Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Metro OR The Train


I am the city.
The train is its blood, running through the veins of the metropolis.
The train is my blood.
I feel my veins swell as the train surges past me; the numerous, hollow sockets on its steel, tubular body stare at me.
The train stops, but the doors don’t open.
It isn’t my train anyways.

It leaves a deep emptiness as it heads on towards another destination, like a deadly air pocket in my pulmonary artery.

I peer down at the rail tracks — it’s a deep dark abyss.
Vertigo — I feel my guts pushing up my throat.
I clutch the steel rails to prevent myself from being sucked into the abyss.
Another train arrives just in time to fill up the void.
I feel my heart beat again.

The doors slide open, an orange light blinks at the roof of the entrance like an enlightened third eye.
The voice of a woman asks me to stay away from the doors and to “Please mind the gap”.
The voice of a man translates the same into Hindi.

The doors close.

I am pushed towards the doors on the other side. It’s safe — these doors won’t open. Atleast up until the station which is my destination.

Skin touches skin.
Sweat mixes with sweat.
Breath mixes with breath.

The crowds are less today — I can breathe!

A stench fills my nostrils.
It is the stench of the city.
It’s a mixture of unbathed bodies, expensive perfume, cowdung and pheromones.
Nobody knows where exactly it comes from, because it comes from everywhere.
It is the stench of the city.
The stench of me.
For I am the city.

A man with a white bush on his face, and a faded, disgusting kurta stands beside me.
He is talking, almost shouting.
I realise that he is talking to the steel pillar he is holding.

I try not to listen, but I do.
He screams about the President of the country and the Chief Minister of Bengal.
“They eat fish,” he says.
“They eat fish after removing the bones.
Dirty, dirty people.”

I try not to look into his eyes.
What if he comes to know about my Bengali lineage.
Fish isn’t so bad, I think, but I like chicken better.
He curses Bengalis again.
He hates Bengalis.
But I am a child of the world.

There is frustration in his voice — the kind of frustration which is birthed by the anger of being crushed by politics

It isn’t long before he joins them.
Madness is an asset in politics.
Actually, if you come to think of it, it’s a prerequisite.

Will you be the next President of India?

I walk away.

A woman asks a boy to get up from the seat reserved for ladies.
“Do you know who my father is?” He screams.

I hear the sound of a thundering slap.
The boy quietly gets up and stands in a corner, his face buried in his mobile.

I see a man holding a placard.

“Death to the rapists,” it says.

I smile.
Sometimes the city which gangrapes and murders and let’s people lie on the cold street, blood bathed, also transforms into a spring of hope.
It is like a god which is essentially a monster, but which also becomes a mother when it needs to.
All you need is a slap to change this city.

A tight, powerful, bloody, disgusting slap that makes its heart beat again.

My destination arrives.

The orange, enlightened light blinks again.

The doors open.

People swarm out.

People swarm in.

The doors close.

I don’t get down.
The journey is yet incomplete.

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