It is a moist cool rainy September night in Mumbai, the maximum city. Mumbai, for me, a kind lady, an inspiration of strength holding beneath her arms, many exciting stories of rags and riches. Every move, every nerve of her, every minute witnesses some or other kind of excitement, some kind of inspiration, some kind of lessons learnt.
It has it's own charm – from hustle bustle of the suburban ‘local’ stations to calm sea shores, which takes away all your tiredness in its deepness. From noisy busy mornings to silent tired nights. It has it all.
I’m in the room of my guest house, sipping a hot cup of Green tea, which has a punch of ginger in it. An usual composed hoping sound by field cricket is playing at the back of my ears. My room is all on boxes – formals, jeans, tees all scattered around, and thankfully, not on my bed!
Suddenly, it starts raining. Rains are different here in Mumbai, or maybe they are just similar to any other rain. But then, what makes them look different? May be the feeling of relaxation it gives you after or midst a busy day. The sudden downpour and the moist air suddenly relaxes you and touches your soul, bringing to you the aroma of wet soil - the best perfume on the planet.
Rains fall unrelenting, sounding like a lullaby, putting on mute all the hulla bo noises around me, bringing you close the voice of your soul. Not really sure about how, where and what my Sunday will bring for me – kind of little excited, nervous, happy, scarred. Believing in my honest work and dedication, and awaiting some magic for next Sunday, I wear my slippers and walk out of the building.
Magical sound of the raindrops slowly touching the dark black wet road plays at my back. One hand, I have my umbrella, and on the other, my phone
I start walking towards the station for some station wali - chai and packed biscuits. This walk is not the usual walk I have every morning. My walks are sluggish towards the station rather than being measurable for me with every minute having its own meaning to me. 5 minutes late to the projected time – 9:29 Churchgate Slow, 10 minutes late – 9:42 Andheri Fast, so that I can catch the same 9:29 slow from Andheri station.
The scene is also different on the road-sides at this time of the day. Roadsides are sleepy, they are dark. Yea alright your nostrils do hit some wet rotten stinky smell, mix of vegetables, polybags and all day long trash.
I finally reach the station. The view is calm. Few autowallahs sleeping, few having a chat. I finally reach Platform no.1.
“Ek chai dena” – waiting for my cup of chai, I realize, that station is the place, though it may yawn, but will never sleep. You have people here waiting for the first train that leaves and arrives in the morning. You’ve a gang of college guys and girls, laughing and chatting all out.
I turn towards the stall vendor.
“Kahan se ho?” (where are you from?) – I ask yawningly .
“Sahab Johnpur”. Aur app? – He asks in a friendly tone.
Living and growing up in so many cities, I always find this a tough question to answer.
“Whole night, you’re awake no sleep?” – I continue to talk to him, when he serves me my cup of tea, with some chocolate chip cookies.
“No sir! We officially have to be awake. Railway stalls cannot be shut in the night.” He continues – “I sit here whole night, and then sleep for 4 hours. Then I go to work to guard one of the ATMS close by from noon to night. “
“That’s tough! Don’t you think of going back to Johnpur?”
“No sir! I don’t get the time to think about it, and anyways going back there will be a bigger struggle. There are local groups, who would not let us hamper their business, if we wish to start one” – he answers
“Chai kum pani jyada hai” – I complain.
“Sir, should I make another?”
“No! that's fine.”