A surviving STD, ISD, PCO, Local Call
Run by a woman
who also talks to people who come to make a call.
The callers are always talking loudly
Almost shouting like in the days when people used to wait
for it to be 9 in the night to make an important call.
The callers are mostly women here too
they carry lunch and towel in plastic bags of shops in faraway places.
Dress materials, toy shops, suiting and shirting,
sometimes discarded Jhama sweet shop bags from Chembur.
The callers discuss family problems.
Problems about money and money orders
working women who work on construction sites,
road building, cable laying,
back-breaking stone-breaking like jobs
maybe they have older daughter back home
filling her place
Sons who go to school to learn nothing useful.
Mothers-in-law who complain often.
Husbands who are out drinking.
The woman who runs the booth knows all their problems.
She is watching people at the bus stop without any interest.
Her ears pick up all the conversations
imagines the rest of the story,
just like me.