FROM BOMBAY CENTRAL Poem by Gieve Patel

FROM BOMBAY CENTRAL

Rating: 5.0


The Saurashtra Express waits to start
Chained patiently to the platform,
Good pet, while I clamber in
To take my reserved window seat
And settle into the half-empty compartment's
Cool; the odour of human manure
Vague and sharp drifts in
From adjoining platforms.
The station's population of porters,
Stall-keepers, toughs and vagabonds relieve themselves
Ticketless, into the bowels of these waiting pets;
Gujarat Mail, Delhi Janata, Bulsar Express,
Quiet linear beasts,
Offering unguarded toilets to a wave
Of non-passengers, Bombay Central's
In-residence population.

That odour does not offend.
The station's high and cool vault
Sucks it up and sprays down instead,
Interspersed with miraculous, heraldic
Shafts of sunlight, an eternal
Station odour, amalgam
Of diesel oil, hot steel, cool rails,
Light and shadow, human sweat,
Metallic distillations, dung, urine,
Newspaper ink, Parle's Gluco Biscuits,
And sharp noisy sprays of water from taps
With worn-out bushes, all
Hitting the nostril as one singular
Invariable atmospheric thing,
Seeping into your clothing
The way cigarette smoke and air-conditioning
Seep into you at cinema halls.
I sink back into my hard wooden
Third-class seat, buffered by
This odour, as by a divine cushion.
And do not suspect that this ride
Will be for me the beginning of a meditation
On the nature of truth and beauty.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Varsha M 07 July 2020

Sir this is the true picture of how life sustains even though when environment is not so congenial. Bombay central is just a small glimpse of what really happens everyday unnoticed. Beautifully penned touching the core of heart to the reality we often ignore or wish not to attend just enjoying our very pleasure pleasant ground. A lot of admirations sir. Congratulations Sir.

0 0 Reply
Dr Antony Theodore 24 March 2020

Newspaper ink, Parle's Gluco Biscuits, And sharp noisy sprays of water from taps With worn-out bushes, all Hitting the nostril as one singular Invariable atmospheric thing, expressive of the reality as we all see there. tony

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Sylvia Frances Chan 22 May 2019

There are TWO poems submitted, one with small letters, the other with capital letters.but the same content, it remains beautiful and magnificent. A very impressive piece. I know Mumbai too well, but I have never been on a train travel in this mega city. Such a huge crowd. But frightening. I enjoyed this poem. Thank you.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 22 May 2019

I had been in Mumbai, I was there, but all times with the taxi, never been on a train, since it was crowded constantly, my dear acquaintances forbade me to go by train, wherever I went, I was always accompanied by their family. Mumbai is cozy, friendly and dangerous, that´s why. The truth they never told me. Amazing poem about Mumbai. A typical poem written by a medical poet. Thanks for sharing. A myriad of 10´s.

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