A creaky rickshaw paddles away
Snaking its way past narrow gullies
Staggering along stones and dents
Splattering mud collected in puddles
On a rain-drenched hazy morn
Leaving behind lanes of luxurious
Where men sit in porticos over a piping
cup of tea
Peering over the local daily.
It wades across picket-fenced cottages
and waysides carpeted by jacaranda
The rain bursts up in a gleeful downpour
Slowing down to a drizzle the moment
Playing a game of peek-a-boo
Children with colorful umbrellas spill the
Capering down the wet street
Where tiny rivulets of water trickle by
Automobiles honk and zip across
Revving motorbikes swerve and swoop
With the riders’ shirts sticking to their skin.
More rickshaws move ahead
Unhindered by the thick sheet of rain.
She, dripping wet in the rickshaw
dries herself with a yellow handkerchief
gripping the bars with one hand
bracing herself against the slanting floor.
She spots a fishery ahead
where evanescent ripples fade and form
and a sweet-meat shop thronged by school
Under its awning sleeps a destitute
partially enveloped by a ragged patchwork
In the pavement at a stone’s throw
with heavy bags slung across shoulders
Office workers crawls away.
In this languid and sleepy town
The rickshaw moves ahead
Through avenues speckled by red-tinned
And tree-lined boulevards, dark and still
Familiar faces jostle by
Dissipating into the aura of the little town
Becoming a vivacious unit
Of the place where they belong
The safe haven they call Home.
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