>Seen on a bus
She steps on to the bus, clutching her handbag tightly. Her thick black hair swings in a long plait. She pays the conductor and looks around hesitantly. Her skin is burnt brown, her hands roughened by work and her forehead adorned with a red pottu. Unconsciously her calloused hand strays to her swollen stomach as she gazes at the passengers with beseeching eyes.
The man by the window stares mutely at the sky. The women sitting in the middle immediately turn to one another and begin gossiping. The schoolgirl in front picks the dirt out of her nails. The seated commuters in one body resolutely turn a blind eye to the visibly chastened young mother.
Her erect figure visibly droops and her face loses its lustre, as she stands there, wavering and uncertain, feeling a bit foolish.
The conductor pushes his way forward and barks out asking for someone to give up his or her seat. A disgruntled teen gets up with ill grace, and she sits down with a visible sigh of relief.
As the bus lurches forward, her hand lingers over her protruding stomach and she catches sight of the notice just above her head. She smiles ironically, her eyes filled with contempt. It bears the words ‘Reserved for pregnant mothers’