So like usual I have spotted all the chaiwallas around the locality and the food haunts et all. I am a part of random conversations that fly in the air especially at the small hotel nearby where they offer a full meal for negligible charges. It says 'Rice Plate' written in a hand painted font and the place is flooded with workers around lunch time. Just yesterday I was having some chai and heard a man speak in Bengali. I instantly asked him, “Are you a Bengali from Kolkata?” he had a broad smile to his face. “Yes” he boasted. “I love Kolkata; the pujo, the chai there”, I said to him. “You should visit my village there; it’s very close to Howrah!” I nodded in affirmative, smiling and wondering at the same time, when I would see Kolkata again. The conversation was this short or long, whatever you prefer and we both got back to our chores.
The same evening I met my watchman who is from the heart of Bihar. As he moved his hand over his stomach he exclaimed, “Have you noticed the development in Bihar when you went there? You can see your face at night in the lights on the highway.” Over the next one odd hour we both chatted, rather he spoke breathless and I nodded wherever I thought it was needed, not that it gave any kind of change in tone to what he was saying.
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The sketch below is of Bahadur, my caretaker and owner of the dog Tingu who runs around our studio compound in south Bombay. Bahadur is a Nepali brought up in Assam and does not remember his exact age but he always smiles and works more than the work done by half of Bombay put together.
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I have been discovering little conversations, lives and expressions in my new hometown. I like the way I find the rest of India tucked inside Bombay’s most unlikely places. How people carry their hometown along with them and their dreams when they move to Bombay, just like me.
Just the other day when I was walking by Mohammed Ali Road in south Bombay I stumbled upon a shop that makes a variety of kites. There were some old men sitting inside the shop and they said that that was what they did for a living, make kites. I have never seen people frequenting the shop but each one them had a happy face. They love making kites and that what they do, to put it simply. I picked up the smallest one and tucked it in my little black book. Came back home and it was dark already. I wondered what I could do with the kite. The Bombay skies are too crowded for this little one I thought to myself.
And then this is what I wrote:
I came across a coy kite
Which asked me
Where can I fly?
I said to the coy kite
Follow me to the Bombay sky
But where will we find the sky
Enough for you and me to fly?
The kite said being shy
The Bombay skies are not to fly
They are crowded by the dreamers so coy
Why don’t you dream my boy?
And someday you shall find your sky
Have a fulfilling week ahead, for my blog-peers from India let's hope for a soon monsoon.