The Lost Salary

Anand was a happy man today. He had counted his salary twice as it gave him a nice feeling as his fingers touched the crispy notes. After all it, it would not remain with him for long. He checked the wad of notes in his pocket when he climbed on the bus, once more while he was seated and when he left the bus at his door step. Thank God, it was still there, but he knew, all these would disappear soon. He wondered if inflation was the main thief in the country.

“Good evening Anand, you look a happy man today, am sure it is the salary, ” remarked the grocer Dayal, to whom Anand owed a month of grocery bills. “How much do I owe you, Dayalji? asked Anand bringing out the wad of notes. Painfully he parted with almost 20 percent of his salary. As he approached the gate of his housing society, he saw Ramu, the milkman with big milky teeth, waiting with glee on his arrival. As they parted, another 1500 had vanished from the crispy notes. The measure of happiness had already started vanishing along with the size of the wad of notes.

The society office boy came next day morning well in time to catch him before he left for the office to collect the monthly charges. Anand’s wife asked him to keep a 1000 for the cooking gas cylinder that might arrive any day. Just as he wanted to contain any more spends, he bumped into the newspaper boy who collected another 750 for his 2 newspapers that satisfied his morning ablutions.

With the electricity bill giving him a shock, as he paid it at the electricity office, Anand wondered how many more debits awaited him, now that a paltry sum remained from the salary he received, a few days back. On the train, the ticket checker asked for his ticket or pass, which he promptly showed. The checker handed it back with a smile. Only when he was putting it back, trying to make meaning out of the smile, he noticed, that the pass was expiring the next day. That means another set of notes would vanish tomorrow.

The second day evening, coming back from office,  he saw boys at his apartment complex trying to get a tangled kite from the network of television cables. Anand called the cable boys lest these kids might wreck havoc on the cables. They arrived in minutes but only left after collecting their monthly due payment.

Anand was now left counting as to what remained and if he had enough money to survive the rest of the month after provisioning for miscellaneous expenses like bus fare, school fees, vegetables and fish at the market where they would not give him credit. Despite the lost salary, he firmly decided with the next salary he would buy a small camera, a thought he had been cherishing for so long…

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Voice of a City

sounds-of-my-city
Credits: SoundCloud 


Tinker of the milk man whose tampering

has broken daily, fresh water records.

The chime of the fruit seller cart where

the fruits were painted in the morning.

The gas cylinders unloaded nearby when

you had ordered one, a fortnight ago.

The newspaper thrown at your door by

the boy who vanishes into thin air daily.

The school bus honking, when the lunch

of kids is still made by the half-maid.

The laundry man dropping your clothes

wearing them before he returns to you.

The fish monger who pedals his bicycle

with lot of fresh ice in his long dead fish.

The lime pickle vendor with his  jarring

having a mix of all except those lemons.

The mat seller who dusts his rugs for you

claiming the dust was picked in Kashmir.

The fire engine arriving at the front door

to contain raging fires at the back door.

The crows cawing out for their daily food

Voice of a city, a craving now, left in life. 

Poem in Vain

 

All the while me and my wife Jane

Had dream’t of flying to far off Spain
tickets we did not obtain in any plane

She asked how the dream would sustain
I told her we could always get a train
that passed through the terrain of Spain

We had barely got into a  crowded train
when it started to mighty heavily rain
having the crowd seeming so insane
only one person Jane,  she looked sane.

When I started looking at her again
she seemed to be in some sort of pain
efforts to reach to her were all in vain
when, of a sudden, our train hit a crane
that somehow got stuck in wet terrain.

We seemed to lose contents of our brain
comforting, as in, no gain without pain,
could you tell, amid tears, are we in Spain?
the strain was much, though, to ascertain
we looked like people hit with dirt cocaine
though in our plan was, old Champagne…

P.S
This poem came to me with the recent rains in Bahrain.

 

The Lovely Clown

etsy
Pic Courtesy: Etsy.com

A famous actor once came to party in town
a crowd went to him that included a clown
who appeared quite shabby in a long gown
which was torn and colored dusty brown
shaking hands, the actor was seen to frown
at a sad painted face decked with a crown
all of a sudden who pushed the actor down
who fell  into the deep pool about to drown
hands that pulled him up were of the clown

Sounds of a City

The tinkering of the milk man whose tampering

with your milk has broken all fresh water records.

