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CST Station at 7:45 PM on Sunday 21 December, 2008

winter clouds
this silent scream
in my eyes

The loo stinks, the tap runs and can't be closed. The risk of dying of a urinary tract infection or asphyxiation is still the same. The sole policeman visible, young and unarmed, is ostensibly guarding the ladies' first class. The rather bright lights are a change though, but they seem to make the place seem a wee bit less crowded. Seem. There are people sitting on the platform, waiting for their trains. Many in their Sunday best. Popcorn-sellers, peanut-sellers, kulfi-sellers are trying to get me to shed some money towards them, even as I wait for the samosa-seller.

yellow leaves
the old woman sweeps up
yesterday

It's getting on eight (time for the Titwala Fast to leave), and last-minute boarders are jumping in. The popcorn-seller is taking his last chances before he moves to the 8:13 Khopoli Slow. I don't know how many of the guys around me are pass-holders or even bothered to buy tickets. I do know the police didn't frisk them. Because they didn't frisk me. The Sunday tradition of husbands and wives travelling together in the general second class is quite alive – which means I will have to stand (or sit) a bit more uncomfortably to keep out of the way of somebody's missus. Her vocal objections being well-buttressed by her husband's manual ones.

summer lull
waiting for jamuns
to ripen

The train has pulled out, so no samosas now. Anyway, I'm soon going to forget things, trying to fight off a fourth sitter, or looking out of the window to know when my station's going to come. There have been just two changes. One, a perfectly unjustified sense of dread as soon as I entered. (That disappeared after the train pulled out). The other was more permanent. There was a hole in a pillar, the sole memory that something unusual happened here.

cloudless sunrise—
red silk-cotton blooms
on barren branch

(Published in GloMag April 2016)

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