Friday, 21 September 2012

Part 2

We thunder and shake for another twenty minutes, ripping asphalt and weaving maniacally between the sleeping dogs and thieves and beggars, bobbing in and out of weak patches of light thrown sporadically out by the few working bulbs lining the oily streets. It’s too late, and I’m too exhausted to take anything else in, so I slump down in the back seat and lean against my backpack, defeated.
Seconds later we come to a crude, screeching halt. The taxi driver motions through the darkness to a small opening in the cracked concrete wall, bathed in a solitary light. In front of the opening is a closed gate; defiant, rusty iron spears, jagged and mean and begging for flesh, threatening and daring those who would attempt to penetrate its guard to try, and to lose.
I glance at the taxi driver quizzically and his eyes are deep and stern.
“Thieves, sir,” he exclaims matter-of-factly. “Just knock on the gate and it will open, you will see.”
I unpack my bags form the car and take one last look back into the dim light of the cab. I can just make out his Cheshire grin, wide and pearly against his dark skin.
“But I am no thief, sir!” he adds, as if finishing his earlier sentence, then he breaks into a warm, satisfied laugh and is off, bounding and clunking through the night at a hundred thousand miles per hour, swerving for sleeping dogs and hooligans, this midnight ferryman in the streets of Calcutta.

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