Friday, April 09, 2010

Mumbai Trains

During rush hour it is not wise
to travel in Mumbai trains
You need skates to wheel
through the crowd as the ladies
Compartments have different
slots for different platforms
And if you want to save the time
and not miss the train
You might squeeze into gents compartment,
A mistake that you may later repent
You will find yourself packed like sardines
Into the sea of men, breathing neck to neck.
You will shudder as you get crushed
Like a vehicle in the car-wash,
You can feel their temperature on your skin,
As you get rubbed by their careless massage
No bone from head to toe can move,
Inch by inch, you wriggle
to find some space to breathe,
Only the nose is free to twist its nostrils
As it wrestles with different smells
The musky smell of aftershave,
The pungent smell of tobacco
The fragrance of a betel nut,
The greasy whiff of coconut
The bland odor of sweat

You want to be released and
wheedle for next station,

The train halts, you don’t exit
But are just pushed out from the train
Like a fountain of human from gargoyle.
Little wonder then that precision
At keeping the balance saves you
From scratching your knee

Free at last, after the train has departed,
You wriggle free and
Shake off the salt of their flesh
But now, you smell
Like a man.

ps: Writing exercise on smell @

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