There is constant sound here, dogs barking, the buzzing rickshaw motors, car horns, shouts of children playing cricket in the alley, the coconut man selling his wares, his voice carrying across the neighborhood.
There is no green. No patches of grass; even the leaves of the coconut and almond trees are covered in a thick layer of dust and grit. The ubiquitous stray dogs are all a dull dusky color, as they lay panting by the side of the road, heedless of the rickshaws zooming past, mere inches away. In this climate, you conserve your energy, find cooling shade where you can. Dogs cannot waste effort on anxiety, just as shop owners and vendors cannot waste effort on shooing them away. And so a peculiar harmony is established.
And though the atmosphere is all dusky dun dullness, there is color in the bright saris, glittering with sequins and mirrors. There is vibrancy in the fruit sellers’ stalls—rich purple aubergines, shining scarlet tomatoes, carrots so saturated with color, they glow a shade of translucent red.
There is a simplicity to life here, bathing from a bucket with cool tap water, napping away the hottest part of the day on a thick mat beneath a lazily spinning ceiling fan. Being here, living this life, even for just a week or so, I begin to understand the rich roots from which Amul has grown. And it makes me love him all the more.