In slow turns the fan creaks and groans as we sit at our desks in this large hall, our minds half on the heat and dust that blows through this dry town. We stare, through the stone arch in front of us, at the dome of some dead king's tomb. We sit here and stick stamps all day, on reams of stuff we don't know who would care to read. But this is how our world works, to a beat that seems to have no end.
Once or twice, a few of us have tried to break out of it: we let our minds roam and dreamed of Fern Lane, the part of town we were schooled not to think of. It was not for us, we were told by those who taught us and drilled us for this grim life: Fern Lane was not for us to go to, play in, or sing of.
But each of us dreamed of it in our own way. I saw stone walls damp with moss, high gates, homes in which the breeze cooed and boys and girls cheered, hopped and played while old folks in white lazed on the lawns.
I could not hold it in my mind for long. None of us could. Like a ball of thin glass held too tight our dreams of Fern Lane broke. And each of us woke to the mild sting of gum on our tongues as our hands brought the next stamp up, just as we are trained to move them -- one two three four, next, one two three four, next...
About the Author
S.B. Easwaran is a journalist who works in Delhi, India. He writes poetry, short stories and flash fiction. His poems have appeared in Prosopisia, a small Indo-Australian literary journal, the International Literary Quarterly and Drunken Monkeys.