He works as a security guard. Far from home. Like two nights and one day away. That's very far in train terms. He sees his family only twice a year. Going home for Diwali is a constant. And once more, whenever the opportunity fell through. He speaks a different dialect. And lives in a single room asbestos shack. He cooks his meals on a solitary stove. Three neat meals everyday. Rice and dals and rotis. Sometimes chicken too. Aromas fill the air around his one roomed existence. Apparently, he uses garlic in everything. Whenever I see him, he is slicing garlic, chopping garlic, crushing garlic in his stone pestle.
She works as a sweeper for the municipality. Wearing one of those fluorescent jackets over her tattered sari, she would sweep the sides of roads. She collected polyethylene bags and plastic bottles and gutka sachets from the streets that somebody forgot to put in the garbage bin and put then in her sack which she would finally load into the garbage truck. She worked with poise. As if there was no hurry. In her own comfort zone. She would smile at other women like her and at the end of it all share their harvest. They plucked whatever was worthy from the trees on the land beside the streets that nobody owned. Be it drumsticks, or wild spinach, or papaya or pumpkin flowers or guava. There was never much. But how much ever there was, the sweeper woman and her friends took their shares in the pouches they made from the ends of their saris.