There he stood, the tattered and wrinkled striped shirt had faded in the past year and a half, the trousers were excruciatingly tight at the waist. He stood there at the bus stop, waiting for the bus which would take him to a place called “Home”. He exhaled a thick cloud of smoke and watched it disappear in the night sky lit up by the neon lights of the surrounding shops. His thoughts wandered to the places he had been in his life, the places he had just passed by, the places where he wanted to be, all at once. The nicotine slowly hit his brain, slowing his thoughts where he could finally differentiate between a myriad of random thoughts momentarily, and then like a film it started accelerating again. He puffed in another drag, and again the film of his thoughts slowed down, he looked down at his cigarette, this wouldn’t last long. He thought about the places where he had spent his nights, the random people he had met in his travels, the old bus conductor he had met when he first left his so-called “Home”, the curly-haired girl who stuck up a bright conversation no matter what the topic was, the cigarette seller who had a golden tooth, the wise child who had first called him a nomad, the rich Arab on the camel who had named him “Bedouin”, the pretty girl who introduced him to brewed beer, the businessman in the elevator of Empire State Building, the streetsmart BlackJack dealer, the cowboy in Brisbane, the Mongolian kid who shared his meat with him, the cigarette was soon getting over.
Bedouin had traveled far from the place called “home”, he had crossed the great Indian plane, bathed in the Holy Rivers, sought his blessings at the foot of the Himalayas, he had crossed the Land of five rivers, flown into Oil-rich countries, slept with the Nomads of the ruthless desert of Africa and with the Mummies at the steps of the Pyramids in Giza. He had taken the Canal into Europe, from the study grounds of Socrates and Plato to the Colosseum of the Gladiators, from the waters of Venice to the Stonehenge. Across the legendary Atlantis off the Strait of Gibraltar to the Long Island which was smothered by humans, from the beaches of Florida to the midnights of Vegas. From the sunset at Hawaii to the sunrise in the Barrier Reef, from the volcanic islands in the Pacific to the lands of the Mongolian warlords and scaling the roof of the World, he had entered back into his homeland, from the Son of Brahma to now where he stood, Silicon Valley of the East.
Now when Bedouin was waiting for the bus back to the place called “Home”, he doubted whether he was really heading back home, he had practically seen the whole world, the entire planet had been home for him, the world seemed too small now, he felt too little on the face of the Universe. He thought of the quote by St. Augustine -
“The World is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Bedouin was just an average person, with average height and looks. He was just lucky. He was now addicted to this book, he did not want it to end, but like all good things, this book had come to an end. The bus rolled to a halt in front of him. He looked up at the scrawny young driver and smiled. He stamped on his cigarette to extinguish it, he was a Nomadic Soul, returning to the place called “Home”. Another eighteen hours. He boarded the bus.
Artwork by @breakfreeink. Find her on Instagram.
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- Darshan Pania