morning walk — airport to Haji Ali

still dark when I started
workers up early
affixing “his” mug
on barricades
something to do
with G20
then for the first time
in my city I saw
the white shroud
that heralds “his” visit
the minions covering up
telling “him” all is well

at the airport
I avoided blokes
with cars
ferrying people to Pune
many a buck to be made
on the side

saw a man wake up
he lit up
first smoke of the day
right below a hoarding
requesting patience
and
promising a glorious future
wonder what he thought of that
as smoke circled

then a car stopped aside
two blokes
an empty rear seat
morning walks and cars
not good
my spider sense was up
but then it had a small boot
and
this is my city
they asked which way to Baroda
I pointed to BoriBunder
sent them on their way
I hope they found
the U-turn ahead

I met the sun at the junction
where the MSEB office stands
did I tell you
my father worked there
then across the causeway
which separates the calm
that the British left
and the chaos that we created

stop 1 Mahim church
I crossed myself
at the Mahim Dargah
I cupped my palms
crossed the Park
folded my hands
at Siddhivinayak
as I have done
a million times before

then at the junction
at Prabhadevi
missed that man
with the world on his shoulders
has he retired now
who did he hand the baton to
or was he there
hidden
engulfed by new kids on the block

City bakery
was there
as was readymoney terrace
nice to see old friends
the traffic had picked up
my pace slowed
spaceship like structure
loomed up
it was the coastal road
tall pillars and wide beams
screaming development
hiding that 4th patron of Mumbai
on this route

they have somehow
figured out how to
mar that beautiful sight
of a Dargah in the sea
Haji Ali will never be the same again
overwhelmed and tired
I paused at a bus stop
and could not resume
every journey needs
the reassuring presence of friends

a bus a train
brun maska and tea
now suitably fortified

among kids
remembering old legends
their songs still swinging
with new guitars & newer beat boxes
opposite
the smiling art deco buildings

met my oldest friend the sea
she said she was happy
always nice
when a friend says that

photo courtesy — Vaibhav K

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Maruti Naik

I write to remember. I write to remain honest. I write to leave a bread crumb trail for my daughter. I write to relax. Trying to impress my better half, I write