Garbage is the intimate enemy. It greets you at the foot of your door. It crosses bridges between rich and poor, industry and commerce, agrarian and urban. It flows in routes of its own drawing, making new places for desire and disgust. Youth pass by carelessly, as if they were certain it would be wiped out soon enough. Deities look on forlornly. Women cover their faces with saris. Men square their shoulders. I shut my eyes. And it rains.

These narrow alleys house small blast furnaces, sooted sinewy youth, Bhojpuri movie theaters, locked factories, broken windows, handcarts, wheelbarrows, trucks, buses, swearwords, tears, sweat and blood. G.T. Road (North) turns into G.T. Road (South). Workers and small enterprises turn into shopkeepers and schoolgirls. They discuss today's exam. The boy teases them for the mistakes they made. They jostle for breathing space and stench-free air. Running until the stench dissolves. Chicken are chopped into biriyani. Blood turned into curry. Rats hidden away in dark holes.

The rains come down in merciless mirth. Tugging at doors and saris. Pulling out forgotten stories from dark crevices. Breaking boundary walls of clean and dirty. If they didn't come, we'd pray to the rain gods. And wipe our burnt faces. Water is boon and curse. It melts, wipes and runs about ungoverned. Solid is governed easier than water. A stone stays where you put it, if you manage to keep it there. But water flees. As if it can't read boundaries. Between garbage and commodity. Sacred and profane.


Anonymous said…
There is no such thing as garbage. There are recyclables, compost and the rest.

The profane is merely the sacred found in mixed company.

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