Dirt can have categories too. There's several kinds of it. First, there's broken bottles, glass. Then there's cardboard, smashed cartons. Then there are polythene bags. Hordes of it. Like our worlds have collapsed into it. Also there are piles of scrap metals. Rubber. And other things, I don't know the names of. Everyday, they sit down in the morning heat and categorize the garbage they pick up. Women and children. Women sit around in spaced out semi circles and talk in their high pitched voices. Covered from neck to toe. Except their beautiful pale yellow faces. Like features carved out of stone. In an artist's mind. Hair tied in a bun. Women who are barely even women yet. Holding babies, clinging to their chest, bend down to inspect the scrap collected for the day. They laugh, their shrill voices aloud. 

Their children, each must have at least four or more, play stray games every day. All damn day, no school. No books, chalks and pencil sharpeners. They roll around cycle tires with a stick. Sit in old abandoned cars and pretend they drive. And there are lots of them. So many of them. Young girls, too hold babies. Boys chase trucks that drive past. Their laughter sounds like utopia. Like the last knot of constraint on human life has been undone. These boys experience, fathomless freedom. The younger ones are naked. The older ones don torn pants and crumpled dirty shirts. Barefeet. Some of them pick out shoes from the garbage it seems. The girls sit on trolleys and watch. In the yellow moon of dusk, they begin to look more like their mothers. It's a scary bent in time, when that happens. The drunk men, who would have just gotten up in the afternoon, after a change of clothes may be, head out to be drunk again, tonite. But before that, they sit down, where the garbage had been categorised in the morning, for a quick game of cards.

The slum nearby is that of prostitutes. It's said that some of these garbage picker women also moonlight as prostitutes. And give them a run for their money. And why not!

No comments: