On Living Alone

Rochelle D’silva

October 16, 2018

What is it like to live alone in a city like Mumbai? Even as the city becomes more populated, we find ourselves growing more and more isolated. Do we know our neighbours? If we are rained in our apartments for four days, would we have any human company? Does anybody know we live in this building? In this poem, Rochelle succinctly yet accurately captures the joy and perils of living alone.

After 4 days it finally stops
The incessant pelting of rain
on the tin roof outside my window

I can finally hear the ticking of the clocks
Out of sync

Is this what silence feels like?
The opportunity to create rhythms?

The quieter I feel
The more appliances join in

I don’t need a cat!

I complain that Bombay is never quiet
In protest, I always have headphones in

It has been 4 days of
conversations with myself
Where does all the water go? What must it
feel like to absorb so much? When will it stop?

I put my bins out at midnight
Don’t know who my neighbours are
The watchman is the only human
that can vouch I live here

I like it better this way
I tell myself
The quiet freedom
to exist on my own terms

The forecast says there’s much more
rain to come
I’m going to need a new umbrella
I guess silence is overrated anyway.

Rochelle writes about her travels, cultural influences, and personal experiences. Her poems; furnished with deep imagery and functional metaphors provide clear pathways into her world and her ethos. She has been a part of numerous literary fests around India. She curates a monthly poetry open mic in Mumbai called ‘Words Tell Stories’ that features local and international artists and runs a slam series called ‘Mumbai Poetry Slam’. She released India’s first poetry and music album titled ‘Best Apology Face’ in 2017. Her debut collection of poetry, When Home Is An Idea was published in August 2017. She endorses hugs. Follow her on Instagram.