I Ran Into My Younger Self on a Mumbai Local

The boy on the train
Looked so young
Puberty’s newest ward
on your way
To be a man

Spoke of friendships
Dream colleges
All your life planned
Yet tomorrow,
seemed uncertain

The boy on the train
A lanky fucker
A short one
You spoke of girls
Girls in fancy clothes
Girls who spoke English
You lanky fucker
Reminded me of me

The boy
left the train
But sent me spiraling
What sort of person will you be?
Which books will you read?
Movies? Music?
Which college will you go to?
KC? Jai Hind? HR?
Will they be kind to you?
And you to them?

The boy on the train
Will you be scared of English?
“Not that English is everything…but still”
How fast the words flow
References to a different world
The incessant pop culture
And the ten minute rehearsal
inside your head
Before you speak

You didn’t seem the sort
Perhaps you will be better than I

In the five stations
That your life crossed with mine
And our persons squeezed in proximity
Made me wonder
For my own sake
What you’d become
The friends you’ll have
The hate you may feel
Or love you may experience
But never express
Or do
Only to feel it dissolve
In the fleeting pointlessness of adolescence
the despondency that seems permanent
but isn’t

The boy on the train
Hurt less
Yourself and others
You may not want to
But you will
As the sun rises
Or as you breathe

The boy
Learn to love the sea
The streets of difference and chaos
Skillfully making your way
Running into strangers
On your way
To an unknown future

You may know all this already
But in this moment
You are me
A ghost of my past
So advise I must
Lest we be lost

Unfair this may seem
To ask so much of you
But you are me
Or what I was

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Featured image credit: Reuters