With his arm instinctively holding onto the wheeled metal barrier, ready to slide as soon as another car appears, Subodh explains his arrival from his countryside home to this smoggy metropolis.
With his arm instinctively holding onto the wheeled metal barrier, ready to slide as soon as another car appears, Subodh explains his arrival from his countryside home to this smoggy metropolis.

Delhiwale: His mundane security job

In his early 30s, Subodh has been working this 9-5 shift for three years. A native of Arwal in Bihar, this is his first and so far only job in the Capital.
By Mayank Austen Soofi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:33 AM IST

There is no subtle way of putting it. Subodh’s day job looks terribly boring. He is stationed at a road barrier—a side-lane really—in a south Delhi neighbourhood, and all day long he makes the metal barrier slide on its wheels to open way for the approaching vehicles. “And not let any gaadi (car) enter from the wrong side, because this is a one-way road,” he points out.

On the seemingly drab texture of his routine, he shrugs and says, “This is work... majboori (no choice)... I don’t think of jobs as boring or interesting, one just has to do it.”

In his early 30s, Subodh has been working this 9-5 shift for three years. A native of Arwal in Bihar, this is his first and so far only job in the Capital. “I know it is not easy to get a duty in a city like Delhi, where so many people are looking for work. It actually was my elder brother’s job… he decided to return to our village to take care of our agricultural land, and he helped me get it so that it stays within the family.”

Now a biker stops by, asking Subodh directions for an address, which he very politely explains in minute detail.

With his arm instinctively holding onto the wheeled metal barrier, ready to slide as soon as another car appears, Subodh explains his arrival from his countryside home to this smoggy metropolis. “I wanted to see the world... to see how people live... to see how customs are in those big cities that one has only heard of and never been to.”

Now another biker stops by, asking Subodh directions for another address, which he again explains in detail. Such interference recurs almost every other minute during the course of this meeting.

In all, Subodh seems to be impressed with Delhi—“Very nice people, very good behaviour... society, very good... I myself have made many friends... some of them are in security line like me, some are in drivery (sic).”

But Subodh doesn’t see himself in this city five years from now. “You can’t live here forever... I will go back to my village... that place has my family, my land, my mother, my father...”

And now yet another biker stops by, asking Subodh directions for yet another address, which he again very patiently explains.

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