Wednesday, January 2

The days are just packed

For 3 days in quick succession, I've greeted the dawn... or 4:00 am, whichever comes first. It's almost like my internal clock has decided to gently remind me that it'll soon be time to head back to drudgery, the sepia-stained existance that passes for life in that glorious hotspot of activity, Birmingham, AL.

Lying sprawled out on the diwan on a Pune winter afternoon, occasionally reading from the book in my hands, pausing to take sips of hot ginger-laced chai, just watching the breeze work its way through the eucalyptus tree outside the windows...

The sky is an incredible shade of blue as I make my way through the steady stream of people on the road. The buzz of voices, sudden shared guffaws, sharp swearing, the plaintive cries of vendors selling vegetables on the weatherbeaten wooden handcarts, the mesmerizing perfume of dosas, kacchi-dabeli, wada pav, samosas, chai...

Smoky kerosene lanterns mark the late evening stalls selling Indian Chinese food, tiny cigarette shops that seem to attract only raggedy little children buying sweets, snatches of songs see impromptu dances break out briefly on the pavement, tired shoulders make their way...wherever

The paan stall is doing brisk business, the light reflecting off the shining metal paraphernalia and I slowly take in that heady symphony of smells - paan, jasmine, sandalwood. A game of carrom is taking place on the roadside, in the illumination provided by a solitary bulb, 4 heads pondering every possible move left and a handful of spectators admiring the skillful hissing dance of that that white disc across the powdered face of the board.

Senapati Bapat road, F.C road, Camp, North Main road - each seems to be a fast moving river of lights heading in every direction. J.M road is a seething mass of people sitting at the outdoor tables in every restaurant, talking, glancing at strikingly pretty girls that pass, or if luckier, are sitting across their own table.

Huddled forms in torn blankets are slumbering away at any nook offering a rest, the street dogs roam looking for scraps of food, the last shutters are being downed, stars in the inky black sky shining impassively.

Another dawn is awaited...


Song for the moment: Everything's not lost - Coldplay

2 comments:

bhumika said...

Beautifully written girish...

btw, belated happy b'day and a very happy new year :)

Ashish said...

"Lying sprawled out on the diwan on a Pune winter afternoon, occasionally reading from the book in my hands, pausing to take sips of hot ginger-laced chai, just watching the breeze work its way through the eucalyptus tree outside the windows..."

I don't know how long it took you to frame that one - but no matter how often I read it, it remains hauntingly evocative. Bravo!