She wanders the back lane, seeking to escape the abomination

Blog Book Living

Night. An endless orgy of multi-coloured neon lights, bright, flashing, erupting. Even at this ungodly hour the lights flow in a never-ending stream, across the tall buildings and down to the spiralling streets. The humidity is high tonight, despite living on the streets for years, she was never able to adjust – horrible heat, suffocating.

She moves cautiously through the main road, into the labyrinth. The back lanes provide an escape from the foul stench of the speeding vehicles. Though dirty, littered with broken furniture, uncollected trash and discarded bottles, she finds the back lanes to be safe. Safe from the abomination of night.

She was fortunate to have a meal today, during the lunch crowd, someone had given her enough coins. Begging on the streets during the peak-time had its advantages. She smiled thinking of it. The man had walked passed her, ignoring her out-stretched palms, but as if suddenly realising her, he walked back with a grim look. He dropped the loose change from his pocket into her cupped hands. She offered him a nervous smile of gratitude and he merely grunted in return. He was the kindness person she had met in a week. She bowed her head low, placing her palms together, touching them on her forehead. He disappeared into the sea of bodies, never to return. She sighed but continued to smile.

With the coins, she bought a bowl of noodles mixed with steaming fish broth. She remembered attacking the meal, chopsticks working furiously, pausing only to wipe the trickling soup from her chin. What a feast! Her stomach won’t be bothering her for a while at least till the night.

Snapping from her remembrance, she focuses on the present. The night. The back lanes. It was midnight but it was too early for her to sleep. She peeks at a corner, and a sudden burst of happiness erupts from her mouth. Her two friends are sitting at a pavement waving back at her. The backyard of a restaurant provides a single bulb, banishing away the darkness, basking them with light. She is happy to see her friends. She is happy that tonight she will not be alone.


An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me: