Each morning as I walk by the famous firayalal shop a little too early in the morning,
I can see so many newspaper vendors, sitting crosslegged on the road, putting different newspapers into different sections, depending on who prefers to be brainwashed by whom.
I face numerous rickshaw pullers and autodrivers, asking me:
“Madam, kahan jaana hai??”
And on my way back,
I see teastalls opening and the fruitsellers negotiating with the customers.
In the evening, there is a man to be found near our college who keeps a trimmed beard and makes supertasty moong daal pakodas.
Accompanying him is a chubby son of him, not more than ten years old, who would pack them for you and hand it over to you with the green chilli chutney.
Near firayalal if you stand in an ATM queue, then on your right side, you can find another man with a trimmed beard who is always making tea in an aluminium container, which he serves in an aluminum kettle to a large number of people in a row, and with a fluency more electrifying than even the CNN speakers.
Trust me it’s a real treat to watch.
I sometimes stare at the whole magic show of him like a dumbhead, untill the person standing behind me in the line asks me to get inside the ATM.
There are many such stallowners over there, serving chole-bhature, or dosas, or chicken parathas, who are living angels to the ones like us.
If you sit and talk to them for a while, you’ll see how everyone over there claims to have started it first, and how rest others followed his golden footsteps.
Then there is the Maggi uncle,
who owns a regular shop beside our hostel and provides us with all the stuff we need and don’t need.
Each morning when you walk by his shop, you can see him splashing water on the road from his balcony, or simply brooming around.
He is what you call an amiable creature, someone who’ll recognise you even if you come to his shop ten years later with your kids maybe.
I bet he’ll still offer you the newly launched mint tablets to try.
(Not for free though)
And if you are awake at around 2-3 AM, you’ll find a labourer piling up stones and sand on a truck with only a spade.
He does that all alone, almost every night, even in the extremely cold weather.
There are just so many of them.
There are those who alter your jeans for you, fix your shoes for you, and even bring your food for you.
People who are just fine and friendly and aren’t too phony like most of the so-called learned and sophisticated ones.
I sometimes wonder how they must be having dreams like the rest of us.
Dreams of having a secure future for their kids, of having a home to go back to, of being able to make their loved ones happy.
But how much wider than us, is the gulf between them and their dreams?
They in fact are fighting a war that’s not even fair.
The artists, the stars, the world leaders, the so-called intellectuals,
They all seem nice to me.
But in an unbalanced and highly unequal world like this, where most people aren’t largely responsible for what and where they are,
There is nothing more soothing and inspirational than to see a man who knows how to hold on to his dignity,
when everything around him is hell bent on snatching it away from him.