An oldish man, sitting on the aisle end of a bus seat. Run down in appearance, with frayed and not very clean clothes. Stooping over, either from sleep, or some illness, or age, or something else entirely. Clutching a dusty big plastic bag on his lap. Oh, and his right arm in a sling underneath his shirt, with just the bandaged hand gaping out to hold the plastic bag.

A definitely old woman, sitting next to him, on the window side of the same seat. Rural in appearance, with a brightly coloured, clean sari worn in the older nauvari(1) style, with padar(2) draped over her head. From appearances, a dragon accustomed to defending her and hers, and of giving life two knocks back if it dared to give her one.

They do not seem to be together.

The man has a tough time hanging on to his bag, which slips and falls down, which he then has difficulty picking up. In the process, he bumps against the dragon, his hand and arm brush against her. The dragon then breathes fire on the presumption of the man, and speaks loudly and nastily on how he can’t hold his seat and deliberately brushes her. The man doesn’t respond, at all. Just picks up his bag and sits quietly, as much as he can.

Much later, someone who accompanies the lady helps her get up from the seat in order to get down at her stop. She is stooping now, and her age is more visible. She slowly walks ahead, a step a minute. The bus driver is impatient. She shuffles, and pauses at the head of the steps. She needs help getting down. An old, shaky hand grabs hers. Provides the support she needs to lean on while getting down the steps. That done, the bus starts and the old man then returns to his seat.

What does this act say about the woman? And the man?

(2)Padar: Loose end of the sari