stupid. Maybe I did have a heat-stroke after all. Or maybe Mr Bear was a ticking bomb.
I thought again. Naah.