The pages of the book had turned yellow with time.
I turned a leaf against the wind blowing through the window, careful not to disengage it from the bind.
Heat rays of the late morning sun lashed at me from all sides. Its blinding light enfeebled the already weak contrast of the print.
The skin on my cheek stretched and pricked itself awake as I closed my half open mouth - dry tongue on parched lips! Itch, scratch and micro flakes of dead skin on the forearm - a lone hair on the sleeve dispensed off into the wind.
Frantic winds howled in through the window in an attempt to run away from the smoke and dust, pushing through my hair and deafening my ears, that when my friend asked me what I was reading, I prayed he’d have partaken in the charade.
Camus' characters too were plodding along in his Algerian desert. A tale of shriveled dreams and enervated lives - not so impressive!
Then, the microphone of our Taxi crackled to life, blurting out incomprehensible phrases in a background of static. Cracker-candy pop in my head - as if a mosquito had made its way to my brain through my ear, and suddenly realizing it was lost had started pricking all around.
The driver spoke something into the handheld and the next instant the machine went dead, on command and respectful of its master’s voice.
I tried to find the spot in the book where I had left off.
As I grabbed the Arab in mid-sentence, the machine crackled back to life. The static once again contaminated the air, like a burst of itchy pollen. The prick went about its work all over again in my head - live, contained, its unique presence quite unlike the everyday pervasive head split. I would reach in and rip it out.
I grimaced and banged shut my book.
The shrill of a female voice floated over the noise of my thoughts - a rather animated critique of the guy on the wheels followed. Soon other drivers chipped in – little soprano, more tenor. A rally, and then, the microphone went dead again. I wished he had been a bit more assertive – “SHUT UP YOU FILTHY ANIMAL!!” or something like that.
I frowned and complained to my friend, he blamed his manager, and the machine came back to life, yet again.
Both of us jumped on the lad at the wheels as the cab raced through the clear and endless stretch of my ennui.