Mar 17, 2007

People 1: Pavement Pictures.


She sat on the pavement. It was a busy Monday morning. Rush hour traffic. There was a school behind her. The children rode their bicycles on the platform to avoid the menacing vehicles. Some losing balance and perilously wobbling about. She sat there.
With her little cloth bag. Her worldly possessions. Her gaze unflinching. She stared at the world around, and beyond. Horns honked. Irate commuters traded tempers.
Silver in her locks, face wizened. Clocks seemed to have stopped long ago. She sat there. Timeless. Dead and Alive.

Was she once a little girl? Red ribbons and blue skirts. Hopping and skipping in some dry southern village. Care-free and happy. Was she once a dainty maiden? Dreams in her eyes and a future in her hand. Was she ever a loving mother and wife? Raising little ones and running a home. She sat there. Why was she there and then?

The signal turned green. She sat there. I moved on.


A triangular isle. A lone inhabitant. Deluge of yellow headlights all around. Whirring whirlpools of gold. He was ecstatic. Dum! Dum! Dum! He beat the plastic bottle to time a cosmic rhythm. Soot and black camouflaged his contours. A sepia smile adorned his euphoria.

An undisputed King reigning from the fringe, reclining on a throne of dirty gunny sacks. Watching the teaming drones burn themselves out. Watching with detachment. With amusement. Beating his bottles to express something beyond grasp, or to kill his ennui.

Was he a mystic? A nomadic mendicant of the myths. Was he a madman? Gone bonkers. What is madness? Who is mad?

The indicator flashed. I turned, his cadence lingering.



This was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend on street photography. His passion for it was infectious. Not that I started watching people after that, but just that I thought it would mean more to me, if I captured those sights and insights in some manner.


musafir said...

And it was just yesterday I was thinking about taking the old digicam out and going out on the streets!

Anyway, I started off all suspicious about the short sentence structure, but then this -- Clocks seemed to have stopped long ago -- grabbed my attention and proceeded to draw a very vivid picture.

Well written, could picture exactly what you were depicting. And yes, both images left me with a howwlow feeling in my stomach. I've done this so many times myself, looked at people on the roads and wondered how they ended up the way they ended up and what their lives would have been and would be like.

You should do this more. And if I were to quibble, it would be about the way the language got a little flowery in "Beats". But then I guess I like my writing simple and straughtforward, so don't take my comment seriously :-)

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

sol, well written. Like Musafir had said, I wonder about this a lot - ofcourse, from the AC comfort of my car. Actually, I wonder about every speck on the street, i being one in someone else's eyes...
If you have time, read this one I wrote a long time ago:

[Re media watch, we need new material... how about covering Arun -Liz wedding ?! :) :(]

Hari said...


Wow!! Wonderfully written! Especially the first one was really nice.It is a wonderful idea to observe people on the roads and draw inspiration for posts.Good one. Keep it coming...

Unga blog url enaku maranthu pochu..aprum rombha neram okanthu yoschu ipo than neyabakam I better link you!

The Soliloquist said...


Yeah... had a twinge of dissatisfaction with the last one...couldnt get it exactly right.. But the picture was fantastic.. The speeding vehicles on all sides looked like yellow floods, and this guy in middle of it all, looking so ecstatic.. I was actually listenin to my ipod at full volume, and noticed him when the sound of his drumming disturbed me.. He was not an old man, but a man in his early 30s... The evening, the setting, the expression on his face, his fervour, whew!... One couldnt help forgetting he was afterall a human stray...

On the flipside, an astrologer once told my mother, that I bordered dangerously on the thin line between sanity and madness. And that I would be attracted to the crazy seeking some deeper meaning in them. Though I scoffed it off then, she sure would be peeved when she reads this :-)

And do let me know what came out of dusting the old digi... :-)

Have read that one before. But I would like to view them sans the guilt. View them as they are. Like you said, as much a part of the scenary,as I am.

As for media watch, I am game :-p

@ hari:
Welcome again! Thanks for linking... :-)
And I intend to keep them coming... :-)

catch 22 said...

Nice post here...very well portrayed. Have engaged myself in people watching quite a lot when i am waiting for a friend or bus and wondered about their lives.

When I read that the man you were talking abt in beats would be in his thirties, that really got me thinking about all the possibilities of why was he there doing that...I couldn think of any other than what u mentioned...ennui being the top of my list. But I just know that I someday don wanna end up being that man and be somebody else's inspiration to blog about :).

The Soliloquist said...

Hmmm... but we are all crazy in our own right, arent we ??? :-)

catch 22 said...

@ Sol - Its not about being crazy that scares me, its about that imagery....He just sitting there and doing nothing but beating with the bottle in a way analogous to myth of sisiphus..That picture portrays a lot than when it first meets the eye.

The Soliloquist said...

I dont not understand why one should be scared.. Havent we lived with it all along, following the tide??? sometimes, ignorance is not only bliss, but is knowledge too. We all are sisyphus, in our own ways. Denial doesnt help. neither does acceptance. So the only way out is to remove the need for help. so denial and acceptance both dont have a cause to exist.

justrohin said...

Hi Miss, hope my id rings a familiar bell somewhere in your memories. Visited your blog after a loooong time, of all your People series I liked the first part of People-1, the others too convey a good message or you have captured them beautifully but you have his uncanny habit of using too heavy words where simple words might suffice. This is meant as a feedback/remark nothing critic about it. Id drop in sometime in future. Till then enjoy..

~SuCh~ said...

@rohin :

Welcome back ! Long time... :-)