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Driving to the dying sun and John MayerI wrote this piece one winter evening in 2005, in Connaught Place, as I watched a Delhi sunset from within my car.

It was like the untying of a laborer’s humble bundle of possessions: an orange sun escaped and hung itself on the horizon while homeless unknowns made their way to their shelters for the night… bunches of surprised pigeons flapped around blind British-style structures, and a muezzin called devotees to the evening prayer.

In about a quarter of an hour, this last scene folded, and the day curled up in a purple sky, half asleep… perhaps hungry too.

The setting sun stays unseen, unsung
among city streets; an evening limps in,
and is sometimes seen hobbling.
See the drooping eyelids of lit-up shops,
denuded parking lots, urchin yawn as a boy
washes the day’s grime at a leaking water tap.

Unsought…unbroken… the worshipers’ call is heard…
Allah-u-akbarrr; a flock of grey pigeons takes to the air.
It’s time for their evening prayer.

And then I see the homeless people
of the city – one limping boy, one filthy girl
running on grey-brown feet, one scrawny dog
and one old man with a too-short stick. Unmindful
of pedestrians, uncaring of all, maimed creatures
mingle with their flock.
Where were they until now?
Minimized in a dead scene… the dying sun set them free.

An orange-turbaned, dark-mustachioed man settles
on an ample parapet of cool, black marble. Lying on
his back, he pulls on a prickly blanket; no self-consciousness!
He belongs here.
All the homeless belong to this backdrop
in the distended belly of a hungry city….

within earshot of Allah.