India is a land of hierarchies and those who are invisible remain below the rest of society in so many ways. Best way to describe the people of Mumbai is “hidden in plain sight”. They are there. You see them. But you don’t see them really. You can tell even from these photos no one was looking at the man. Andheri Station is luxury if you get to see glimpses of real life like this man, not like the cushioned conditions of South Mumbai.
Have you ever lost a pair of glasses? You can search and search, and only when you are truly exhausted do you realize they were right on top of your head. And you are stupid.
Principle of Occam’s Razor is a part of my daily grind here: the simplest answer is the best one.
I make friends through vada pav.
I stay late at our office. I do a terrible job focusing working in a small space, with so many people, so most of the real work gets done at night. I love the night.
I work in AC Market building. AC Market building in Tardeo is known for housing one David Headley, who was a conspirator in the 2008 Mumbai Terrorist Attacks.
The building has three elevators. The elevator man asks me for money with fake doctor papers. He lights incense inside of an elevator. At this point, I am more likely to be woken by incense than coffee.
Our chaiwallas name is Suresh. Suresh and his other canteen workers live in our building, when the rest of us have homes to go to. I find this practice disturbing. Mota Mahal, the building I live in, all the male servants sleep downstairs in the entryway of the building. Isn’t this awkward? I come home after 11, and wake up ten grown men sleeping on the ground because they lock the door. This practice in general seems wrong to me.
Back to story.
So I was staying late, and I walked down the five flights of stairs to return the key for our office to the canteen workers. Down, down, down another slippery marble stair. I turn the corner and am greeted by another ten men in their underwear. One of them, who was standing by the door to the canteen, is wearing a navy undershirt and navy boxers. He had been telling jokes I could hear from around the corner. He is sweating, as it is despicably hot outside, let alone how hot it must be in a kitchen. At this point he turns and sees me. I continue walking toward him, and he runs and leaves. The other men don’t understand what is going on until they see me as I pass the corridor. Navy boxers continues to run into kitchen.
My laugh cannot be contained.
I have to keep following the man. I go inside the canteen yelling loudly, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I just need to drop the key!”. I leave the key, and I walk home.