“Dirty”

A crescent Moon

Against the backdrop of Jahaan’s grimy skin

Under the shade of

His unkempt hair

Will tell you that he is too happy today.

If you are one of the residents

Of the big building

Just across the road from

His makeshift home,

He might even come up to you

With his beaming smile

And tell you that he found a clean Bisleri bottle 

In the sewer drain just beside his home,

The pipe that he sleeps in with his dog Tinku

Is just the right size for Jahaan

Like it was manufactured

Only to fit the world in it.

But Don’t visit him in the morning,

For then he is out

For his job.

And if you visit him in the evening,

His dishevelled face

And mucky clothes will tell you,

That his is the only job in the world

That dresses him up

After it’s done.

But, he takes pride in his job

If you ask him, he will tell you he just got promoted.

He will tell you that he likes

Collecting garbage from door to door

Better than

Selling pens

Or flags on holidays

From car to car,

Signal to signal.

Or better than

His first job

Where he wore dirty clothes too,

But, to beg on Akbar road.

He will tell you that he likes the sound that bells of different houses make

Better than

His hoarse voice saying “Paanch ka ek, Paanch ka ek” until someone opened the window.

And if you are lucky,

He will even show you his collection,

Jahaan’s treasure from the grime,

He’d say.

A red toothbrush, a tennis ball, a coloured pencil, even a CD at times

He knows the name of every object.

Okay, he asked the Chowkidaar!
He will tell you how much he loves

His treasures

And in between , remember to pick up the innuendo:

Sometimes, he loves the dirt too.

The only thing he hates,

Is the stench that comes with it.

That lingers on to his clothes

And body long after he has abandoned the dirt

And makes all his friends run away from him

Except Tinku.

He might ask you to gift him a “Perfiyum”,

As he heard from one of his friends.

So next time, you visit

Do remember to take the housewarming present

And tell him,

That the plastic perfume might make plastic people​ love him for a while,

But the real perfume,

Is within him

That makes him love himself every single day.
And then, when you return

To your painted home

With colossal walls,

And vintage halls,

Insulated from even a speck of dirt,

The dirt that you call filth

And that fills you up with disgust and dread,

Let his voice resound inside your dusty heart

To tell you that his was a home without filters,

But, unlike those who run away from him, calling him ‘Dirty’,

The dirt in his home does not come from within.

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