Their best


The working men in the opposite buildings return home honking ,though it is almost midnight, and soon they have gone up to their places the burglar alarms break out shattering the just-arrived silence of night. The roaming cattle have rubbed against the mini-cars. At this time of the night some kids can be heard playing cricket in their courtyard; the bouncing of plastic ball and the banging of bat against the cemented floor, and the noise travelling through the joined-floors. It is Sunday night one wonders why the kids are still allowed to play cricket: the syndrome of IPL tournament and the world cup hangover. My eyelids become heavier, but my heated restless body turns from one side to another on the inch-thick mattress below the newly bought sheet, which the retailer said it would never fade.

I have barely slept four hours; the loud bangs on my door as well on others’ make me wonder what’s going on: the creation of rolled up newspapers bound in rubber bands and thrown up from the dust-covered lane. Good that my landlord doesn’t have a glass door. Thinking I should get a glance the paper I open the door, but the sight of littered waste from the bin by the dog makes me forget my desire to read. After the adventurous feat at night the dogs also left their marks behind; excrements.
I’m done sweeping and my floor is good for another hour. Before I have laid my eyes on the front page of the paper the green grocers in push carts have declared their arrival in well modulated voices, and soon baskets and buckets hanging from ropes from the hands of housewives are suspended and those on the highest floor shout their orders and haggle.
The green grocers linger emitting, travelling well through the neighbourhood. Their absence is now filled up by waste collectors who show up with folded sacks strapped on their bicycle carriers and their distinct noise coming out from one corner of the mouth. Tens of them paddle along from morning till evening, but none has a substantial. As dusk creeps in their voices are drowned out by high-decibel lorry horns on 125ccbikes, exhibiting greatness. And competing vigorously with the 125ccbikers are the people in mini-cars honking incessantly like those buses driving through the thick elephant jungles.
No conscious individual comes out to say anything as though everybody is in good term with the cacophony and this is some sort of an eternal festivity. One could ask how one can stay at home and concentrate while living in houses without noise proof? To a new comer, who was accustomed to overheard-IT skills and the jogging economy, this could be his wrong place where nothing has inched and what has been is what had been.
Each time India wins a cricket match against any nation the collective enthusiasm is spontaneously flamboyant: ladies cheering from balconies, men dancing and beating the drums till early morning under a sky spangled with fireworks. How that oneness is spectacular to me. But this oneness in celebration leaves behind the dust-covered lanes and roads strewn with papers and plastic bags, and in the morning more plastic and paper waste are pushed out from their domains thickening the litters, but for this there is no oneness or a collective spontaneous enthusiasm to clean up the mess. Civil responsibility here is virtually absent.
This attitude can be seen everywhere; a lower middle class family with an income of twenty thousand rupees with a sole breadwinner living in a crammed flat in a dilapidated block can employ maids to sweep and launder clothes. Often time those people are seen just sitting with litters at their feet waiting for their underpaid maids to come and clean up the mess.
Though I’m new in Delhi I have a feeling that I should knock on the doors and ask them to send one able person from each family with some money to sweep the neighbourhood, at least, once a week and buy some bins for the waste. Would my call be considered as an insult to their status?


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