The driver jumps into his seat. Settles and gets the bus started. He takes it over out to the main road, passing the street side shops by the bus stand. Through the flower shops, where yellow shades of threaded marigold are hung out in columns while the vendor sits inside, covered.
Follows various chats, juice stalls with people in small crowd. Banyan trees shadow till the end.
Vehicles have kept the road blocked. The driver looks out when the traffic lingers, and breaks in time to time, moves steadily following the two wheeler in front.
To the right is renovated town hall, white washed and furnished, stands high in all glory. It’s colossal green lawn. By the old government school, the driver turns left ahead to the next stop, climbs in passengers and steeps the road, right and then straight towards the last few stops inside the city. No frequent stops once out.
It’s night by now.
Before I knew, the bus is on the Nethravathi bridge already, middle of river I’ve registered every detail of from as a child. Everytime when I see it crossing, I see it as for the first time, as the most beautiful thing I’ve known. Throughout the bridge my face is quietened, eyes locked, as I look out at the moon soaked waves. The boats on the shore, railway track in the parallel end, overview of city buildings illuminated in the night lights. Colourful lights.
After a while, the city road has been left far behind. Small towns ahead. A hospital and an MNC, in distance amid the barren on the way. It’s villages from here. Hills arrive at the side walk with sillihoutes of trees against the moon kissed sky. One or two houses to be seen at each stop and dimly lit local shops where men chat for a while before home. Hair falls across my face as the bus is faster on the empty road. Last houses are seen passing by, of relatives and homies, indicating that the home stop has neared. My face lit brighter than the lights in the bus as I could see Sunil waiting for me by his old bike, hands folded.