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Wretched Man

On the road, there was a wretched man, a man who was wretched, who was lying in the middle of the road

Illustration by Ajinkya Dekhane

The toys with the sad faces, 

nobody likes them.

As I go through the aisles of Max Fashion,

reading ‘The story of a shipwrecked sailor’,

thinking about that one sad looking turtle toy,

(who nobody likes)

imagine You finding a way through the water.

You went missing in the water,

doesn’t mean You won’t be back, 

Velasco got back, 

and so will You.

At that moment, 

I realise, 

in a matter of seconds

the difference between Velasco and you, 

Velasco’s body was never found, 

it was believed he was dead, 

until he turned up after 10 days lifefull, 

unlike You 

who was found lifeless in only two days.

Would You have become a sailor too, 

like Velasco, 

had you been alive? 

One never knows. 

One will never know.

The day You went missing, 

I had all the visions of how 

you would have reached a shore, 

held on to some rock, 


and how You, fully drenched would find a village, 

some people, 

some town, 

a mobile phone 

and make a call 

and ask me to come pick you up. 

You would be sitting, 



and look at me and say, 

“Humko chhod kar kahan chale gaye the? Hum kab se wait kar rahe hain.” 

(Where did you leave me here? I have been waiting for so long.) 

When the search team returned that night, 

My only concern 

was that You would be chilly 

because of wet clothes 

and will have to sleep hungry. 

Oh! You will fall sick, ya.

That day when I was returning home, 

in urban poorly built roads of Pragati Path. 

Progress Road. 

Why would one name a road Progress? 

On the road, 

there was a wretched man, 

a man who was wretched, 

who was lying in the middle of the road, 


probably drunk and passed out, 


maybe dead. 

The vehicles and pedestrians kept going, 

a small break, 

a little turn, 

avoiding the touch of the wretched man, 

and going ahead, 

sparing no more than three seconds glance. 




That worried me. 

What if the villagers saw You and went ahead. 

You won’t be drunk and passed out, 

But might have fainted, 

because of being hungry, 

might have been sick 

because of being drenched. 

Will the villagers pass you after sparing three seconds only? 





They won’t, 

they will take care of you. 

The urban Pragati Path commuters won’t take care of the wretched man.

They were wretched, 

the shirtless man lying on the road wasn’t.



Moora used to read, and currently tries to read again. While most of the time they doubt everything, they have always been sure of one thing that they were a writer. Caste and gender are important things that define their life in various manners. They write poems and stories about caste, gender, loss and dysfunction. They hope to make their way back to college and academia and engage in research on pertinent questions around caste and gender.