10. delhi

I know I have seen this road before, or I think I have, one with a laundrywallah pressing Mr. Chandra’s collar in the middle of the street as-calm-as-you-please as the rickshaw bikers yell across him, two teenage boys lankily strolling, one’s arm around the other’s neck, pulling him close to leer at a girl in an anarkali hurriedly walking past, an automan slipping a bidi from his pocket and lighting it with the flick of a match, yelling about the staticked cricket match in the tea stall next door, a hijra with powdered face and jeweled bindi clapping her hands and crooning, “baaaby” in a husky man-voice, a young boy with paste bucket plastering posters on top of each other expertly, in rows, interrupting the last one’s peeling SEX PROBLEMS PENIS DESEAS TEST TUBE BABYS, this is not the way to Lajpat, this is not the way to anywhere I have known, this city snarls and chokes on itself in tangled powerlines that will come down for hours in fire crashes, and no one will come to fix them because the city will continue living without them, I am LOST the scraping of woodplanes, the bicycle bells cacophonizing, I turn to ask someone where the nearest station is but they push past, in a city of fifteen million I am alone, I am alone.

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