Addicted to Win - Visitor's Poem
by Krupa Balani
Somehow – today, on this Christmas Eve, I miss my bus-stand.
You should hear how I lived in Mumbai during and after my hostel life
I thought those were the saddest parts of my life
But, funnily - today I am craving for those moments!
In this emptiness of silence, I reminisce those moments.
Sometimes - it’s worth looking back over the shoulder.
You are the only one I would share with
So rest assured it will come to you only - if not in full, then in bits and pieces
Just as I use to wander in those lanes meaninglessly to smell and search for bits and pieces of my childhood!
Those chilling winds.....
Just me and my ciggie!
Commitments are scary- yeah, when you are not able to sit on them comfortably.
Continuously for three years I passed my new year's eve sitting on the round metal bar of that bus-stand
Smoking a whole pack of ciggie...
Free of charge....
I watched the buses coming and going.
Passengers with different motives, different reasons, different destinations
Boarding and deboarding
the only constant factor being the eyes of bus driver and conductor - flat and uninterested!
You know - there is a peculiar way of sitting on those bus-stand bars –
Legs stretched on the cement wall facing the road and butt on the round bar –
Which makes one shift every fifteen minutes?
I wonder if those times can be termed heaven......
I really want to go back there and sit till the night gives birth to a new sun.
That loneliness was harmony!
I also miss my escapades.
When I wandered the city in local buses or trains - all on my own.
With no direction!
With no purpose!
My face inadvertently turned towards a house to catch a glimpse of one familiar face
– In vain
silently I would walk away – alone – through the length of my suburb
– A stretch of four kilometres.
Then turn and walk around the same stretch and the same lanes - doing nothing!
Just think walking - is this is called life?
Meaningless and futile?
For a change, sometimes I would take the main highway footpath to feel the difference.
Hoping to come across some familiar faces in the crowd – in vain.
I also remember my friend’s mother - slim, tall and bony - a typical Jain lady- with a shinning nose-pin on her long face.
All non-important, but, integral memories.
One was my cafe - my joint - my favourite haunt!
When not thinkwalking - I parked myself there.
Smoking and drinking cutting chais - without paying
As if was a nice friend - a legacy of friendship from my dad and his.
It was a typical ‘Irani Hotel’- marble tables and wooden carved chairs
I entered the cafe with a hearty and familiar greeting of asalam waleykum
Taking a ciggie from his counter – I settled in my usual chair at the end of the hotel corner
As if and I chatted about nothing - and yet, we talked
I learned urdu: arehmat - ul – allah! insha-allah! Shabbakheir!
Now you know my secret!
An inclination towards ‘Kuran’ comes from this friend.
After one or two ciggies, I would again go for my thinkwalk – in feeble hope that I may meet some familiar face
But not one.
Once a week I would always made it a point to round up at Fashion Street.
No money in my pocket -
I just scrutinized what was "in"
Other cherished memory is when I used to go with uncle to his shop, ostensibly to help him
There I would have a tea break around 5.30pm and walk down the lane to ‘Hotel Popular’
Royally I would enter the restricted area of BAR - all dimly lit and air-conditioned.
I would order a tea and bread butter after a ciggie, to make my breathe tobacco free
I watched TV for a good twenty minutes, paid my bill, ate a Halls
and waited for the day to fade in darkness.
On my way back home - sitting in the front seat, I watched people, so called winners - driving their own vehicles, and would dream....
One day... Yes- one day I will own this dream – I shall be the one addicted to win!
How and when? I had no answer then.
I just wanted to be good and great!
After home and dinner, I waited for the clock to hit 10pm.
My wanderlust would make me move out for the same old routine of thinkwalking.
Sleep came with the same thoughts - what's next?
Today I have grown.
Have I grown?