Normally, kids do stare at me for a longer period of time. Maybe they find me intriguing or the exact opposite. I’ve always wanted to know why. Although most times, I give a zombie look, I decided to make some funny gestures this time just to evoke some positive response. Using the luxury of the darkness around, I started making a funny cartoon face. Hardly had I dropped my jaw when it began squealing, waking up all the poor souls (except dad who was in the limbo by then) around and buried its head into her bosom. What followed truly traumatized me. I was so frozen with tension that the jaw, which had dropped already stayed that way even after mom turned towards me to see what I was up to. She stared at me in a way that assured one thing – I would be featuring in the wrong end of every god-damned spook story that she would be telling her kid whenever it fussed to eat, drink or sleep. Right! There’s always an exception to every proven theory.
Into the 5th hour of the journey, the bus swiftly turned left at Krishnagiri and hit on NH7 towards Salem. All I did was leaning on the glass window, emptying the rest of biscuits, catching glimpses of bright flashes in the sky, listening to Tamil songs of the 90s in a nostalgic streak.
An hour later, bus came to a halt at a well-lit tollgate in Thoppur. Tollgates are the best parts of a night journey. I love those yellow lights glistening off green signboards. It also gives you a chance to see the different types of vehicles ranging from small cars to mid-size Omnis to luxury Volvos to humongous trucks commuting across highways. Tollgates. I love that temporary halt. It gives you an impression that though we are all in the middle of our own journeys, we got to halt together at some point. And of course, there is a cost involved.