Issue #56

Fall 2015

The Bus Depot

by Pooja Makker

The bus depot is caught up in the relentless mid-week chaos; people, like ants, line up in various queues with their bags and suitcases, purposefully heading in and out of the great big middle.

Up in his seedy one-room flat overlooking the bus stand, the man with the clock-like machine instead of a heart, sits at his desk patiently weaving clouds out of clumps of wool.

While the giant red buses run within the city, the blue and white ones belong to the state roadways and travel longer distances.

The runaway street performer, on stilts, towers over the rest of the crowd in his yellow and red frilly overalls which are most likely made from the cloth stolen from the circus’s tents. His son, a wee boy, maybe 5 years of age, his face smeared with a twirly moustache and eyes lined with kohl, keeps cartwheeling and dashing between his legs, all the while chuckling with laughter. Both the laughter and the mid-air tumbles have a light, heady quality about them, being as entirely free as they are from the pull of gravity.

In a while, they will feed their pet fish that they carry in a glass bowl all the silver coins they’ve collected from their act. They themselves will eat a lunch of sweet potatoes, salted raw mangoes and wild berries.

The circus troupe has had to wrap up and leave town because they were unlicensed and encroaching on municipal land that has to host the rally for the civic elections.

The juggler approaches the apple vendor and tosses a few apples in the air checking them for ripeness. The ones that are heavy with rot fall down with a squish.

Down below the ground, among the rats and the vermin, a group of gypsies who’ve walked to the ends of the earth, and the dispossessed of the world, the ones with gleaming eyes and soot on their faces and hands, furiously chart out new maps, bus routes, and craft new roads before daylight sets in overground and they are rendered blind again. This they hand over to the menacing looking transport officials in khaki uniforms who dispense candy coloured tickets to people in exchange for coins and maintain general law and order at the depot. That is the way it has been for centuries.

Author Bio


Pooja Makker is a filmmaker/ cinematographer by profession. She works across the sensory world of audio-visual and often leaps into the fantastic with short fiction. She finds herself in a perpetual state of becoming.