Once a Bambaiya, always a Bambaiya…capturing its spirit in the form of free form poetry that reflects incidents, stories, and visuals that are unique to the city, yet very universal in appeal! Every poem in Bambaiya speakes of its various hues , its culture, its people and brings out the fact that everybody’s Bombay is different, yet same.
I managed to grab a window seat,
that too in peak hours!
When each day
the trains carry about seven million
of the twenty one odd
living in Mumbai.
As I looked up,
proud of my unusual feat
of managing a privileged seat,
the lady sitting opposite
handing out an unsolicited safety pin.
I found it absurd, but I took it.
“Thank you,” said I,
“But why the safety pin?”
She raised her eye brows and looked towards
the broken chemise button
and a peeping cleavage.
“Oh! Thanks very much!”
was all I could say.
Why did she hand me a safety pin,
when her own sari pallu
dragged on the floor?
I looked out of the window,
and saw what I saw every day.
The whiff of a station
enough to guess its name.
But my mind still wandered
back to the safety pin
and to the lady;
the moving train, the moving gesture,
my speechless tongue, my still mind.
Sometimes you have no answer,
and questions make no sense!
A country within a country,
these local trains,
where people come from many a place, but one race.
Humanity exists on the broken wooden benches,
bursting at its seams,
hanging from the doors,
hanging along windows and compartment roofs,
sitting, standing, all around you!
These local trains,
make you wonder
when you are handed samosas and cakes
on someone’s birthday,
whose name you shan’t know ever!
Beverage bottles neatly arranged along the window sill;
someone handing out paper plates,
someone holding your plate as you try standing
on a toe.
These local trains,
where you think before you breathe
and people have golden hearts,
when some may not have a hearth
to go back to.
Traveling from one station to another,
a life with only destinations.
but necessary evils
that take you onboard
these train compartments,
where lifelong relationships begin
with just a safety pin.