First it’s the rain and the water that’s unbearable. Now it’s the heat. It’s terrible, this heat. I don’t remember it being this hot, ever. Never. It has a quality its own. It fatigues you even before you can react to it. You reach out as if you are thirsty, but you aren’t. You are left stupefied, numb with the heat. That means fights. Yes, fights erupt so often in the train. When people are cooped in narrow spaces, violating others’ space they fight. I have been in the middle of a few skirmishes. The whole range of colourful Indian insults comes out, shockingly vivid and, well, insulting. My novel is all about such insults. Have a look if you have the time and the inclination.
I look at the dirtied compartment, the people in various stages of fatigue, heads drooping into their electronic devices, newspapers, the fans whirring. Not many people read newspapers these days. I mean as religiously as they used to do thirty years ago when I started my commuting life. Those days weren’t any better, only different. There used to be an 8.30 local from Chembur and I knew most of the people who were in it, or at least knew where they lived.
Now I don’t know the people so well. Well there’s the friend who works in a newspaper, the friend who is a company secretary, the few friends I have made over the years. My friends have made my commute less onerous. I talk to them, joke, laugh, anything to pass the time. Time passes. Ever so slowly, so painfully, until you realise it has passed too soon and left you bereft of your dreams.
So don’t you ever lose your dreams to the heat. Dream on.