Creative nonfiction

Where the streets have no name


For a little over a decade while growing up, I lived on the same street. The street was lined with apartment blocks, most named after a river in India. The street itself, had no name.

While there were a few trees that lined the street, the ugly exterior of seven-storey tall buildings initially captured your sights. The colours of the buildings — a faded beige and blue or else, beige and brown — added to a depressing view. Stray dogs roamed freely on the street, feeding off the overflowing rubbish bin at one end or helpful strangers like myself.

During the day, the vegetable vendor walked the length of the street selling his wares. Beans, potatoes, tomatoes — all at one’s doorstep. His cries of ‘bhaajiwala‘ echoed for those few hours. Children made their way to the main street to catch buses, maids turned up at apartments to clean or cook. The street would quieten down in the afternoons until it was time for children to return from school.

In the evenings, the drab street would come to life with games of cricket. Make-shift stumps using bottles, bricks or boxes, lines marked on the road to indicate the crease and shouts of ‘car‘ warning players to move out of the way to allow the road to be used for its actual purpose.

We played cricket too but mostly confined to the apartment block we lived in. It wasn’t something you took lightly. Shouts of ‘catch it‘ or ‘six‘ were not uncommon at the sound of bat thwacking the ball. Cricket balls would mysteriously disappear if hit into the bushes. It was almost as if there was a vortex where they could vanish into.

By seven, mothers could be heard calling their children back home. Studies were important, dinner was ready. ‘Five more minutes‘ was a common retort. The streets quietened by around nine or ten. Later in the night, a solitary car or couple hiding away from parents could be heard. The murmurs of the night-watchmen of the different apartment blocks carried through the humid air. The birds settled for the night while the stray dogs rested where they could.

The street with no name fell asleep at night before waking up to a brand new day.

(c) Sanch Vee @ Sanch Writes (7 April 2016)

Inspired by the Daily Prompt: Street

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  • Ngobesing Romanus
    7 April 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Happy to learn about your locality.

  • Lata Sunil
    7 April 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Good writing.. I liked this. You have described sounds, sight, people very well.

  • Shantala
    7 April 2016 at 11:39 pm

    This is so much like the street that I grew up on, but I feel that it did have a name (I am not sure – which says a lot). And since it was a fairly busy street, cricket on the road was banned – but stray balls always found their way there, much to annoyance of the drivers of motorized vehicles. God knows, the present day me would be annoyed with flying balls as I drive. 😛
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  • Anamika Agnihotri
    9 April 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Street with names or no names but the scene is common to majority of the streets in India of the middle-class. I still remember the bhajiwala, shouting in hindi, the names of the vegetables in funny manner like “Timaatar le lo” for Tamatar or Tomatoes. And yes the cricket too. I have played it too, the gully cricket with the special condition that I will finally get ‘out’ only when I get out 3 times 🙂
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