2 min read

A  Bengal  monsoon  burst 

catches  me  without  an  umbrella 

My  helplessness  —  nothing 

a  warm  bath  and  a  hot 

cup  of  tea  cannot  remedy  —  fountains 

from  a  habit  I  perfected  into  trait 

through  six  years  of  NCR  conditioning. 

You’ve  got  trees  —  nature’s  own  umbrella 

said  a  colleague  on  our  way  to  the  metro. 

We  walked  under  the  rumbling  roof, 

counting  the  trains  we  missed,  not  

so  much  the  droplets  tapping  my 

shoulders  with  the  inevitability 

of  a  post-precipitation  cold  and 

the  periodicity  of  a  milestone.    

An  asbestos  roof  juts  out 

more  than  half-a-feet.  My  butt

squishes between the naked brick 

wall and my conscious attempts 

at tucking in an already sucked-in 

belly. The corrugation of the roof

makes a cell out of cool water. 

I was once told by a man with nauseating

confidence — the kind that is acquired

at birth — that he thought Adivasis

were either malnourished or athletic. 

The fat around my belly suggested no

prospect of a sports-quota job — that I 

was an editor at a private establishment kind of soiled 

the conversation for him. His tongue, 

the dying whip of Durin’s Bane, wondered — 

loud enough for me to hear — before drowning

in loud WhatsApp forwards (mostly songs 

of religious temperament), whether 

Adivasis could do without reservation. 

My first few years in Delhi, I always found myself 

Under the umbrella, hiding. 

I sleeve-swipe my soaked cellphone;

a feeds roulette on Instagram 

informs me about the government’s

decision on OBC quota for medical education.

I read the comments. A rush 

of thick, slimy, putrid secretion rise from concrete 

burrows like foul vampires from graves; it’s amazing

what  only  a  27%  precipitation  could  flush  out. 

I  decide  I  can  walk  back  home  without  an  umbrella.

Ankur Surin belongs to the Munda tribe. He is a writer, editor, and amateur photographer. He is the founder and editor of Pop the Culture Pill. He loves movies, especially Hong Kong movies from the 80s. He is, currently, finding creative ways to procrastinate working on his novel.

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