In Freedom’s clasp.
Shuffling through radio stations,Indignantly.
Searching for music as I
Sallied along the roads of the country that did not make that music.
My feet pressed upon the brake paddle,
and I grumbled.
70 seconds of waiting.
The rays of Sun falling through a Sun-blocking glass was my inconvenience.
But I had shades on, right? In my AC car?- Yes.
Amidst my loud music and my mutters
Of cursing time, I heard a tap on my window.
I think she knocked on a lot of cars before-
her knuckles were darker than the rest of her skin colour.
The face of a young teenage girl, I saw.
Baking in the Sun, yet beaming at me.
She held up a white plastic stick-
Similar to the straw in my coffee cup placed down beside the gear-
except, much more delicate and dirtier.
To the end of the stick,
Loosely dangled a wrinkled, pale Tiranga.
8 more seconds until she mouthed-
“Five rupees madam!”
It was hard to make out if it was her request,
Or her adversity.
Her eyebrows formed a ‘V’ as she pulled them together,
To aid to her vision in the searing heat of the afternoon.
Her other hand carried a bunch of many such shabby flags.
She didn’t stop smiling.
As I looked,
She stopped by six more cars.
For 70 seconds, she knocked.
Not one looked back at her.
There were reluctant nods without eye contact.
There was laughter inside,
Outside- was out of liberty.
Green lights went off,
And the cars behind me honked in unease.
The girl dashed towards the divider as vehicles scooted as though she were invisible.
The pale little flag on the top of my dashboard sunk lower than ever.