Sunil Khushalani




I remember
 the singchanawala
 who carried a huge cloth bag
 on his shoulders
 inside which there seemed to be
 a whole universe
 He would squat near the gates
 of our apartment building
 and call out for us
 while we were playing
 Children who had been oblivious
 to the world around them
 would suddenly circle around the cloth bag
 with its rolled over edges
 displaying a whole assortment of things to eat
Embedded in the bulk of kurmura
 were small little cloth bags
 with sing, chana, dal amongst other things
 a heap of thin yellow sev
a stack of thin, flat, circular, hard puris
 brass measures of a few different sizes
 a towering pile of telescoped
cone-shaped paper pudis
bent at their tips
when given to us
safely held our treasure
even if we ran with these
while playing
or kept them in our pockets
 Simmering coals in a small vessel
to roast the goodies
After the sing was roasted
he would roll them
between his palms
and then blow off
the thin skins of these grains
to enhance the salty pleasure
 A couple of old discarded books
 to make bigger pudis
We would search our pockets
 for the sole ten paise coin
 or the char-anna
 On the lucky day
 if we had saved up
 some extra pocket-money
 we could treat ourselves
to some sookha bhel
or geela bhel
or sev puri
where any amount of
meethi chutney wouldn’t be enough
(we would hold on to
the soggy puri soaked with chutney
till the very end)
it always seemed to end too quickly
He would remember
 all our names
 since he visited us every evening
 We missed him on rainy days
 we missed trying to get him
 to fill our pudis
with a few extra grains
 I still have a few memories
of his worn out cotton jacket
 which was dirty
just above the pockets
 pockets full of change
I wonder how much
 he walked everyday
 with his thick dusty leather chappals
 and a huge cloth bag on his shoulders

-{ana sayfa}{marmara}{trambolin}-