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
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
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,
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
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
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.