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Sunder And Sonati

When I was six or seven
I used to walk
From home
Sargent House on Barrow Road
To school, a few buildings away
J J Montessori
In a barsati of
Red Shield House
The Salvation Army Building
On Mereweather Road

In the 70's
South Bombay had
More than its fair share of
Hippies and Druggies
And we kids learnt early enough
To navigate around
Supine bodies
Discarded syringes

One day, though
At the entrance to
The school building
Near a sign saying
Do Not Loiter In The Foyer
I came upon
A couple standing and shouting
At each other
Both wearing T-shirts saying
Make Love Not War

I went up to them
Patted the man on his thigh
Craned my neck
To look up at them
Pointed to the T-shirts
And asked
Why are you two fighting?
They looked down at me
(From a great height)

And smiled.

The man pulled out
A bar of
Cadbury's Milk Chocolate
For me

All smiles
They walked away
Hand in hand

I climbed the
Four storeys to school
And told Janki miss
What had happened:
She smiled

We shared the cholcolate out
With my class
At recess:
All smiles