Friday, August 17, 2012

Word picture

Bright blue rubber-bands held up the little girl's two pony-tails. She tried to clamber onto the train, her bulging, purple school-bag weighing down her tiny body. "Anna Montana", it said, in curling letters, with a pixelated picture of Hannah Montana. Her mother gave her a gentle push and the school-girl lurched towards an empty seat. She sat down quickly, guarding the space next to her in the few seconds it took for her mother to join her.

The let-out hem of her blue pinafore ended just on her scruffy knees, and the white socks drooped to expose mosquito-bitten skinny legs. She had stepped in a puddle and her shoes bore the muddy scars that August morning.

The train emptied closer to the last station, and she left her mother's side to sit at a window. Her mother used the extra space to offload her bag, and drew out a small powder compact - bright pink. She opened it and began dabbing at her face, undoing the harm the muggy weather had done her pretty face.

Her daughter abandoned people-watching from the window and returned to her mother's side - standing to peer into the mirror. Two identical pairs of eyes stared into a reflection I could not see, and a smile formed on both faces. The mother raised her eyebrows in a question - never leaving the mirror. The girl nodded, still looking into the glass. Her mother dabbed the sponge on the child-soft skin, as the young eyes closed to keep out the powder, the lips pursed out of long observation and imitation.

The mother stopped dabbing. The little diva looked in the mirror and nodded her approval. The compact snapped shut and went back into the recesses of a sequinned handbag. The train slowed down. And both left the train to carry on with another day. 


Mallika Ganguly said...

Have you ever thought of writing a column based on your daily commute ?Lovely vignettes - all of them . Love the way you study people .

OrangeJammies said...

Anamika, I love your snapshots of life. I know, I've said it before. But I simply must repeat myself.