Thursday, March 17, 2011

A rendezvous with a fruit-seller.

Whenever I look for inspiration, my first month struggle at Mumbai always comes to my help. I was new to Mumbai with limited idea of human skins clashing in Mumbai Local trains and the daily struggle for basic amenities.

When we (me and my roommate from IIM Kozhikode) arrived at Mumbai, we were duped by an agent and were made to stay in a claustrophobic room by a very busy street in Goregaon. The fan in the room was so slow that the May heat and sweat left us feeling miserable. Every time we tried to open the big window to get some fresh air, a cat used to crawl in and shit in our dirty floor. So to avoid the cat shit, we used to sleep with all doors and windows closed.

For me being unable to sleep, in such conditions, I used to tire myself further so that the sleep would come easily. Mentally I came back tired after dealing with a very difficult boss, but that was further a deterrent to my sleep. So I would try walking miles to get that physical fatigue so that when I laid on the bed, my physical stress would not let the combined mental stress of a difficult boss and the heat in the room come between me and my sleep.

So this story is of one of those walks, when I heard a beautiful song from the movie Umrao Jaan on the radio on a footpath. Some people were sleeping on the footpath and I recognised them. They sold fruits on the fruit shop below my room. You know footpaths in Mumbai are used for walking in the day, as street shops in the evening and sleeping beds in the night.

I sat down there and initiated a talk with one of the guys listening to the radio. His name was Gokul Naresh Yadav. He was from Faizabad in UP. People in his town called him Pagla for his crazy dreams and crazy talks. So here goes the conversation:

Me: Gokul teri shaadi ho gayi hai? (Gokul, are you married?)
Gokul: Haan, Aarifa se (Yes, with Aarifa)

He shows me the photograph. A beautiful girl in a saree and our Gokul Naresh Yadav.

Me: Aarifa?? Ye kaisa naam hai? (Aarifa, what sort of name is that?)
Gokul:Muslim hai. Shaadi kiye hain. Love marriage. (She is a Muslim. I have married. Love Marriage)

Me: Ye kaise? Woh bhi Faizabad mein? (How come? And that too in Faizabad?)
Gokul: Kya bataayein? Hum football khel rahe the. Teen ladkiyaan humein burqa pehne dekhne aati thi. Jo sabse lambi thi use maine bola burqa hataane..usne hataaya..chaand thi woh..humne apne sapne ke baare mein bataaya..use acchaa lagaa.(What shud I say? I was playing football and 3 girls clad in burqa used to visit us.. The tallest one, I asked her to lift her burqa, she removed, she was like moon..later, I told her about my dreams..she liked them)

Me: Cricket nahi khelte ho? (Dont you play cricket?)
Gokul: Arre nahi, hum bahut accha bowling karte the..baad mein pata chal throw phekte the..bahut koshish kiye phir se..(No,I used to bowl very well..but later I realised that I used to chuck the ball..Later I tried hard)

Me: Shaadi mein koi baadhaa? (Any objection in marriage)
Gokul: Shuru mein sab hasne lage..soche pagla hai..kuch bhi bolta hai..par humne shaadi kar liya mandir mein..ladki ko ghar se nikaal diya..meri maa bahut royi ..par baad mein maan gayi..boli tu laaya hai tu hi khilaa..isiliye bambai aaye hain (Initially they all laughed thinking I was mad. They said I speak crap but I married her in the temple. She was thrown away from her home. My mom cried a lot but later she accepted her. She said, u brought her, u feed her. Hence I came to Bombay)

Me: Bahut maante ho Aarifa ko? (You like Aarifa a lot?)
Gokul: Ek wahi hai jo humein paagal nahi samajhti..Ek naseehat dete hain-usi se shaadi karna jo aapko aapke sapne ke liye pyaar kare, naaki aapke vartamaan ke liye..(She is the only one who doesnot think i am mad..One advice I would give you-Always marry a girl who loves u for your dreams.. not for what u are today...)

