Saturday, August 22, 2009

rush hour

Salaam says he is 11. He looks 6.

Salaam says he sniffs cloth only sometimes. How many times, I ask? He says once. A day, I ask? Or twice, he says.

But I don't like it, he says, as he wolfs down the pav bhaji I have bought him. It makes me want to sit in one place and not move, and I don't like that. But sometimes, he says, when there are too many thoughts in your head, and there is no money, and you are hungry, there is too much tension, then .. it makes you forget you are hungry, he says.

A little child, I think, should not be having so many thoughts, so much tension in his head, but what do I know?

Later in the train, I watch a woman fill up little boxes in a notebook with the name 'Ram'. It seems to work for her because in a compartment filled with tired women, her smile comes most easily. The woman sitting next to me fiddles with her cell phone, it goes beep, beep, beep, beep.

My mother sits before the TV almost all the time she is awake, sometimes even when there is only blank noise on it. Like all daughters, I wonder what will become of me when, if I become like my mother.

I think, perhaps it is the city. There is not enough space for any of us in it, leave alone our griefs, our tensions. There is not enough space to let our pain dry out naturally like sweat in cool air.

We all need to sniff a solvent of one kind or the other, I think, noise, music, films, more noise, books, more noise, to burn up our thoughts on the spot, for there's no space to let them go.

Whatever works, I think.


Sniffing cloth: A quick, cheap high, sniffing cloth dipped in thinner.

10 comments:

shankari said...

Am overwhelmed by this post

Too many disturbing thoughts

parotechnics said...

very beautifully written...

eve's lungs said...

I am shaken by the story of the boy.Reminded me of an article in India Today many years ago on little pavement boys in Mumbai sniffing glue and solvent to keep them going
Also your mother watching Tv all the time . My mother in law does it and most often she discusses the characters like they were real people .

Grasshopper said...

Guess what? I met an old old friend, someone I was deeply in love with at one point of my life, and guess what he gave me? A couple of notebooks with 108 boxes on each page, to write 'Shree Ram Ram Ram' in each box.
I am always game to try such things, and I agreed to send him back the notebooks in a couple of months, all filled up.
And, like the woman in your train, it makes me smile as I write this.I am really enjoying writing Ram Naam. I think there might be some truth in what they say about the vibration of a mantra.
I loved your post, because although you have the eyes to see and the heart to talk to a boy during rush hour, you also notice a word that has been associated with so much pain in recent history and still notice the womans smile.
When are you going to take the next step, Banno? Come on, this chance might not come for a long time again.
We are not our parents yaar. We have the chance to break free.
Its time to walk out the prison. There is no lock on the door,

dipali said...

Too many thoughts, no time or place to deal with them(:
Yes, I seriously do wonder what kind of old person I'll be.

d gypsy! said...

hmmm... have nothing much to say except that this one makes me think and wonder...

Scribblers Inc said...

Its left me a blank...I am not good with expressive words..but its made me forget whatever I was doing, and That is not a good thing, especially in the office.

a stunned reader,

Scribblers Inc.

blue sunride said...

There are things and more things and more things that act like drugs, that we want to buy, that make us forget for a small time that we are lonely.

Amrita said...

cooool stuff

bawa said...

Too many people in the world... this time in India I kept feeling the planet was sinking under our weight and could no longer cope.

Wealth= when everyone around you can lead a life of dignity, however humble (or not) it maybe.