City Vox Popili – A Life in Aditya’s Day, Bombay
As part of The Delhi Walla series asking citizens to “write down everything you did in one day.” Send yours in 400 words max to firstname.lastname@example.org
[Photo by Sanyuja Shiledar]
[By Aditya Shiledar, a literature student in Bombay.]
I begin the day at five-thirty in the morning. In that dark, quiet, awful stillness, nothing is discernible; the alarm clock tinkles softly; I wake up and set to work.
Peeping outside the window for a moment, I look out at the city: dark, dark, still asleep; the faint white blinking of some distant high-rise is the only conceivable source of light.
At six-thirty, when I leave the flat, the sky is still dark, but a faint reddish pallor is starting to show up. I get into the auto-rickshaw, and the ceaseless motion of the city begins. Bombay is waking up; morning-walkers populate the street, and vendors are starting to set up their shops.
I take the 6:55 train with many other sleepy commuters. My friend from college is absent today, so I travel alone. Lulled by the relentless blow of the AC, I let my legs go slack and try to sleep. The suburban route stretches on; I catch glimpses of the city between eyefuls of sleep.
Far to the horizon, through a tangled skein of clouds, a swollen red sun is rising. Minute by minute, it becomes more distinct. Over the glass tops of office towers it reflects, sending shiny ribbons of gold dancing across the surface. Finally, it towers over every other surface –this is the moment I am waiting for, the miracle that makes in for any other inconvenience.
I reach college in time, meet my friends, and routine takes over. Except for the last class, in which I watch my first Ingrid Bergman film – Gaslight –the day passes by, mundanely. Just before leaving, I linger around in the college’s vast quadrangle, its old gothic arches a never-ending visual treat. Just like the sunrise, it is another marvel to look out for.
Afterwards, I walk my way to Marine Lines station, fascinated by the little shops I see on the way: an Irani café, an antiques dealer, a music shop, a frame-fitter’s shop, and all of a sudden –the sea! On a whim, I suddenly turn around and wend my way to Marine Drive. The whole scene is laid out before me: the boundless ocean, the serene skyline, and the yapping of the waves. For a moment, I sense solitude—as if there’s no one around me –before I turn back to the station, and dissolve myself among the homeward-bound crowd.