8 p.m. Outside PVR. My friends are late. I have just emerged, disoriented, from Ansal Plaza, and cannot stand the thought of being closed up in yet another artificial, glutted microcosm. I decide to walk around and explore Saket. Did you know there is a Durga temple right next door?
A bus zooms past, with a brassy “kya, chalegi re?” floating down at me.
I am suddenly all greasy and black with an impulse to punch that man’s face in – only he is far ahead on the bus as it zooms away.
8.25 p.m. I stop at a yellow-lit bus stop to check the time on my cell phone.
Two boys walk past, one of them leering at me. I lock an angry gaze with him. He, at the top of his voice: “kitni haseen thi woh.”
Too late for me to grab him by the collar and shake him up unless I run, run after them.
If only I had an immobilizing gun. I could have pointed
a white beam of hatred
a metallic beam of paralysis
at these cowards, walloping them down on the floor and keeping them pinned there, giving me the
minutes needed to march
Smack them across the face.