A Boy

Blue checks over white and a crumpled short, a bag bigger than the back that supported it. He wore sandals a wee bit bigger than his little feet, they had dark round rings on them, must have been one of the many bruises you get chasing other kids in school or riding parked motorcycles. His hands, all smudgy of the dust on the school desk or (if he was not fortunate enough to have one) of the floor on which he learnt multiplication tables, held a small plastic bag containing “dal” the stuff which the railway stalls sell for a two rupee coin. When he boarded the train he was half way thru it, he used both his hands to clasp this modicum of an after school snack. One hand held the bottom of the polythene bag while the other was closing the opening that led to the dal. He ate taking a few bits every time, spilling a few sometimes, he was interested in knowing the fate of the bits that fell on the metal floor with holes for screws that had not been used, kicking those that did not fall in to the holes so that they would find a hole to lie in. He leaned against the walls of the compartment as much as the bag on his back would allow him to. Snacking on somnolently he suddenly decides his snack to be small enough to deserve a place in the shirt pocket, so the pocket now receives the dal hiding the hole that it possesses. He takes one grain at a time, spilling more than one thru the hole every time he puts his hand in the pocket. He has more spill offs to tend to now, more screw holes to fill. I tell him about the leak in the pocket, he nods nonchalantly, not even looking at me. The train has pulled into the station and he lifts his bag which is now on the floor (he took it off because it wasn’t allowing him to lean enough). Getting down and spilling some more grains on the platform where there are no holes to go into he heaves his body over the bag. I walk away.

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4 thoughts on “A Boy

  1. Local train tale?
    Please write more of these…it reminded me of my stay in Bombay, and also reminded me, of all the tales I witnessed in the locals…

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