“Oh God, wonder how this country is still running?” Ravi cursed out aloud, as he stumbled on one of those paver blocks, that had come out loose from the pavement. He hobbled towards a garden bench as his sole had come undone and was hanging lifelessly to the rest of his shoe. Still irritated, his eyes fell on the broken swing and see saw, he wondered, “Pay taxes and what do you get?”

Rain interrupted his thoughts as he rushed home and then to office, making his way through the dug-up roads and open manholes. Work kept him busy and only when it was time to leave, he realised that the incessant downpour had brought the city to a standstill. Venturing out, he called his wife whose calls he had missed. “Where were you? I left early, got stranded but now I’m at the Sion gurudwara. God bless them for the tea and snacks they just gave. And thankfully the kids are at the D’souzas.” He hung up, telling her to stay put there till rain receded.

Knowing his family was safe, he now savoured the steaming cup of tea at the nearby tea stall. The steam fogged his spectacles. As he wiped them, he saw strangers holding each other’s hands to avoid getting sucked in the open drains. People had come out of their houses, directing the stagnant traffic, offering the drivers, tea and biscuits.

These people, of different backgrounds and ethnicities were so intricately woven in the rich tapestry of this country. The zeal and the zest of these ordinary people was what kept this grand show called India, running. As he got up, dusting himself, he smiled at having answered his question. It was ‘I’, the common man, that formed the spine of ‘I’ndia and its ‘I’ndianness.

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Dr. Shivani Salil
She's a doctor professionally and writes for the love of words. She has just moved to Hong Kong from Mumbai and seeks solace in writing. Her other interests are books and movies.
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