Sleepy Men

10:15 p.m.

Inner Ring Road aka Mahatma Gandhi Marg in Delhi.

The stretch of this road from Rajghat to the Maharana Pratap Interstate Bus Terminus.

The broad, impressive expanse of this road is interrupted by the narrow divider where Alistonia has just begun to welcome the autumn with its fragrant flowers.

Lie untroubled and asleep on this divider scores of men. Feet of this one touching the head of the one below. As seen from the window screen of a moving car, this chain appears never-ending. Ah Woe Betide! The bronze spoon I was born with in my mouth! The riches, the ‘society’ and the obligations I have to take care of. Thanks to these aspects of the worthless life I have come to lead, I can’t get to spend this night here like any of these souls have to. A poignant morose sounding blog post about this sight should be great!

Millions of vehicles from both sides of the road traverse the scripts of hundreds of those dreams. Fairies come close, kiss and get crushed under the screeching wheels of the speeding cars before their palms get to fondle any further. Damsels in the other dreams get picked up by the cyclists and the autos before they uncork that wine and offer to the parched lips. At home, a wife in a yellow saari with a story and a child with an embrace wait. The words of that tale are not audible in the first go and the arms are at such a distance- the noise and the bright lamp posts. The city never sleeps!

Some emaciated, some hungry, some newcomers, some old timers.  A few sit huddled together and smoke. Once in a while this philosopher breaks this chain as he stares at the stars and wonders if it would rain tonight. Nine out of a hundred awake and calculating the hours of the night that remain. As night falls, the vehicles would be less frequent. At around two, they would almost disappear and allow for some sleep that will be a mix of relief interspersed with annoying aphids, lice and arachnids of all kinds. Thinking of food, this one weeps. His top down neighbor might get a good job in the morning. He is thinking of tomorrow’s evening already.

Some lie adjacent in pairs and share the sheet. Must be from the same place ‘back there’. Talking about the quarrel with their common childhood friend over the two thousand rupees that he did not return, their eyelids have just gone too heavy. They just mutter to themselves- Bahinchod!

Of an alley where the grand old man lies cremated on the bank of the Yamuna. The big brave King’s name shining on the main building of the Bus Station. In the midst of this greatness rests a banality- one that I have not ever lived. I should be wisely wishing for anything here- what if a segment of that wish were to come true! ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ is another axiom I have to sleep thinking about tonight!

In the dead of the night, one would tell me tomorrow, came to him the spirit of the Mahatma pillion riding on Maharana‘s horse and wept inconsolably at the comfort and at the bliss that this divider teems up with as and when the stars appear brighter and shinier! On the parallel, outer ring road aka K B Hedgewar Marg must be dozing off another set of nationalists and nation builders!


28 thoughts on “Sleepy Men”

    1. In that case, I will consider this post a mild success in terms of bringing my imagination of being ‘there’ down on paper.
      What you say is quite encouraging. Vicariousness need not always be a wave of sympathy. The causes behind the sudden outpour of emotions at something sordid as this sight is surely some very interesting domain to excavate and reflect about! Won’t you agree?

      Thanks a lot!

  1. A true picturesque of a night in a city full of dreams…The description is nostalgic and poignant.It takes us to the very own destination of the dreams we have and the ones we achieve.The reality of thousands of people who have their aspirations crushed,still lay their under the starlit sky.mindboggling thoughts reflect in the post as they in the mind’s of the philosopher. A genuine question? Maharana wept inconsolably..The desperation of the souls who had laid the foundation of our sovereignity is very well placed..loved this one Amit.It gives a beautiful picture of your imagination

  2. A lyrical description of waht every one sees everyday and just move on!
    An undertone of realism among the miltitude of seemingly depressing ‘facts’!
    A lesson in the life – Learn to be जलकमलवत – A lily in the water, be in the water , grow in that water, but remain unattached. Unlike Teflon, where nothing sticks.

  3. A wonderful post about a street, but more about men, about dignity, about life, about poverty, about spirituality. It could be anywhere in the world yet so very Indian. A night of pondering.

  4. उन फुटपाथ पर मैने कभी कभी झलक पायी है – किसी महान मूर्तिकार के खुरदरे शिल्प की। कभी कभी कोई मैली कुचैली महिला यूं नजर आती है वहां – मानो उसे कहीं देखा हो – शायद अजिंठा की किसी गुफा के भित्तिचित्र की सुन्दरी के रूप में।
    भारत विविधताओं का देश है और देखने के लिये दूर नहीं जाना होता!

    आपने बहुत सुन्दर लिखा बन्धु!

  5. Again I’m in complete awe of your narrative skills.. Whenever my college bus stops by a busy signal, I have something similar going on in my mind and you put it so wonderfully …. Amazing 🙂

  6. “They just mutter to themselves- Bahinchod!” 😛
    For the first time you’ve acted as a ‘complete’ realist with restraining your words. This is what a creative writer does, not just this but much more, which you need to google… hahaha! 😀

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