Waterloo Station, London. Time: 22 hrs GMT.
Thousands of people pouring in and out of London. Escalators, like conveyor belts, transporting people in all directions. Men, women, transgenders, children, all looking only ahead. Some carry coffee/tea mugs in one hand and Metro in the other. The modelling continues throughout the journey. There is absolutely no eye contact but every person is aware of their surrounding and the presence of others as they glide, wriggle, dodge, walk past without knocking into anyone. The whole scene looks like an alien experiment designed to study human behaviour after being injected with a soul-sucking drug. We seem to be all alone together. I am dispassionately humming Abba and switching to The Kinks’ eponymous number.
A piano busker comes into my view. He is playing and singing The Long and Winding Road that echoes in the tunnel. And as if the alien drug injected in me wore off just then….I feel a stabbing pain in my heart. My soul wakes up and moistens my eyes. Tears roll down my cheeks like broken string of pearls. McCartney wrote every single word for me, it seems. I walk past the pianist, mouthing the song as it peters out…
Many times I’ve been alone, and many times I’ve cried.
Anyway, you’ll never know the many ways I’ve tried.
You left me standing here…..
La la la, lalla laaaa…ta ta taaaah…hmmmmm..hmmm
– Sapna Dhandh-Sharma