Shoeshine Timmy

Shoeshine Timmy sits outside

the Charminar polishing shoes.

I wonder where he learned to

speak such fluent English

and why he insists on using

an Anglicised name.

Sometimes I wonder if he’s

even real or just a figment

of my imagination made real

because I dread meeting

relatives at the wedding

reception I have to attend tonight.

Maybe Timmy’s my creative

impetus personified because

I’m running out of things to say

as the hour approaches when

I have to meet a huge gathering

of people and answer when

they ask me what I’m doing

with my life. The old faces now

older with bloodshot

eyes, pornstaches and crooked

teeth merge to form a monstrosity

straight out of the Bayonetta series,

but there’s Timmy in the corner

polishing shoes. He doesn’t tell

me I’ve distanced myself from

my culture, or have forsaken

religion, doesn’t hate or

sneer or criticise or look smugly

while I stumble

over my words, the sentences

forming vortexes which sweep

me away, toss me about,

slam me against walls that

separate life from death.

“You must try the fruit salad

in that shop.

It’s one of the best things

to eat in Hyderabad,” says Timmy

as he polishes

my shoes while the demon approaches

with five wings and eight ears.

“They never accepted

my friend requests and I hope

they don’t out me

as being mentally ill,” I reply,

but Timmy only says, “You know,

there was a fountain

here with links of white gold.

They didn’t realise it was gold

until the Nawab’s descendant

read about it somewhere

and took the chains away

in the middle of the night,

claiming what was rightfully his,”

and whistles and dusts my shoes.

8 responses to “Shoeshine Timmy”

  1. Seems like a change of scene has inspired you. Shoeshine Timmy sounds fascinating. His stories could probably make a few volumes of books. I recommend trying the mutton biryani while you’re there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Find some way to distract yourself during the function. Imagine Timmy giving a narrative on everything you see, or something…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I figured I might write a sequel from Timmy’s POV. After the wedding perhaps.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah it did inspire me a little bit. Timmy will probably come up with more stories. But I need to visit more places and find out more about the culture here. I will probably try the mutton biryani. I want to try Mandi too. Everyone eats that here. Thanks for the comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vivid imagery, Nitin, especially liked the description of the older faces…easy to picture. Sounds like Timmy is pretty good at redirecting conversation….maybe you can channel him at the event? 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was really anxious before the event, but I calmed down eventually, sat, ate and talked to a few people. I might bring Timmy back for a sequel once I find out more about the culture here and the stories that helped create it. Thanks Dawn 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That takes me back to a funeral I attended. Weddings and funerals with relatives merge into a similar thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I guess that’s true in a way. I managed to get through the whole thing though. And the people were actually quite nice. I guess when I went expecting to have a horrible time, and things turned out differently.


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About Me

Ordinary Person is a guy who likes to write. He writes fiction, essays, poems and other stuff.


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