The artistic chime of the cart  of vegetables

that the vendor has painted in the morning.

The gas cylinders getting unloaded nearby

when you had ordered one, a fortnight ago.

The newspaper thrown at your door by the

boy who vanishes into thin air everyday.

The school bus horn, when your kid’s

lunch box is still made by the half-maid.

The laundry man who comes for your clothes

and wears them before returning it to you.

The fish monger who pedals his bicycle

with lots of fresh ice in his long dead fish.

The mango pickle vendor carrying jars

having a mix of everything except mangoes.

The mat seller who drapes himself in the rugs

that he claims are hand-picked from Kashmir.

The fire engine that arrives at your back door

to contain the fire that is raging in the front door.

The ambulance that comes with a blaring horn

just as you slip into a coma with a glaring wound…

Travelling in Trains – Mumbai Edition.

Commuters in an open train door at Churchgate ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Making a journey in a Mumbai Local train is an experience in itself. If you have been to this city and haven’t boarded a electric train on any of the three  or four routes that ply through the metropolis, it means you have missed half the fun or half the nightmare, depending on the experience….

The daily commuter first walks, then jogs and finally does the steeple chase run to complete the last lap towards the station. The steeple chase is chosen only when he sees the train pulling into the station. During such occasions, everyone like others, just run across the tracks, then on to the station platform. Maybe the local commuter can qualify himself for long jumps and high jumps. The long jumps do come in handy especially during the rainy season.

The Boarding Phenomena

It is all about people management and the looks that you exhibit while boarding which does the trick. Every one has to be aware of the fact that nobody on board likes to welcome yet another addition to the already woe full compartment with all its characters. One has to look humble but strong enough to show others that he is fit enough to survive the journey.

The Travel

Some prefer foot board travel rather than standing inside the rush, as the wind keeps you fresh if not your groomed hair. But then travelling on the foot board has its pros and cons

Pros

Don’t have to use the deodorant in excess
Don’t have to ruffle your hair every minute, if that is your style.
Don’t have to pick up fights with fellow commuters
Less chances that your pockets will be picked.
Helps your biceps and shoulders if you are hanging on the footboard.
Less chance of the shine on your shoes being messed by someone stamping on them.
Do not get infected by freely floating bacteria and viruses inside.
Do not have to worry about bench bugs ( appropriately bed bugs)
Do not have to worry about escape, if a fire or a fight starts…whichever is earlier.

Cons

Corns on your hands by holding tightly on the handle or the door frame.
You might reach a destination that you never intended to.
You have to get down at every station and make way for others
Chances are that you may not get a chance to board again.
A fellow passenger dragging you with him, once he slips.
Getting rid of loose papers from your shirt pocket.
Cannot use the comb, or you will reach your tomb.

The Landing Experience

Getting down from a train is not a big task as compared to the boarding one. But still people have to be wary about how they are positioned while getting down. If you are too near the door, chances are that you will be pushed out before you have time to complain or explain. If you think you can handle the situation being at the end of the lot trying to get down, that is a big mistake. You will, to your surprise discover a crowd of people barging their way in and you might have to abort your landing. Trains like planes, especially the local trains do not wait for their passengers to alight or board. They have their own fixed seconds in which everything happens.

“Time and Train do not wait for anyone”.

Let us look at the passengers who alight. 25 percent wade their way across the railway footbridges to the west. 15 percent drift to the east end of the station. Another 20 percent start running for their lives to catch trains on other platforms. 10 percent just stand and stare not knowing what to do next. 5 percent just loiter around the newspaper stalls or canteen stalls. 5 percent jump back into the train – the same footboard travellers. Rest of the break up is as shown below

People who were forced to get down and could not get back
People who had to alight here because they could not get down at the last station.
People aborting their journey because they lost their purses midway, lost the wristwatch, lost the will to go to work, or because they got a call on their cell phone from their dear ones to come back.
People who decide as to how to escape ticket checkers.
People who got on the down train by mistake when they wanted to take the up train.
People who were travelling the whole day because boarding a train was cheaper than boarding a hotel.

I hope you are prepared in case you are contemplating a ride in these trains during rush hour…