A friend and I were at the mall. He got into an altercation with an auto-fellow last evening. It got pretty serious. He went home. I walked around a little bit longer. It rained with the flamboyance of a peacock dance. Some spots on the drenched roads shone with moonlight – pure, cool, and distilled. I rummaged through my purse to see if I could gather enough cash for a coffee at CCD. I couldn’t. So I got a cup of tea. Shared the ledge of the roadside stall with another auto-fellow, who was wolfing down a boiled egg and a slice of bread. I thought of how I’d spent Saturday.
Had taken two trains to reach Charni road. Smiled a lot at bohemian women in the train. Stood by the door for my little joyous glimpse of the sea and Marine Drive when the train whizzes between Grant Road and Charni Road. Shared a packet of Hippo with a friend, sipping hot tea in her wee, little office in a crumbling building. Outside, rain poured from a sky that waltzed between grey, blue and purple. The little cul-de-sacs and grey pigeon-hole type buildings looked washed and fresh. You could put them up on mantles in some glass museum of faded dreams. Walked along Haji Ali. Saw sharp, tall, slices of buildings piercing into the sky. Bright salutes to a city’s quirky disorder – its relentless capacity to peel away a faded dream and birth a million ones.
Sunday late night:
Sipped my way to a sparkling little reverie.
Later that night, spoke with the friend again. He sounded a little sad at the way things had gone. We become a particular way, when day in and day out, we live a boot-camp experience. I told him he shouldn’t be too hard on himself. I know what being angry for extended portions of time can do to you. You start emitting a hostility that can positively sear through any civil behavior. We were silent for a bit after that. I don’t know what he was thinking. Me? I remembered Saturday. I remembered my life that has been filled with such Saturdays. I thought of my future that’ll have many such Saturdays. A few moments later, he sighed and said, “It’s still a good city, you know.”
This exasperation…and then, immediately, the solace. I wonder what it is about this place that erases the agitation so quickly, so often and so much. Sometimes I want to shut myself down and transport myself somewhere far away. Yet, I hear the song ‘Pee loon’ from ‘Once upon a time in Mumbai’ and my heart lurches. It could very well be an ode to the city. To that part of the city that is lodged somewhere, like a sharpnel, in some vein that only exists to transmit longing. Like this line from the song goes: ‘Jis tarah ki koi hum nadi, tu mere seenay mein chupti hai, sagar tumhara main hoon.’
It's odd - how this city can belittle me so many times, and make me feel big a second after that. What can you do with such a fickle, generous storm of a place?
Maybe sing for it at night, when the lights are off and the rain comes down:
‘Tere sang ishq taari hai,
tere sang ek khumaari hai,
tere sang chaiin bhi mujhko,
tere sang bekaraari hai….’