Chai Wallah on the train


Photo by Resham Gellaty

This is my tale of a chai wallah 

Met on an Indian train

If you’ve heard it before forgive me for

You are going to hear it again.


We are travelling on an Indian train

The only non Indians there.

A chai wallah’s moving down the train

And I guess you know the score.


He’s calling out to sell his wares

So this is what we heard, 

“Chai, chai, chai, chai.”

Moving down the train.


“Chai, chai, chai, chai.”

Closer all the time.

“Chai, chai, chai, chai”,

Until he got to me.


Without the slightest hint of pause

Or any break in rhythm

He changed his call 

As he went by me

And this is what we heard.


“Chai, chai, chai, chai,

Chai, chai, Tea, chai, chai”.

He changed his call from chai to tea

Just as he went by me.


Two nations tied together

By so much history

I hope we share our humour

And it’s funny to him

As to me.


The rule of the Indian road


The rule of the Indian road

Is not the same as our own

The bigger you are 

The more road you own

Is the rule of the Indian road.


No one holds back or ever gives way

Always go forward’s the rule of the day.

No matter how small the space

You’ll somehow or other get through.


You must use every inch of the road

Be you tuck tuck, or push bike or car.

No matter how small the space

There’s always a way to get through.


Forget all the rules at a junction

You all have to sort of nudge in.

There’s no holding back

Just find the right space

And somehow 

You’ll push yourself in.


Though their looming towards you

There’ll be a way through;

Breath in there should just be room.


The rule of the road is unruly

There’s no rhyme or reason at all.

And yet they’re not aggressive

You’ll seldom see anger or anxt.


You kind of get through

And others do too

There’s always just enough space.


Now you must sound your horn whenever you pass.

It’s considered the polite thing to do.

It’s never sounded in anger.

It just means nudge up let me through.


Now the rule of the road in India

Is we don’t need too many rules

But the main rule of all

That makes them all work

Is the rule that says

Thou shalt not kill.

India’s Plastic Problem


Once if you went to India
They’d warn you to watch your tum
They’d speak of Delhi Belly
And other joys to come.

But now there is bottled water
You can buy it anywhere
And they don’t tell ‘would be’ tourists
That they will get the runs.

So now they moan about rubbish
They say it’s everywhere
They forget it’s for our stomachs
That much of it is there.

India’s day starts with sweeping
It’s done with a bunch of twigs
And then the rubbish they burn it
It’s always been that way

But those wretched plastic bottles
They just won’t burn away.
So the rubbish made of plastic
Alas will often stay.

So tourists if there’s rubbish
Before you express disgust
Just remember the problem
Is partly caused by us.