Mumbai rains can be sometimes exasperating. The water meets the filth and garbage and you can see everything floating around.
I was watching this through the BEST bus which happens to be the govt transport buses that ply across Mumbai. It was a long day and rains did make it a disaster. I would have sat in that stupid office of mine and used the internet rather than sticking to wet people here in this bus. While such thoughts ran errands in my mind, I could see the number of people going on the two-wheeler’s, soaked. That’s life in Mumbai for you.
I was delayed than usual. I reached the bus-stop and now I had to take an auto-rickshaw. On a normal day I would walk and my house is only ten minutes away, but not in the rain. Especially not without an umbrella. Finding an auto-rickshaw was never hard and also they have this term called sharing, which means you share the ride with other passengers. On the other hand, you only pay quarter the price than the normal fare. You are actually sharing the ride and the price.
On one such ride I jumped in and waited for someone to come and throw themselves beside me. There was no chance that the rickshaw would empty. There was no shortage of people around. My eyes wandered outside. It was only slight drizzle now as opposed to the heavy rains earlier.
I might need to wash the clothes today or it will start to stink. I hope that all the electricity lines are fine and there is still electricity at home. Woah… water is ankle deep, hope I don’t have to swim to the office tomorrow…
By then somebody sat beside me. I sensed it but didn’t bother to twist my head. Couple of minutes later, the auto started moving and with sudden jerks you know that the driver is shifting gears, but yet going slowly through those crowded streets made overfull by every little thing on the road.
I shifted my gaze to the interiors. Next to me sat a lady, then a guy. There was one another guy hugging on to the driver, thus making it four passengers altogether. I looked straight and looked sideways again towards the lady. The light from another vehicle from opposite lit up the face of the man sitting next to her on the far end. The light held it’s spot for couple of seconds before disappearing.
One glance at him and I could identify him. I knew the man pretty well. I knew him for most of the time of my life as a friend and as a brother. I was there with this random girl in between and all I had to do was call out his name. He would have looked back and maybe we could have kicked started our friendship again.
I just kept mum. Just hoped that if he finds me, let him.
He didn’t find me. He got down where he had to while I was seated and the ride continued. Later I got down where I had to. The drizzles weren’t very heavy and my apartments were few footsteps away. I decided not to jog my way in but walk slowly. Drizzles just didn’t wet my clothes and my body but my spirits also. Today is definitely one of the worst day in my entire life when life proved that it got the better of me and my ego and I laid something, that once was a valuable asset, to rest.
My friend from childhood, my classmate, my college mate and finally strangers. Today when it feels gay to even travel in a lift with a stranger who happens to be a man, I remembered those days. We had shared our bed more than once in college. It felt perfectly alright to do that. We were friends, brothers. He would light a cigarette and I would borrow it from him and thus both ending up smoking the same cigarette. We ended up sharing an auto-rickshaw ride after 8 years, but in the most shameful manner.
I opened the door of my lonely apartment and walked in. The lights were off but the curtain was offset by a few meters letting in some light from the neighborhood. Pushing the door back, I walked to my table and in the bottom-most shelf I had a packet of cigarette which was left for god knows how long. Getting the matches from the kitchen, I strike the match on to the flint and light the cigarette.
‘Today I can have a smoke. I have managed to see the death of an old relation. Hence I today will counter balance it by reviving a long killed vice.’
The match stick stroke on the flint a few more times…