numbers

None: not one person who can be everything to anyone else.


Ones: one God (or more, depending on the point of view and of faith)

One child, a kid that is only a cement bag with legs coming out at the bottom. He walks slowly up the hill. The wind pulls through the pastic and he sways, almost falls, too slight to fight. His fingers curl around the edge of the cement bag and he pulls it tighter around his body to avoid the sideways rain.


Some things come in twos like: Idli sambar. Two idlis and two spoons. More sambar or chutney will come if you put your hand up.

Shoes in pairs: you have to bring an extra pair with you in your handbag if you want to look nice to meet someone, as you’ll be otherwise wearing monsoon shoes made of plastic.

Two packets of sugar with coffee.

Two beggars: one kid paired with one baby, together two human beings doing the only thing they know to do.

Men fighting: it takes at least two. To climb out of their trucks or rickshaws and wrestle and swear, while everyone else stands under their umbrella and looks on.


Three people in a young family. A backwards facing baby is sandwiched between two frontwards facing parents on a motorbike. The kid is like a starfish, all limbs out. The mother holds one end of her dupatta between her teeth and sits on the other end.

Three keys on a keychain. Three rupees for a hot samosa in the train station, drowned in dhanya ki chutney. A fly shares your chutney with you and you don’t mind, hardly a cause for concern with so many other concerns that have been caused.


I have left four umbrellas in rickshaws and on trains since I’ve been staying in Mumbai. Carrying an umbrella had become an expensive habit, so I abandoned it, and now get wet.


Six girls staying with one Aunty in a 2BHK, with one bathroom. Near Shah Rukh Khan’s bungalow.


Eleven rupees is the minimum fare to be paid for the shortest distance to be travelled in a rickshaw. If you give the driver ten, he won’t say anything. But if you give him fifteen, he’ll take his time in looking for change in hopes that you will just get out and go away.


Eighteen stops between Churchgate and Goregaon on the suburban train.


And countless crashing waves at Bandstand. Countless acquaintances, phone calls, visiting cards, zhopadhpati dwellers, hours spent avoiding and then feeling feelings, roads and galis, ways of doing the same thing, hearts, lives.

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