Cliffs and rocks and grey dirt and dark green plants that burst out from between the rocks and cling there. The roar, the drone of the engine of the bus as it rattles, rattles, barely holding together, or–perhaps–held together by our faith.
Believe. Believe. BELIEVE.
I think I can. I think I can. The bus rounds a bend and for a single dizzying second there is nothing between me and the plunging ravine except a pane of dirty, cracked glass and the reflection of the pilgrims’ faces looking through me like ghosts.
Their faces are also my face, impassive as the mountains and the jungle trees and the rocks and the sand on the tracks that wind back and forth as the path snakes higher–wraps tighter–like Vasuki around Shiva’s neck.
And I am certain now that faith alone is what is holding this bus together. It sounds crazy, I know, to whoever is reading this: sitting wherever you are on some lazy, comfortable day, in some stolen, fleeting moment, eyes glancing across these words.
But here, on this bus, joints straining and rattling as it sways and bounces above great gulf of plunging, deadly rocks; here amongst the overwhelming smell of bodies and dirt and petrol, I can believe it.
I have to believe it.