Wednesday, June 14

Achin' all the time

To live in a city is to exist on a purely man-made plane.
Sure, you can go ahead and say you're still in touch with Mama Nature by visiting the neighbourhood park.
But even you know that's a lie.
Let's face it... as far as the average city-dweller is concerned, "going back to my roots" really means adding more potato, ginger, carrot and maybe a turnip or two to your diet.

To live in a city is to hear it constantly.
Especially in a city like Mumbai, where a lonely wolf-like howl at night is only the local kulfi seller, yodelling his wares like his life depends on it.
Maybe it does too.

Mumbai is an orchestra of human sounds.
Being deftly conducted by an invisible Cacophonix.
Trains. Planes. Cars. Autos.
Hawkers. Pedlars. Hopers. Desperadoes.
People.
And Gujaratis.

The night has no pity to dispense.
In the quietest lanes live the noisiest dishwashers, the sound of clashing steel suggesting a battle is being fought with pots, pans and plates.
Or against them.

You hear children crying.
And do nothing.
You hear adults cussing and arguing.
And wonder if your own domestic disagreements can be heard just as clearly.

Pity the sounds of Love are on mute.

Sometime and somewhere, between the honking, blaring, shouting and murmuring, you go under.
Try to submerge yourself in your inner sea.
Only to discover, it is nothing more than a bathtub.
That is steadily letting your equanimity drain away.
Imagine that sucking sound.

The only revenge or respite you receive is when it rains.
Not the drizzle.
The all-silencing, roaring torrent of a Mumbai Monsoon.
When the sea becomes sky.
Which is as much a promise as it is a threat.

When you live a rat's life, there's always a chance you'll drown like one.

Song for the moment: Please - Ray Lamontagne

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