It happened too quickly that I could hardly react. “It wasn’t my fault! It wasn’t my fault!” I cried out but they had no patience to hear my pleas. Each one of them had their own share of frustrations—the motorist who lost his son in an accident last year, the school teacher who was being bullied by the Principal, the peon whose wife rejected all his overtures, the customs officer with a son who was a drug addict—and I was the easiest target available.
They broke my glasses, bashed my body, tore my legs and slit the thighs on which the children sat and played. They vented their fury till their hands ached and legs flailed. The yellow dress, which covered me, lay scratched and spoiled revealing my body to all. The villain had already fled the scene.
If they had asked me, I would have told them, “It wasn’t me; it was him. He was drunk. He was always drunk. This was an accident waiting to happen.” No one asked. No one cared. After all, I was just one among the innumerable school buses around the city.
Now, as I stand abandoned, in the shed outside the police station—covered with rust, moss and fungus—there is just one thought that troubles me.
Why didn’t anyone take that little girl, crushed under my wheels, to the hospital? Was it because they were too busy bashing me up to notice the slight twitching of her toe?