I was woken with a jerk as the bus pulled over at the bus station. I hadn't realised when I had fallen asleep but I sure wasn't happy to be woken up. It's hard to sleep in a rickety old bus that has to travel for 6 hours and stop at every point to pick up people. I didn't mind the bus company making its living but flooding every inch of the bus with human kind wasn't my idea of making profit. Anyway, my legs were all cramped up and I had to move out of this temporary prison of mine. Descending down the steps, the cold caught hold of me and went straight to my nose resulting in a loud sneeze. Achoooooo !!! I sneezed, cursing the cold. Wiping off what was left of my sneeze by my sleeve, I proceeded on to the bus station (or what was left of it) in search for food,warmth and a place to pick up that much awaited long distance call of nature. With a stretch of the neck to the left and a quick glance to the right, I found myself right where I was with nothing. The cold was getting to my throat and more importantly, on my nerves. Comfort was what I was looking for in the middle of nowhere and I was just getting poked by the spring of the sofa.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the glance of something rising up to the air and vanishing into the dark sky. The view drew me closer and closer like a moth to light and when I was finally there, I saw this man wrapped up in everything he owned, peering out to the crowd with the only opening in his ' attire '. His eyes seemed to be old even though he seemed to be much younger. And there he was, serving tomato soup for a meagre 10 Rs. Tempted by the thought to help him and the more tempting thought of savouring soup. As I took the glass from his woolen glove, I let out a slight 'Thanks' and left him with a brand new 10 ruppee note, just to give that extra happiness that may give him warmth on this cold night.
As I blew on the soup as lightly as possible making sure sure not to spill any, I tilted my head upwards and stared into the night sky. Many a times I would do this without any reason or purpose, always search throught the deep dark voids for something. Not a UFO or an undiscovered planet, but just for soemthing, maybe I searched for myself. I could see only a handful of stars and always wished to have a telescope to uncover this blanket of darkness and reveal the cosmos to my eyes.
At that moment I realised that I had something with me, my new pair of specs that my mom had insistently made for me. I hated them the moment I put them on and swore never to wear them while I can see the number of fingers on my hand. I took them out of the case anyway and put them on. There werent any giggly girls or nosy bullies to mock me, it was just me and the night, embarrasment was a milestone far far away that said " Far far away 0 km"
As I took a sip from the hot soup and looked up into the night sky, an emotion came to life in me that started from the tip of my fingers to the tip of my nose. It was mixed with the tangy taste of the soup and the sight of watching thousands of stars so clear and alive for the first time in my life. It was like little white dots had sprung up out of nowhere and even though they were millions of light years away from me, I felt like i could pluck from the sky and place them on my cheek as glitter. I gazed and gazed and gazed a little more, it was a wonderful sight to see and wondered if anyone else ever tried this while at this bus station. It was an amazing feeling to be out there in the cold and yet be radiating with warmth that came not only from the soup, but from every cell in my body.
I stood there till the bus sounded its horn for us to depart and get on with the journey that lay ahead. As the wheels of the bus went round and round, I closed my eyes (still laden with my specs) with the image of the stars pasted in my mind and the taste of the soup hovering over my semi-burnt tongue.I enjoyed the rest of the bus ride happily ever after.