Written by Suchita Senthil Kumar
Art by Kalman Kovats
07:15 AM and Bangalore is wiping its tears on its sleeves, smearing red and gold on its eyelids.
I’m sitting in my college bus. I know it stops at Kasavanahalli, but I don’t know where it’ll take me. When I reach the college, the security guard stops me at the gate to inspect me on grounds of discipline. This moment, it feels significant—to be stopped at the gates of a college I never wanted to enter in the first place.
In class, I watch professors through a white veil. Most of the time, I can’t tell if I’m awake or asleep. I hear words: eigenvectors and matrices and engineering is going to be the best four years of your life.
Give me a good day and then we’ll talk years.
I’ve seen more tiles than buildings, my eyes always cast down, inspecting the grey and the dirt of the floors. I can’t bring myself to look at the college buildings because every time I do, it’s as though someone is screaming at me from the third floor asking me to leave. Where? I’ve been running all my life but I never know where I’m going. This is what I get for chasing a dream that was never mine.
On the way back home, I glance outside the dusty window with nothing else to do, an ache burgeoning its way through my brain. The sky is a silver canvas, streaks of bubblegum pink and Cornerhouse purple slashing through ebony cotton puffs. In a moment as short lived as a breath, the clouds turn into tufts of charcoal.
It rains until the bus’s windows drown in water.
And as always, after every downpour, the skies wipe its tears. It smears the same red and gold on its skin once again, this time in darker shades. The sun buries itself beneath the clouds, leaving its afterglow shining over pavements, treetops and streetlights. It feels almost like a silent warning.
Us Bangaloreans, we get our resilience from our skies. Countless times we’ve watched our city grieve and then pick itself up in fragments; resurrection is in the air we breathe. I wipe the tears I never knew I spilled, smearing red and gold from my sleeves—the colours of my city’s skies, the colours of war. I don’t know against whom I fight.
But every battle I’ve fought, I’ve won.