Me: Chhutti par kya karte ho? (What do u do on holidays?)
Gokul: Chhutti milti hai kabhi kabhi, phal bech kar. hum goregaon se churchgate kaa local pkadte hain aur marine drive par jaa kar baith jaate hain. bahut shaanti milti hai..samundar ajeeb cheez hai..gareeb ameer mein koi fark nahi kadti. (I get holidays rarely. I catch a local to churchgate and go and sit on marine drive. I get peace there. This sea is very strange. It does not differentiate between rich and poor)

( it reminds me of Tsunami in Japan. It did not differentiate. The wrath or the peace,the sea treats us the same)

Me: Bahut bolte ho yaar? (U speak a lot)
Gokul: Saab bechne waale log hain...bolenge nahi to khareedega kaun? (Sir, we are salesmen. If we don't speak, then who would buy from us?)

The next day, I gave Gokul Naresh Yadav my phone and asked him to use it and talk to his wife in lieu of the beautiful story he had told me the previous night.

PS: I would like to dedicate this post to the 15 day old baby Aarya. The most beautiful line in this post has been quoted by her mother.
I felt


khush said...

Baby 'Aarya' says Thanks for gesture...

And I am sure you will soon find a girl of your dreams...who also loves ur dreams... :)

- Aarya's Mom

nP said...

VC, i ain't a fan of ludicrous or extravagantly colored writing, & this one, as simple as it is, really touched me. I've always admired you - few reasons of many are portrayed in this post. I love you, & your writing.

Shubhendu Bhardwaj said...

So much of life lives around us, we sometimes just dont see it .... fruitvala tuaght us many things ... u have to be 'pagal' to actually understand the mystry of life ....

Vikas Chandra said...

@khush: baby 'Aarya' is so cute in the pics..i m sure she must be handling huge pressure of being the darling of the house..
haha my dreams are too crazy to be loved..

@nP: Yeah I wanted to keep it simple because simplicity is what grows on the reader.Flamboyance has a short term impact while simplicity lasts. I guess few glimpses of Suketu Mehta (whose book Maximum City I finished lately) can be seen in the story. Although the style is mine.

And about admiration and love, its more than mutual!

@Shubh: Very true, that element craziness is very much required to counter this crazy world.
I am in love with the uniqueness each human being possesses..

swati said...

A masterpiece yet again!!..loved the conversation and the simplicity..and yes you reminded me of my childhood days by mentioning Faizabad thats where my childhood was spent some wonderful moments and some wonderful people..small place with a big heart!!

thakur said...

when you speak you always makes a person laugh......when you write you always makes a person cry.....why this contrast?........may be original you will make one cry when you truly speak yourself
and about the post nothing special .......its as usual awesome

Isha Nanavati said...

Even the simplest and the most 'not-so-usually-usual' happenings can speak and teach tonnes and trucks!
the guy had his love with him....what more can one ask for!
I wish even my life to be as interesting as your's at mumbai when i go there for my studies next year!
You pen down damn good things :)

Anonymous said...

Vikas, your writing's so soulful!.. n it keeps getting better.... of all your posts that I have read, I find this to be the simplest and the best so far...

Vikas Chandra said...

@swati: A masterpiece!!hehe

@thakur: why did u have to cry after reading this?? Its all about interpretation dear..A happy story can also be a sad one if interpreted.. I leave it on the reader.

@isha: Thanks..u interpreted it well..
“ Words are meant to express oneself,to bring out the ambiguous world inside of you.Speak them with clarity, write them with truthfulness and honesty, be humble and believe in their humility."

@anonymous: thanks and a request for u.please come out of the anonymity..
soulful is one review which made my day.

Zlaek said...

Sweet post. I generally think of all these footpath people as one, discounting their individuality, identity. Thanks for the exposure :)

Just another girl... said...

:)... (coz it left me smiling...)

bondgal_rulz said...

A perfect read....leaves you filled with content-ness. :)

Vikas Chandra said...

@chinmayee: its amazing how these footpath people get institutionalised to such a conditions and live on without realising other comforts.

@sapna:I too am smiling for the smile this post offered.

@isha:such compliments do make me feel great. Good that you enjoyed it.

V. E. D. said...

@VC: dude, u always rock!! gr8 writing!! its true that when u don't have time to dream, u don't have a future

Anonymous said...

simple bt heart touching...:)
luvd dat lyn 'marry th 1 who luvs ur dreams and not ur present' tru...
enjoyd reading it....