Monday, March 28, 2011

Apu, the chai walla...

This poem is for Apu, this ever-smiling 10-year old kid who sells chai on Platform no. 3 and 4 of the Pune railway station.

“Chai Garam ! Chai Garam!”
Apu waxed lyrically.
His voice baritone-
Practiced to perfection.
Even as the train
Serenaded her
Bumpy halt.

Recalled he,
His childhood,bundled
On his father’s head
A porter – Red!
The clamor for seats
- a handkerchief !
A battle won !

Running along
Life’s train, keeping pace
A palm with coins,
In lieu of a cup of tea.
Half spilled on his
Corroded hands, burnt!

The pretty girl- Memsaab!
Like a fairy in the bookstall.
Who kept turning back
To look at him.
And smiled even as he
Wiped his snotty
Face –striped with salt.

Pucker-nosed, she laughed,
As he slyly wiped the filth
On his shorts.
His fastest sprint then,
As the train stuttered,
Punctuated by
Silent whistles.

Recalled he,
The porter -Red,
The coins -Few,
The fairy –Dream!
And his never ending – Marathon.
And whispered softly
“Happy Birthday Apu. You’re ten today!”


Peachyyy said...

You write so well man!
Write often.

fhbwefbwebfw! :D

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! A tribute to little Apu - the chai-wallah:)

Nadira Cotticollan said...

"Many a flower is born to blush unseen.." It's heartrending to know how many little kids like Apu run around platforms and dhabas and help their parents sell vegetables or run a small food cart. Some of us took it on ourselves to help some of these kids get a basic education. It constantly surprises us how full of grit they are, refusing to get ruffled by their circumstances and keeping their smiles intact. You've etched it nicely..Apu's daily struggle and the moments of unexpected warmth and empathy that came his way.

Sayani said...

Exceptional !!! And each of your work seems to excel the other i just get baffle which to say the 'best'.

The porter -Red,
The coins -Few,
The fairy –Dream!

Well timed, immaculately expressed.
loved it and cried for it.


Zardy said...

Beautifully written. Cute poem :)

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Creative Commons License
Poetry by Wandering Gypsy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.