Where are all of the baby pigeons? Does the hair on coconuts lose its luster as it ages? What is the fruit vendor thinking?
These kinds of questions always arise in Leila’s mind as she drives through the hustle and bustle of her crowded city in India.
The pineapples on the cart look a miserable lot; late afternoon is nigh and they are hot. Stiff leaves are indifferent to the winds of neurotic rickshaws. Tiny spikes protruding from thick skin reach out in a desperate attempt to be chosen, and relieved from the sun’s incessant glare. Little do they know that their short, grasping barbs may deter helpful hands. They’re piled on top of eachother: itchy, hot, and bothered. Loud revving motorcycle engines brake violently and kick up thick, opaque clouds of dust. The fruits’ brilliant yellows and vibrant greens have been muted by this fine layer of dust leaving them a tower of peaked mustards and puke greens. A small fly lands on a pineapple near the bottom of the stack, and the reflected hexagonal patterns create a kaleidoscope within its eyes. His little hands twitch and he bathes himself, up and down, in the memories of chaotic traffic patterns. He flies away and lands in a neighboring strawberry, dirtying himself again in the melting, sticky mess. The refreshing flesh of the pineapples is shielded from the truck exhaust, ultra-violet rays, and gritty dust by its unyielding skin. A calloused hand with dirty, chipped fingernails hefts a pineapple away from the stack and plops it into a bright white plastic bag with THANK YOU printed on it. The third thank you is slightly askew.
Leila drives past the pineapple cart and wonders if the customer just purchased a sunburned pineapple.