Mumbai Local

Ajay Vishwanathan

My nose sweat dangled long
under the scorching Mumbai sun
till I puffed it away
with a tired heave
when I finally saw a train
that didn’t have people
suspended from window bars,
simmering from crammed doors
like an over-boiled frothing vessel
of fat-free milk,
squeezed onto each other,
clinging with one hand
to the first shirt collar
they could clasp,
precarious briefcases
in the other,
their feet almost scraping
the concrete platform.
As the train stopped,
I stood there helpless;
I couldn’t get in
because it was a
Ladies’ Special.
I sighed and took
an auto rickshaw instead.
More expensive, terribly wobbly
but I could at least see the
exits on either side.

Two-time Best of the Net anthology nominee Ajay Vishwanathan, published in over forty literary journals, including elimae, Haggard and Halloo, Orange Room Review, and Centrifugal Eye, lives in a world of words and viruses. He has an obsession for one, shows appreciation for another. His world is based in Georgia. E-mail: ajayvishwanathan[at]

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