Poem | Amritendu Ghosal

Smoking Area, by Amritendu Ghosal


In spite of being a passenger train
This particular one fights hard
To give a good reputation to its kind.
Five times a day, shuttling,
Between Patna and Gaya.

One morning took me by surprise
I found myself standing in the ticket line
Of everyday passengers to Gaya
I, one of them, felt of use.
5 30 am,
Quarter to six, read the morning news
In Hindi, amidst school girls and teachers,
Morning school in summer till noon
And early office folks, calm,
with their lives figured out,
Outlandish dreams abandoned
Some of them without ticket.
A boy sat in a plastic chair from home.
The desperation of seat requests through the window
Was beneath him.
Does he sit in the same chair in his classroom?
I wondered.

In Gaya my colleague picked me up.
Sitting behind him on his motorcycle
I saw my reflection on the back of his helmet,
My fresh hair - cut, big glasses
My forehead stretched on the black sphere
The straps of my laptop bag over my shoulders
Yes Allen that morning I had put my shoulders to the wheel
With no irony in my mind.
Our motorcycle lurched through the dusty lanes
Of the town where Siddartha had wised up.
My new workplace.

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