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I hate traffic like everyone else. But it is not because I own a fancy car. I hate traffic because when it lines up in front of a traffic signal, it gets in the way of my work. It is my job to sweep the streets.
The morning started like any other normal day with the songs of the birds being drowned by the blaring of the horns. The sleek sports bike caught my attention. Not the bike but the rider, especially when I heard some angry yet ingenious vocabulary from the rider. It seemed to be directed at no one in particular. But it did manage to grab my attention. That is the thing about colourful vocabulary. It intrinsically has higher decibel values than normal conversation. Colourful words always grab attention in the black and white noises of everyday life.
The traffic moved in spurts. Starting and stopping every half a minute. The stream of expletives from the rider also seemed to synchronise with the green and red switching of the traffic signal. I was a nobody, but even I was getting uncomfortable. You can imagine the state of the family that was seated in the car next the bike. They even had a grandmother in there to add to the family’s discomfort.
I mean, we all hate the traffic but why was he using his vocal chords instead of just honking like the others? It was only when the words reached their Virat limits that I saw the door of the car in front of the bike swing open. A 6’6” tall and broad frame stepped out and took long strides towards the vocal rider behind him. No, not another road brawl!
The broad frame spoke angrily but I don’t think he used any swear words. If he had used, I would have heard them instead of just angry growls. The rider seemed to be surprised by the sudden reaction from a fellow commuter. Well, what did he expect that he could speak his mind and not get beaten up? Like I said, he should have kept his mouth shut and just honked like the rest of them.
The rider got off the bike. He stood almost a foot lower than the assaulter. Self-preservation always trumps anger. I think that is what was happening here. The bike rider raised his hands in a pacifying gesture towards the incoming tall frame. I couldn’t hear what he was saying. Apologies always sound at several decibels below normal conversation. All I could hear next was the crunch of knuckles on cheekbone. The small man seemed to be lifted off his feet for the fraction of the second that it took for him to swerve and hit the pavement with a dull thud.
I noticed three tiny objects fly and they landed near my broom as I watched with my mouth wide open. One of the objects was a premolar, one incisor and one miniature wireless hands-free headphone. I could still hear faint conversation on the other side when I picked up the wireless headphone.
I did not know which of the three objects was more precious to the owner. I was not sure which of the three could be reused by the owner. So I picked up all three and proceeded to hand it over to the small man who was now trying to get back on his feet.
The above piece was written during a session at Write Club on Action Writing
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