It was a busy street .Full of people ,their tensions ,their joys ,garbage, and many shops ,restaurants ,homes and other structures built of concrete .Shankaran Pillai was sitting in Hotel Bombay on table no.11.The table from where you could see the street right from its mouth .It was where sat everyday ,where he drank his morning tea with two sweet buns .It was a weekday and the hotel was full of construction workers and coolies and labourers drinking their morning tea just like SP .But after their tea and a heavy breakfast they would run to their work places to burn all that they ate unlike SP who would go straight home and do nothing .There was a lot of commotion in the hotel .The waiters were bathing in sweat running from table to table ,person to person .They had to remember who ordered what .SP saluted them for the memory they had .He wished he too had it.
SP from his table was watching the cook who was frying bonda’s and samosa’s .The cook bathing in sweat standing near the cash counter conversing with the owner about how fortunate he was to stand near the burning stove in the cold winter mornings .The owner smiled at the cook thinking how unfortunate the cook would be in the summers .SP watched the ambidextrous cook who was frying the bonda’s with his left and samosa’s with his right hand. He loved to watch the cook at work .The owner now lighting up a bunch of incense sticks in his hand and placing it near the photo of a Hindu god.But SP felt the incense were burned to mask the foul smell wafting from the sewer that ran just outside the hotel .
SP looked at the open sewer from his table. He observed the nearly stagnant surface, and the silent ripple .He thought. The sewer flows and ends in the sea .The river flows and it ends in the sea. But there is a lot of difference between the two ,the river flows to places serving as a source of life .The sewer flows from the places serving as the carrier of waste made by man .But both are very important .The river because it serves and the sewer because it carries the waste .If any one of the two is missing there is no life .Waste is the proof of existence .If there is no waste there is no hope for the best .If there were no waste bins at homes how could we even life .Life would be hell for us .So river and sewer both are equally needed .
Suddenly the calm sewer was disturbed by water falling from above .SP took his eyes of the sewer to a boy standing on a high wall separating the sewer from human civilization and peeing .The boy enjoyed the sound that was born when his when urine like bullets pierced the lazy and stoned sewer. The boy was playing with penis turning it anticlockwise and enjoying the circular patterns formed on the surface .Childhood was all about finding happiness in small things. The boy stuffed his bird back into his tight pants and sat on the wall to observe the after effects of the chaos he had created on the surface of sewer. He looked at the wall on the other side. He could see his shadow on the wall and his reflection on the surface. He was amazed to see both of his dear friends at the same time. He waved his hand to his shadow and his reflection. They too waved back. They both too looked amazed to find their friend. The boy spoke to them for sometime.They too spoke back .After a while the boy bid goodbye to his friends hoping to meet later sometime. His friends also waved at him and faded away.
All this lit up SP’s face. Nowadays we all have everything but still we have nothing .We have phones, computers, cars, food, everything that can be imagined. But a trustworthy friend .. very difficult to find. So we have to ‘imagine’ that we have friends like john lennon says it isn’t hard to do. We made real all those things that we could IMAGINE and lost everything we HAD to illusion. Times are difficult and confused. Basic necessity have become costly and and things that were costly have become the necessary. Electronic devices have become cheaper than food. But then we can’t eat electronic devices. So a common man is bound to be confused. So if anyone calls you “hey you confused man” don’t get offended he means “hey you human being”. We all may look act clear headed and orderly but deep down we are drowning in the sea of confusion and doubts peeing in our pants and crying for help. In a way SP was thankful for the present situation because if there were no bad times he wouldn’t get a topic to write about.
The GREY (concrete) jungle just like the GREEN (nature) jungle has many stories to tell. Many things to take and give . Many things to learn . He looked at the slum nearby. The people in the slums lead a liberal and unrestricted but also an insecure one. Anybody could destroy their homes anytime but still they enjoy security inside the slums the same security a queen enjoys in her harem. The Duality . Good and Bad. Life and Death. River and Sewer. None can exist without the other. “This city is really trippy” thought SP.
Suddenly the noise of a truck coming to halt diverts him from the city to the enormous vehicle which was meant for the huge and rough roads. But this truck squeezed itself into the street disturbing the army of people marching to their work place to earn a living. All these people were mostly those who got down at the railway station nearby and walked from there to their offices in the nearby area. This street was the only one in between the big slum which lead to the other side of the city .There were some people who walked on this road everyday to work. It was like a life line. Even the vehicles had to pass through this narrow street to reach the other side of the city .But the truck was an exception .Everyone walking on the road had a revulsive expression on their faces. But then just like any other occurring(ones that shouldn’t be ignored) they just cursed under their breath and ignored the commotion like they always did and kept on marching to their grey workplaces. SP’s attention now diverted to the truck. Men on the back of the truck got down and started giving each other orders to place the big covered object on the raised platform. They get to work by lifting the covered load on their shoulders and placing on the platform. They kept the cover on. One of them called the driver telling him to join them for a cup of tea and pav. They all went inside Hotel Bombay. Now everyone walked on that road had their eyes on this covered object. The regulars also had their eyes on the timid object lying on a platform in the midst of dirt people their tensions, their joys, garbage. Everyone including SP had their minds on it wondering what was inside. Like children they took guesses of what would be hiding behind that black polythene sheet clutched tightly by the rope mercilessly tied by someone. It had everyone’s attention including the ever drifting SP. Everyone had a child’s urge to rip of the cover. But then everyone had their destinations to reach ,so the covered one had to be happy with the temporary attention it got. But it still has SP’s eyes.