The MUMBAIkar saga – Episode 3: The Great Wadala Stride

They walked like men, bracing the fury of the wind, the sharp sting of the rain, the heaviness of their dripping formals, the uncertainty of their last fag’s lifetime in the face of the wet rain and the gothic excitement of facing the walk across rain-hit Wadala …..

This little incident happened on the 14th of June, the day (among many other such days) when  it rained rather heavily in Mumbai.

The water was knee high , troublesome enough for the cabbie to abandon good ol’  Mr.P and good ol’ Mr.B, colleagues and pals, near the slums  of Wadala.They were on their way back home.

Wadala is  an area towards the west of central Mumbai. This place, mind you all, is among the depressed areas in the city. So obviously there was water, filled with stench, accumulated from the overflowing drainage, the faeces of the slum dwellers et al. There P and B had, in front of their lost eyes, a river of shit

Their only outside chance to cross it was a narrow road divider that was almost submerged in the river of shit ! In the name of Odin (name taken for no obvious reason) , they had to pull off the tight rope-walking routine to cross the river of shit ….

P looked at B and said , “No shit macha !! We ain’t Harry Houdini are we ? “

B gave his usual twisted smile where  only the left side of his lips extends into a smiling posture while the right side doesn’t move a nanometer. It was a half-sided closed grimace which indicated he was about to say something sarcastic.

“Houdini is a m*****-f***** sissy!” He said and they laughed at it, like two thugs who were about to pull off a heist that would make Sean Connery’s Entrapment character , look like an amateur.

Just before they were about to get onto the divider, P again in his usual flashy way, raised his right hand to stroke his hair, “Oops!” he went, “I just realized I dont have my long hair anymore, macha !” This reminded his pal, B ,  of the days 3 years ago, in a distant past , when P grew long hair because he wanted to look like Jimi Hendrix. And B felt that P was a guy to stay away from, since he might potentially be gay. Ridiculous those thougths seemed to B now.

Now they were here, in Mumbai, working for the same company, living under the same roof,  going to the same gym and bored at an equal level with life itself.

Anyway, P pulled out his last fag from his sock, something that he was saving for contingencies such as these. In the usual Rajnikanth-inspired style, he started smoking his last drag. And then, they were set for the act …

They walked carefully shaking their hands now and then, to balance themselves. The proverbial last fag of P fell in the river of shit, but that didn’t deter the good ol’ rocker from his objective that moment. They continued to walk, puushing aside many a fat guy who dared to walk in the opposite direction.

By the time they crossed the end of the shit-river, their umbrellas were done for, thanks to the strong wind! But that didn’t discourage the duo. They grabbed a can of beer each, started sipping it (a totally illegal thing to do by the way , drinking and walking on a pedestrian path) and fought the wind that was strong enough to blow away any lesser mortal. The rain pierced their chests like broken glass. The Mumbai manholes were open everywhere, waiting for the passsers-by to get swalloed into their deep dark mouths. The thugs of the slums waited under their ragged-raincoats and hidden knives to attack tired pedestrians and rob them of their cash and courage. The storm clouds grew darker and heavier in the sky that was a homogenous dark blue. B and P walked on ….


Three quarters of a century later, Uncle BKS , an old close friend  of theirs, was narrating this tiny little incident to his great grand kids.

“Did they survive ? ” asked the little son of his 12 th grandchild.

To this, Uncle BKS smiled.

The kids looked at the way he smiled a most peculiar smile. That which was a half-smile that spoke of sarcasm. They further remembered how he hides a last fag in his sock, just in case a cigarette shop is not available nearby.

Before they said anything, BKS smiled and said ..I see you have noticed!Yes! How would I get these habits if they didn’t survive that evening … 🙂

And so he remembered P & B, and how that day, ….

They walked like men, bracing the fury of the wind, the sharp sting of the rain, the heaviness of their dripping formals, the uncertainty of their last fag’s lifetime in the face of the wet rain and the gothic excitement of facing the walk across rain-hit Wadala …..

5 responses to “The MUMBAIkar saga – Episode 3: The Great Wadala Stride

  1. You forgot the undoing of the shirts to add to the general ruggedness of the look and of course, the grand party that followed that evening. 😉

    You’ve given me a topic for my first proper post now – my interpretation of what happened. 😀

  2. On second thoughts, there is very little that I can change from this version. And it is very true to the spirit of the “Great Wadala Stride” adventure.

    I’m topic-less again. 😦


  3. oh come on!! .. you’re portraying balak in such a manly way … you must be kiddin’ me !!! 😀

  4. @ rickety and slash :

    Wait till you listen to more such stories .. 😀

  5. dont tell me man
    the master of all treks bad and intense, is now glorifying a little walk across water ? 😛

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