Lunch Hour-Sanam Sharma


Illustration by Sagarika Tumkar

It’s lunch hour.

An unfriendly mob is unleashed,

onto the narrow city streets.

They edge past each other,

twiddling away on their phones.

Rarely do they look up yet,


all walk in neat self-designated lines,

dodging, hopping, and swerving past one another,

like that cluster of ants that often

scoot along my garage door at home.

Each one of them


blinkered by a thought, or a demon.

The queue at the bank teller grows.

As a few more join in, it runs out of space.

So it wriggles around itself twice. Almost

still fixated on their phones,


they do not look up, yet gently,

nudge and weave, keeping their places,

in the meandering queue. Like a herd of sheep.

A bunch of them await at the pedestrian crossing.

As the walking man turns green,

they all march on, heads down,

fingers fidgeting on their phones,

tailgating each other in undefined unison.

They flock to the corner sushi bar,


to check out its new ‘lunch special’.

As they reach the top of the queue, they

look up, at the menu on the wall and

order their meal.

Another queue forms on the side,


almost perpendicular to the first one.

These are the ones that have ordered, and await.

So they get back to their phones.

All of them.

Heads bowed, fingers dabbling on screens.

A few moments go by, and


they all start disappearing. At great pace.

Squirming back into tiny cubicles,

stacked up within towering high rises.

Within minutes, they are all gone.

And the wind, starts to howl again,

freely through empty laneways.


Lunch hour had ended.

Sanam Sharma is a writer of Indian origin, residing in Melbourne, Australia. He has recently authored his first poetry collection, ‘Tamed Words’ (Authors Press, India).