Them and Me

From a distance, he looks alright. He wears his French nationality on his face, looks hip in a tent of a T shirt. Even his girlfriend appears to be an immigrant at heart, carrying a backpack that says: Born in the USA. But, behind the warm smile and MNC’s ID badge; he daydreams about a brown Abe Lincoln, rising for his defense, ending the curse of slavery.

He never flies off the handle. He hasn’t got a jet pack hidden in his shop. He covered himself with a vest of empty cigarette packs. He prayed when he saw them coming. He was hit, shot back into reality. Decency rolled up in disposable packets of time, chewed off at the tip and finally devoured. Existence as redundant as the letters on the sign: Smoking here is not allowed.

She walks with a feminine grace; she talks to the man with the keys. “The offer is not good enough to wake the beast,” he says. The movie star twirls his moustache, and the lion looks through the glassy forehead. She isn’t a leaper of the fashion world. Bangalore brings out the glamour in you. You can find it the easy way or the hard rock way.

He couldn’t look them in the eye. The shutters were rolling up; shame was on its way to work. He tried hard to stop his crimes from making news. He could have disappeared from the scene; there is always room for him in the infested nest. But he lingered on, sauntered around in the day and night. He lowered his gaze and accepted their superiority. He cursed their working-class hands. Their fingers still make shadow puppets on the wall and fun lives for another breath, under the dying light bulb.