Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Friday Night

Outside my window, it is a Friday night. It’s a deep blue night, with little lit squares in the skyline. From up here, the road is an electric snake, a carnival of cars moving along the stretch in unison. I can see little people walking on the pavement, some hand in hand, some distanced, some in a great rush to get somewhere. It is a Friday night, and Friday nights are never dull.

For the strangest of reasons, I find myself suddenly feeling very small. Not just in person, but in dimensions of space as well. Kind of like I’m collapsing into myself. The familiar feeling of nonsensical sadness sweeps over me and I walk over to the balcony aimlessly. I know I’m searching for something, but I can’t tell what it is. I take a deep breath, take the city into my lungs. It smells of exhaust fumes and fine cement, dust and fatigue.

Two years ago, this is how I built my familiarity with Mumbai. In her smell.
She smells like a fake bride, I remember thinking, though I still don’t know what that really means. I got off the plane, collected my baggage and walked out into the city, excited, nervous, upset.

A friend had arranged a home for me in Mumbai. I was told it was impossible for a single woman to land a good place, unless it was in one of the flashier suburbs. Nonetheless, he found me a nice place that fit my budget. It overlooked a hill and was in a pleasant neighbourhood. There was an ATM five minutes away, and a share-rickshaw stand just outside the building. You could only share a rickshaw with others if you were riding to the Central Station. It cost only Rs.4 per passenger. That’s a mere Rs.120 a month. From there, I’d take the train to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, an hour away. That would cost Rs.520 a month. So together, that’s Rs.640 to get to office. Plus Rs.900 a month to get back to the station and take the train home.

I have no idea why I’m thinking of this right now.

I look down my balcony again. The vegetable vendor I buy my groceries from is still there, outside the gates. The cigarette guy I frequent is also around, looking down at the street. I wonder if he and I are seeing the same thing.
Of course we are, I think. Nothing has changed from the last time I looked around consciously. Cars are still flowing like a lit waterfall down the road, the skyline is still ablaze with yellow white lights. People are still rushing to get someplace in a hurry.

I jump.


Tinker Belle said...


K-Man said...

Mature. Amazingly well crafted. Uddha saashtanga namaskaara.

Nazu Tonse said...

Eek. You jump???? That's awful!! Jumping up and down on the balcony in childish glee would be more mature than jumping OFF. I got to say I hate this wussy ending, but I really loved the writing that came before it, except the descriptions of the line of cars, too many different metaphors jangling together, didn't work for me (electric snake / carnival / lit waterfall), felt they were unnecessary and no connection between them. For instance, if you'd said, say, a Chinese dragon(those long snaky puppety things that have people inside and a big ugly mask up front) and a carnival - they go together. The ones you used are nice individually but they don't seem to have any connection, it's like you used them just because they were there.

Rae said...

@all: thanking. :P

Anonymous said...

From the days of steaming wit and smokey sarcasm, your posts seem to have simmered down . Now they're more intense.Strong.And slightly random.Seems to suggest inner sadness or longing.And loneliness.

Good post. God Bless.

A! (the neo) said...

Coming from a place of lesser light. I've known it of late.

A fake bride... a true whore... The better choice?
Doesn't matter. Just that the choice is to be made.

Yeesh! Too much heavy!!!

This is BOMBAY, BABY!!!!
Keep up, or keep out!!!!

P.s. Well written post. You should write more often. Nice to read.

Rae said...

@anon: the next one's for you.

@A!: Will take your advice... AND KEEP OUT. And will write more. :P

vichchoobhai said...

Hmmm deja vu for me. I used to stay in a lodge each room having four beds and getting one bucket of hot water for bath in a 3 ft x 3 ft closet. Monthly charge Rs 1500 with breakfast (burnt toast with tea)
Ye hai bombay meri jaan

Way to go sister ! Wish you well