It is Monday morning in Mumbai.
Trrring…the alarm sounds
Time to get up and run
Smiled to myself while brushing my teeth
My 32 smooth creamy white pearls gleaming through the white froth
While the jingle of some toothpaste ad played the background score
To the bathroom drama
I’m racing…flying the kilometres to the station
While the minutes hand on my clock laboriously traces the millimetres to the finishing post
Surprise! The train’s on time…and I am too
Get set, hand on bagstrap, go!
Bruised my elbow, stepped on an unshielded toe.
Wedged in between a trendy teenager and an elderly matron I thought,
“The winner takes it all..”
I could have been in the corner seat, half off..or worse, still standing.
The matron’s dozing off, her shoulder sagging against mine.
Temporarily relieving her burden onto me, while she’s dreaming of a perfect world
Of first-class train compartments and an extra gold chain
The train speeds along the bridge …over murky creeks.
The decaying filth of a city that’s dying in its sleeplessness….assails my nostrils.
Faraway, over dusty buildings and gleaming windows
and dilapidated chawls and screaming hoardings
the sun is rising…the same sun that must have lit the skies
Of splendid Rome and fashionable Paris
and ancient Greece and exotic Suncity and rich-rich California.
Suburb to suburb and so onto town
Dirty town, busy town – dream town. ..of high rises and high prices,
Shopping malls and pavement stalls on the same side of the tracks..
Faces around me, a picture of reality
A shining car slows, for a street kid
for the two-rupee paper, he holds in hand
His value increased a hundred-fold that very minute
He’s thinking .. this monstrous machine stopped in its tracks before him
All for that magical wand he’s waving
He grins and parts with his source of power.
He’s paying with it so he can hear the music
of coins chinking in his palm.
Isn’t it the sweetest sound in the world?
My destination looms in sight, up ahead (or back behind..does it matter?)
I dive into the waves of humanity ..or perhaps the lack of it.
Just another compromise
Just another fancy thought
Just another hopeless dream
Just another wasted talent
Just another poet, lost in the big city
Just another working day, after all.