Regional News

Strolling through Mumbai

Stroll on the road….

I don’t know about you, but my life lately has been like a blizzard to say the least. Like any corporate executive weekdays are reduced to – ‘home – car – office’ and back in the same order – spanning a period of 12 hours. Weekends are spent in converting chaos to order at home – so that the week can be spent again in the aforementioned way. I have gone about ‘maximizing’ the weekend meticulously by – shopping online (groceries to garments), outsourcing cooking (eating out is hard for vegetarians if you are not fond of paneer!), streaming entertainment in (multiplexes are all the same). All this means – that we are at home but too busy multitasking the above within a heavenly two days!

After a long time, I found myself in a three-day weekend – and a little under the weather.  Promptly putting all tasks at rest – found myself lazing around at home – pottering in the kitchen, gazing out of the window and even taking an interest in the neighborhood. The husband and me realized that we are out of vegetables and decided to stroll down to vegetable seller at the end of our lane.

The vegetable seller reigned over a broad footpath – fresh produce nicely arranged in little heaps. A remark that the onions were too small led to a mini-discussion on the state of our economy and government – momentarily uniting us on the same side of social divide.  Our cloth bag (yes it was nostalgic to carry a grocery bag) was almost full. As he handed over the bag, he cautioned me of the weight…….

Adjacent to the vegetable seller was a banyan tree and a choupal.  Two old men sat chatting and watching the world go by. They were in no hurry to go anywhere. I looked up at the banyan tree – stately and wizened – eavesdropping on so many conversations over decades. Though it was now boxed in by concrete and cement……….

Few steps down, was a cement bench and on it sat a teenage girl all wired up, animatedly talking on her mobile. She wasn’t waiting just sitting. She met my gaze and suddenly averted her eyes, and then when I held my gaze turning to look at her – she turned away, almost protecting her conversant! No guesses to whom she was talking to……her gaiety offering me joy and amusement.

We passed by a brightly lit glass enclosed shop neatly line with bottles and boxes. A demurely dressed young woman was applying a potion on the cheek of a young man! On a busy street? Curiosity led my gaze to the shop name – Shanta Ayurvedic Skin clinic! The husband was looking at it too – and we both laughed together……….

A young family – father mother and a 5-year-old, were busy devouring the ubiquitous Mumbai favourite – vada pav! The 5-year-old was perched on a two-wheeler. Father was holding forth on some topic to his captive audience and the mother stood shielding the kid from the streaming traffic. Mohan sweet meat and chaat shop was abuzz with people vying for Mohan’s attention. Ever knowledgeable, the husband said he must be easily making 50,000 a month only on vada pavs! An expression of disbelief led to a quick class on maths and statistics, till I nodded in agreement.

Two more steps and we would reach the apartment building. The wind was blowing, and I could feel it on my skin, the sound of the road was not ‘trafficky’ anymore, people were not obstacles to be dodged – but human beings leading curious lives.

The gates opened, and the security guard smiled, we entered the sanitized surroundings again cocooning ourselves from reality and perhaps the vibrance of life!

Author :  Priya Vasudevan – ( can be reached via her twitter handle @uniquepv)

 

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