After a day of vagueing out in the heat, my friend and I drag ourselves out to a French house party.
On my way home at 1:00am – sweat dripping off my face and getting in my eyes.
The street is silent and empty – no cigarette vendors squatting in the dirt, no traffic, rickshaws, or chai sellers. The stray dogs are silent.
Rhythmic thunk of a sledge hammer breaking concrete. Still, in this city that sleeps early, men are labouring in the oppressive heat, barefoot.
They stop when they see me. I don’t make eye contact, and check that my dupatta covers my head, chest and shoulders.
Once I have passed, the whacking noise of the toiling men resumes.
Escaping the heat to my home. I can still hear the men work, breaking up the concrete in the street outside my window.
I wonder how long they will continue into the night. And I try not to think too much about the lives of these men in this unforgiving city.
I feel callous and acutely aware of the accident of birth.