I walk home at 5.
I walk down a hill, turn left and walk down another. I walk beside a muddy river lined with trash. Plastic bags, half lodged in the gritty sand, float aimlessly.
How many? Countless.
For how long? Decades.
I walk past barking dogs and over bumpy roads. I walk past bustling shops filled with cauliflower, potatoes and onions. I walk past a grand house, painted columns and gilded window frames. Razor wire and watchdog. I walk past a small brick house behind a Pipal tree. Broken windows, tin roof, hanging laundry and chickens.
I walk by a barber, carefully trimming a beard. I walk by Shiva, Ganesha and Vishnu, hiding within their red walled temples. Bells, flame and fragrant incense. I walk by a man dragging a bent and useless leg. I falter, suddenly conscious of my own sure stride. I walk across a busy street, crammed with cars, buses and motorcycles. Breathe in dust, cough, then spit.
As I walk, people push past, coming and going like an endless line of ants. Each pair of dark eyes, an untold story. I walk by a pair of women. One is kneeling by the others feet, a hand resting in comforting council on her friend’s knee. Her husband had beat her again. I walk by a pair of young girls, tripping along hand in hand, chirping in the high sing song voices of carefree innocence.
I walk through narrow back alleys and up forty six steep stairs. I walk past golden sunset and toward silver moon rise.
The moon is full tonight.