Nehru Place stories

 
How do you sketch a moment which you can not comprehend. When you feel a sense of failure, a disconnect in human relationships? when you are in self-doubt of feeling complexities in life?

Devender i met today as i heard the news that his son passed away few days back. Today was his first day back in the office. I let him speak as he did not look at me and narrated everything which happened in the past few days. His seven year old died in safdarjung hospital. Before he could be taken in the emergency room, he died of a heart failure. Devender shared how his son was copying him in the past two months, how he would take a shower and his son would copy him in actions. 

Devender is a linemen in my office. His duty is to connect a new telephone connection and then look after the complaints in the day.Years back i would sketch and paint his portrait when i was running my art classes. His tools are a telephone set, a Krone tool, jumper wire and few others which he carries along. Its been more than ten years since he has  been working with me and his stomach has always bloated out like a globe. I would make fun of him to cut down on his Rotis and lose weight or he will lose the job.

I can not forget his expressions today as he looked away from me as he remembered his son. I recorded every word of his today and i will listen to it to know how things are functioning as I am losing sense of things. Its my way of connecting to what i feel is distancing from me.

Myths of mahabarta, the pandits stories, the curse on the house, rebirth, the flattened NTPC mountain of ashes, roads were filled with shiva’s followers, a cramp, the gestures of a mad one, naag panchami, auspicious days, death falls, death arrives, death plays.     

My futile efforts to sketch him in what i feel where i had no words, where i felt helpless, where his gaze took me to know myself.

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