Sunset -Maula Ali

After many a jittery night spent wondering about job prospects the hipposaur ends up working in a small newspaper in the city. Although it’s a pretty big banner in Chennai, the paper is unlikely to be read by more than 54 people at any given time in the city, that includes his editor and himself. So there he is, features reporter, occasionally mingling with high profile local page three types and small-time celebrities at five star hotels over glasses of Teachers and tikka kababs. It’s a rush, unlike anything in the hipposaur’s pathetic little life as salad bowls decked with dainty olive and thyme garnishes go hand in hand with conversation, a quick exchange of visiting cards, a smile and the customary ‘take care, do keep in touch’ bit.
The illusion, however, starts to crumble the moment he takes the 9:24 train down to the place he lives in - a small rented ground floor house with this guy working in another newspaper. The lane through which he enters passes by the rail tracks, where drunken men beat up their wives every night, screaming obscenities. His two-rupee train ride back home brings him back to reality, leaving tinkling wine flutes and ambient lighting at distant Banjara hills.
It’s a complete life, in a certain sense. You get to experience both sides of this mad, mad city, as laptop-bearing techies jostle with local bustee waalis for an inch on the train footboard. His crumpled shirt has patches of sweat where his backpack rests as he shoves his way out of the train. A few old men and women look up as he avoids the muddy bylanes, ever so carefully. A light breeze picks up as he light up a Wills Flake and heads home. Maybe it will rain for a few days more, but who can tell?

1 comment:

myriadmind said...

funnily the men who beat up their wives are drunk on their wives earnings and want more!
Yes complete circle it is