There’s this friend I was trying to counsel. Yes, that sounds a little pompous considering I’m the one who needs a little help right now, but anyway. Ok so, we were talking… no wait… he was talking. After a long time of self-inflicted, ego-boosting, surreptitious muteness that makes a man proud of the fact that he can suffer-in-silence (for Christ’s sake) and not let a woman know he’s hurt because that’s the ‘stubborn stuff’ men are made of. Poof! (Lord help me!)

Alright, so he was doing the talking and I did the listening. Somehow, everything he said was a direct contradiction to what he had said earlier, and it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure that he was pretty muddled (I know, my friend, I know the feeling) So, I told him, and somehow this is what I tend to tell everyone who is clearly undecided about what they are doing; I told him, “Tu pehle decide kar le kya karna hai, fir mujhe batana.” So he said, “Ha lekin kaise” I said, “Take some time off and think. Go to the sea side, alone, it helps in thinking” (Yes, yes, I’m a romantic at heart!) And he gave me a silly reason about not being able to find a seaside. Such is life!

I gave him some other options:

In the shower.

Before you sleep at night.

A Park.

And finally, the bus.

All of them got rejected for some very unintelligent reasons and some unmentionable ones. The point is: they were rejected. Note to self: It’s a guy, you’re giving advice to. Laugh at yourself lady. In reality, he doesn’t even need it!

So, coming to the bus. I tend to do a lot of thinking during my once-excruciating, now-indifferent, bus ride. I look out of the window (reminds me of when, as kids, we used to run for the seat next to the window) and I watch as life passes by, in slow motion. Yes, slow motion, thanks to the traffic. There are a lot of things that I see each day and more often than not, they do tend to cheer me up. Life in Mumbai does that to you, if you have time to stop and stare.

Though, these days I’m not able to see these things (I’m a little clouded), a week ago I could.

There is a dairy on our way to work, and somehow, everyday, a man cleans the front steps of the dairy after he’s done selling the milk. I have no clue why, but I see him doing the same thing, everyday, at the same time. I just tend to look in that direction, I guess.

Then, there is a lane where at least 50-70 men wait, with different coloured plastic bags and chatter away noisily. Smiles on their faces. Sometimes backslapping, sometimes enjoying a shared beedi, sometimes just looking at the vehicles zipping by. (I have no idea what they wait there for.)

There are lots of stores that are dressed with various banners of the umpteen cell-phone service providers. Plastered all over the shops, so much so, that you’re not able to see where the door opens, are posters that scream out various deals. One of them, the one I notice everyday says, “A new day. A new plan.” I read only the first line of that poster. And as I type this, I can see it-the ochre and brown poster with the words printed on the ochre portion in black font. I only read the words, “A new day.” (Talk about seeing only what you want to see.)

I see a lot of people on my way to work. I see a new day being set up. I see the dirty roads. I see garbage collectors. I see traffic cops. I see girls in red and men in white, hurrying and scurrying through a maze of vehicles. I see vegetable vendors. I see crammed buses. I see air-conditioned cars…

And in that very seat (I sit in the same seat everyday) I think. I mull about what went by and it’s my own space where no one talks to me. (We don’t talk in the bus in the mornings; it’s too much to bear) I don’t talk to a soul unless it’s an interesting colleague I know. No one troubles you and you trouble no one (unless I want to talk to my sister, so I sms her. That’s what life has come down to!) It’s that time of the day when I reflect, and that time when I don’t “plan” my “new day”. I just let it come to me as the moon comes at night.

And that is why I recommended it to my friend. You can think on your way to work. It’s a silent sort of a journey when all of us are just waking ourselves up. It is that time of the day when we let each other be.

But it was rejected. I’m sure his journey to work is different.

All of us have a different one.

I love you and you love me
Oh come on! Why don’t we just let each other be…

– Sameen

P.S.:  He’s come down to thinking over a session of alcohol. I guess being inebriated has its merits. Told you. I need to laugh at myself. 🙂