As each of us works our way towards material comfort, winning over the struggle to survive at first and then, to find a cosier niche for ourselves in society…someone else is losing the battle.
That someone is not always a face you recognise.
That person occupies the place in the street just like you, traversing through. If you look carefully, you can see that her eyes are wary, her pace rash and unpredictable. The walker on the street is vulnerable.
Surely, this person must have deserved lesser than you. She must have come from another place…
Far away from yours?!!
-Samarendra M. Ramachandra
As a young girl I used to walk
Miles and miles until the dark
Greeting strange people
Smelling strange scents
I walked because I could
I walked because I would
I walked and walked
until it was time to go home
Now grown, and trapped in a big city
I long to walk again
To meet those strange people
And smell the strange scents
To listen to the stories they all want to tell
Only, there is not another soul walking
There is not a single street to walk on.
Everywhere cars zoom by
Screeching, screaming, rushing through
In this jungle of concrete
Long forgotten are the mysteries of a stroll
People with no time to spare
And for those who do,
There is no space to share.
Are motorists a higher race?
Of a higher God, in this concrete maze.
And those like me who simply long to walk
The city mocks.
Greets us with dump
And danger on the streets… Does no one care?
For us pedestrians, seemingly of a lesser God
Ignored by the city
Trampled over by the urban maul.
PHOTOGRAPH: Malavika Sivaraju