December 7, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: Stuck. Highway. Disgusting. By Zarin Virji

1 min read

Drab. Dreary. Soulless. 

The Western Express Highway. Greyer than the monsoon sky. Why is it named ‘highway’? There’s nothing high about it and where’s the way out of it? Once you’re on it, you wait it out like a prison sentence. Deliverance takes two to five hours for the North-South commute. Peak hours and non-peak hours – can’t be said with reference to Mumbai. A sliver of land, jam-packed with bodies writhing against each other, in sweat and discomfort. You keep your eyes fixed on the cars up front. Movement is frozen. Hardly anyone honks. Surprising. Are they monks with Ferraris? No way! More like Suzukis and Hyundais.

Mumbai can upset anyone’s best–laid plans. You’ve chosen an afternoon but who knew the Andheri road over bridge would crumble, blocking the rail tracks as well as the road meeting the highway. You ask for the usual – a prime sedan – but Ola’s only offering shared rides in their ungainly Wagon-Rs. Your date with the lawyer is fixed. What do you do? Rage silently. Before giving in. Sit upright in that cooped-up cab, after your wet wipes have sanitized the dust-flecked seat.

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