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A Pool of Shoes

Jama Masjid by Frank Holleman Unsplash
Jama Masjid by Frank Holleman on Unsplash

Outside the Masjid, I see a pool of footwear.

And I recall the feet of men and women in them. The grey boots are of Hasan –  the barber who told me that both mandir and masjid  have six letters, and Hindi and Urdu do not. But if Hindus wear a hijab, wouldn’t you mistake it for Urdu? 

I see pink sandals of Nejmi, the professor in the madarsa next block who starts her semester with the question “I always wanted to ask Osama Bin Laden that if he worshiped massacres then why didn’t he carry bombs in his chest pocket?” 

The dust-laden loafers with holes at the toes belong to Kareem –  the  cobbler who often sings the ballad that if a man had guns in lieu of hands, his beloved target would be his lover. 

I am about to cross the lane, when I see rag pickers from the eastern jhuggi stealing mismatched pairs of shoes. The maulana comes out screaming in rage, while they run bare feet, as if telling the rocks to bend their heads down. The spectator in me asks, now how would they distinguish between a Hindu’s shoe and a Muslim’s shoe? 

When I visited the slums next week, I saw Irfan postmortem on the rag again, he wore Hasan’s grey boot in one foot, and Arnab’s chappal in another. A poor man is not Religious, Pious or Cultivated. A poor man is just Hungry, Needy and Free on bail. 


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Ananya Aneja

Ananya means the rarest of all. She find refuge in the nub of poetry. She believes words can even bring a dead to life and daydream about fairytales, Turkish tea and Arabic poems all day long. She loves bringing revolution with her poems. She writes about women, men and their tectonic differences. Poetry is the echo of her voice. 

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