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Pudhil Station: Santacruz by Sohini Das Gupta

Art by Ruddhi Vichare

The compartments are dustier than ever, at this hour.

Greasy sandal prints, tail ends of

twisty rice chips, and a plum hairclip

lie exhausted across the seats.

The rosary-and-sukha-bhehl lady turns her face

away from the window, and for a small second

I see the bright, (perhaps) Goan

face that must have cracked it's share of hearts

a dozen years ago.

A bucket of suburban night tumbles in

through the windows,

wrapping the air in a scent of onions, green chillies, aamchur,

tossed carelessly together. As if on cue, the bald baby

in the black-veil-woman's lap

sneezes. Someone laughs at his snotty nose,

and a wave of girlish chatter

breaks out. "Baby idhaar dekh, kaunsa jyaada suit kar raha hain?".

I look at aunty, dangling two fake silver pendants

from each hand, and start to tell her

how local train silver probably washes off under the tap,

but rosary lady (who's finished her sukha bhehl by now),

black veil woman, and ring-pendant-waali declare together

"wo wala best hain!", pointing at

different pendants,


Pudhil station, Santacruz -

our laughter drowns out what must be the final call to

slip out of the nightly

bubble called

Ladies’ first Class.

Follow Sohini's writings here and Ruddhi's fabulous artworks here.


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