A scorching summer noon! Our car screeched to a halt at a traffic light. The car AC was ineffective in the boiling heat. Sun’s sizzling rays struck the charcoal bed of the road like lightening and shot back thousand prismatic shards dazzling the eyes. The tinted glass windows were a lame excuse for the heat and the light not to sneak into our car. We sat inside the blast furnace sweating and fuming as the signal took its own sweet time to change.
From the wordless gesticulations I could make out that the man behind the steering wheels refused to give her money on the pretext of not having any change. All of a sudden the man threw back his head and laughed. The girl smiled too and headed towards the other cars. I wondered whether it would be correct to hand over a few coins in those soft palms. This was not begging. She was asking payment in lieu of her performance though uninvited. I wished some resourceful entrepreneur or NGO could explore the possibility of utilizing the untapped potentials of such nameless artistes going waste at traffic signals. In this country of teeming billions such unidentified talents were not rare. Perhaps giving them alms might crush their desire to move further forward. Was there really any future of these unknown performers who scalded their limbs on seething asphalts to earn a few coins from an unwilling, impatient audience?
As my mind raced from one thought to the other, from one possibility to the other, from one regret to the other, the traffic lights changed colour and our car swiftly swerved towards the left. I tried to see the summer flower blooming on her own, without the love and tenderness of careworn hands in the midst of thirst ridden, sun baked dunes. But she was busy kissing the fiery roads bent on all fours oblivious of a pair of misty eyes which were riveted towards her. As our car dashed through the traffic I gradually lost sight of her but her burning image stayed with me for a very, very long time reminding of many more summer flowers that I had seen strewn carelessly on the road side by unknown hands who had scripted their fate with charred quills.