If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Dec 17, 2007

Who will watch the Watchman?

At the entrance to our building sits our watchman. He's travelled a thousand odd miles from his village in Nepal. Crossed the border and come to Mumbai. To gaurd us against petty thieves and direct the Pizza and Domino delivery guys to the right address. He's left behind wife, children and parents, a few fields that he could barely crack the ground open on to sow some rice,his temple and his king.[ Thank yo Ritchie Blackmore ] He works a twenty four hour shift .Twelve hours with us and twelve hours at another building . He sleeps sitting up. The gate has to be opened everytime a car goes in or out. He has a co-operative with the other watchman in the neighbourhood for his lunch and dinner. The Nepal times is circulated amongst all of them , a few days after it's sell by date but it's still pictures of home [ Thank you Deep Purple ].
He washes the cars at the end of his shift. He escorts the kids when they cross the road. He helps the old Aunties of the building with their bags in and out of rickshaws. Suitcases are carried up and down flights of steps like feather pillows when it's holiday season.
At Christmas time he helps us string up our decorations in the building lobby. He climbs the mango tree to string up the star. He knows the intricacies of the water pumps and gives us last mile connectivity with the BMC water dept. He buys the bread from the breadman when we're out and knows how many kelas each house needs per week.
The underground railroad carries money, clothes and people between Nepal and Mumbai. When he gets so homesick that all the gold in Jhaveri Bazaar cannot keep him here he brings his cousin around and introduces him to everyone in the building.
He heads back home. A three day journey. Part bus, part train and a three hour walk at the end of it all.
Our cousins go to Dubai or California, our brothers join the ship or the oil fields, Jo-Boy went to
New Zeland. Somewhere in Nepal is a twelve year old boy who dreams about being a watchman in Mumbai one day.

1 comment:

LV said...

awesome. particularly liked the last line. lol