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Street hawker

An old and despondent looking man trying to sell some calendars by placing his wares on a temporary shelf on the road. We should buy maximum from such persons instead of buying from online stores.

Many a times i see some hawkers have only a few items to sell on their mat. I wonder how much he would be able to sell and would that feed his family and provide his kids something to eat and clothes to wear.

Life is tough for people on the fringes, for its brutal out there, what with online e-commerce stores trying to outsell everybody, even the kirana stores, the local mom and pop stores, the street side vegetable and fruit vendors and street hawkers. Then they have to also contend with the authorities swooping down on them occasionally and confiscating their goods.

Its a tough brutal life for the street vendors.

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It was early morning 3.00 a.m. when the alarm rings and time for me to wake up and get ready for our annual Mumbai marathon, the annual pilgrimage for all marathon lovers of India and abroad.

The morning routines are all set – drink plenty of water, don the running clothes, shoes, make some eats for the long run, preferably oats, pin the bibs to the tee shirt, ensure you carry some spare money for the train journey and beer at the end of the race. The most scary part of the morning routine is getting out of the house and being accosted by a pack of hungry stray dogs. That’s it, if I am able to go past through those angry dogs, then I can comfortably cross the marathon finish line, come what may, no fear.

Taking the train involves first an auto rickshaw ride with the cold winds hitting against your chest and face. The first train to Churchgate and it is packed with runners galore. Other passengers are gawking at us, wondering from where these creatures have emerged on this day.

A huge contingent of runners get down in Lower Parel to take the trip to the half marathon whereas many of us go all the way to Churchgate station for the walk to the Azad maidan starting point. By the time we reach Churchgate station, our bladders are about to burst so it’s a quick trip to the toilet and then the long walk via New Marine Lines Road, Khau Galli, by passing the Fashion Street, and onto the Azad maidan.

Here you will invariably find a huge queue with nervously excited runners desperate to enter the main arena as quickly as possible and then don the running gear and do some warm ups. In between you exchange hi fives and greetings with fellow runners, crack some jokes and join the multitude of runners at the starting point.

The full marathon starts at 5.40 a.m. so it’s again a long walk to the starting point, the hooter goes off with the A slot runners first going through followed by B slot runners and then if you are in the C or D slot you enter the starting line a cool 10 minutes later.

At the starting line, it’s all a culmination of nervous energy, excitement, adrenalin coursing through your veins as you cross the mat to start your marathon journey. You know that once you cross that start line, then there is nothing to deter you from crossing the finish line, whatever time it takes.

Some mornings are precious.

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Dead End

Yesterday night Hari had a dream. It was more like a dead-end dream. Going from one place to another with no result. Hari was like in a bus depot which ferries passengers from one place to another, but he could not see any other passengers. He was looking for a particular bus, but he had no idea which bus and which place that bus goes to. There were stairs that he climbed in, he did not know that bus depot had stairs in them, but this one did. But everywhere he went,, there was a dead end, it was like a forbidden territory, like a huge chasm, which he could not possibly hope to jump and go across. What are these places, why do these dreams occur and what is the meaning of these dreams? Are these dreams part of our thought process reflected through the sub conscious. What is the meaning of the dead ends, does it mean that Hari has no future, or does it reflect his fears, his insecurities, his inner worries.

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