It's an experience worth a lifetime, to walk through the colourful, noisy, dirty and cruelly crowded roads of Lallubhai compound, Mankhurd- a resettled colony rattling along railway lines.... seated comfortably amidst mangrove swamps in the fringe of city of dreams.....in Bombay.
It is strange how life works and it is stranger how one's life finds its sense of purpose-I find mine when I blend into the thousands of faces that rage along that narrow road that leads me, from the hell that life in Mankhurd can be, to my own heaven that my apartment can be, in the "better" part of Bombay.
I am a teacher, working with a bunch of children in a low income school (no-income is more like it for the parents who send their children to my class everyday)I am a teacher, who learns so much more every day, than she sets out to teach.
I have 28 little teachers in my classroom, to whom I try to teach and Maths and English. In return, they teach me life and love. The equation remains unbalanced and in trying to balance the equation lies my sense of purpose that I feel when I walk home after a long day at school.
My walk home from school usually is a sensory overload, just like this evening is. The sights, smells and the noise is mind blowing. Watching my community wrap up the day and get set for the long and shady night fills me with a thrill that hasn't ceased to amaze me since the first day I was here six months ago.
I walk for a bit from school, to get on a shared auto (which means eight of us squeeze into an auto meant for four people) and get off at Govandi Station. Most shared auto drivers know me by now, and are always keen on conversing with me to listen to my broken hindi-marati. The three minute auto journey for me is a reminder of what I love about my country- the silent acceptance of the mad scramble for space and the friendliness that emerges from understanding that nobody is spared from running the race to make their life.
I then cross over to step into the "normal" Bombay, leaving behind my school, my children and their worlds. I usually stop to pick up vegetables and catch up with the vendor who almost always wants to know why I work in Mankhurd and not in the "Bombay"...and stop over at the roadside shop for a refreshing glass of mosambi juice and a conversation with the young boy who makes my juice and serves it with a bright smile accompanying his announcement, "yeh! teacher ji keliye!"
All of this takes about half an hour and I am home, mentally going through the never ending list of things to do for the evening. Amidst all of this, I find my inspiration to live, love, experiment, to bitch about life and laugh..and to sing my own redemption song~ emancipation from my own mental slavery....
to find my own lines.. to sing my own redemption song.... the lines keep changing....some times its only a silence.. but this still is my redemption song
...I find new lines...forget some...drop some....pick up newer lines...newer tunes.... my redemption song...