Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan (October 22,1972 / Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India)
At the Bus Stop
Eight-thirty! .... still no sign of the bus -
The driver must be sipping his coffee
By some roadside dhaba, why should he care
If the passengers suffer? …… if I suffer?
A quarter-to-nine! Gosh… I wonder whether
That driver is still having his coffee there
Or is gossiping somewhere, maybe chewing paan -
Or is that dhaba owner a breasty woman?
Nine-fifteen! When shall now I reach office?
Have those drivers all called a sudden strike?
Lo! Gandhi taught them hartal and now
They are striking everyday - bless Democracy!
They will pilfer the diesel, then sell the tyres
And will strike now for more salaries!
Nine-thirty now! ….. Bless me Lord!
Is that bloody driver debauching somewhere?
Oh I know these drivers and those dhaba women -
Go debauch whole night, who stops you rascal? -
But you will debauch n-o-w at nine thirty! !
A quarter-to-ten! …..Oh my Lord!
Has that driver met with a crash or what!
Must be drunk with hooch, and dead asleep
Or maybe the helper was driving, who knows now
Anybody can get a license these days
By bribing the R.T.O. - the cursed lot!
It's ten! … Oh no, I'll take a taxi -
Taxi! …oye, ahoy! Taxi! Taxi! Taxi!
Hah…no, why should he listen
I'll walk to office ….!
Arrey, what! The bus has arrived!
Ah, at last! Oh, thank you dear driver -
Thanks Lord! I won't have to walk to office
Slow down, slow down! Do not hurry now, dear driver!
I think there must've been a traffic-jam somewhere -
The bloody city traffic these days! !
Dhaba: - a roadside eatery for truck drivers
Paan: - betel leaf with lime and areca nuts chewed in India as a mouth stimulant
Hartal: - Call of strike to force the authorities to meet a demand
R.T.O.: - Road Transport Office
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