Dozing at the corner seat is a man in his mid-forties. Occasionally waking up with sudden jerks on the road and tightening his grip on the bar that he is holding above. Through years, now this comes naturally to him; he can sleep anywhere, and certainly while commuting. One can find him dangling on an auto-rickshaw, even on the seat beside driver, which practically is outside the entire frame, in dangerous yet refreshing nap!
Not that people don’t notice but it has become a part of their lives. So, intricately woven that they can’t distinguish the hardships from the routine. They don’t mind it anymore but anyone coming from another world can surely tell otherwise.
The wind that blows directly at his face makes his eyelids heavier and with the speed of the auto, as he manages to hold on, shuffling every now and then, to his position, with closed eyes, he transitions to sleep.
This is how he gets his required quota of sleep, as for most nights his mind, that races through so many thoughts and weighs so many options of life & livelihood, ranging from thoughts of changing the job to changing the city or perhaps saving enough money to do something important he had planned on doing for years, keeps him awake. With each thought the expressions on his face changes, frowns come and go, and sometimes he is just lost thinking, staring long into the abyss, expressionless.
It is not hard to read him with those many fine lines crossing at a center, making nodes, and then drifting away like each is a tiny river flowing into its own ocean, only those oceans are nowhere to be seen but there certainly are pits on both sides of his face, formed by his sunken cheeks; and there is no ‘water’ in the ‘rivers’ on his dry and flaky skin. If he had heard of or seen a moisturizer, ever, he certainly hadn’t used one for he wouldn’t waste his hard-earned money into buying a ‘luxury’ when it’s a hand to mouth situation for him almost always. So, since ever, the mustard oil is what is used in his kitchen and also for skin – if he ever did want to use one.
Most people who wear a wrist watch do seldom use it to get time, it’s more of an ornament. It won’t be too much to call it a ‘jewelry’ that men wear. Without exception, I am also a less frequent visitor of my watch and most of the time I don’t. As this isn’t a fancy one, so it just sits there bracing my wrists wondering on its purpose. As for the time, seeing him on my route tells me that I am not late.
Whatever little or much one carries are precious for them and often you would see people caring for baggage more than their own comfort. Tugging his black bag, torn at places and zips given up, with one hand, he reaches out to the bar above to hold it for support while he leans-in with his head tilted right, towards driver, although half of his left body is outside the rickshaw, probably seeking a sense of security while pulling the bag in hard, with left hand, close to his chest, to secure it.
And then, as I watch him, he dozes off in middle of all the traffic, stuck between people, or hanging outside, which could only bring a hint of smile on my face and I’d look up in question, trying to establish a correlation and find some answers. But that’s what everyone of us is doing, isn’t it? – Looking for answers of our own questions.