The divider on the road, with overhead metro line, was made to plant hedges or flowers or something green. The two sides of the divider have metal grills – possibly to discourage pedestrians from crossing (and trampling whatever was planted) and possibly to save the future flowers/trees/greenery from the stray Gayu Matas. Only some sections thus protected with grills have greenery, others were gathering dust, waste and the apathy of the population passing by. Till the marching farmers decided to make home.
The soil beds have been cleaned and levelled, straw (they don’t burn all the praali, some they keep for future comforts), durries and mattresses make a reasonably comfortable bedding. Tarpaulin sheets cover the top and the side metal grills and a cosy shelter is ready – a place where the farmers and their belongings (primarily ration) is protected from the cold and the elements.
Outside, on the road, ropes tied between the ends of trolleys define their courtyard. The other half of the road carries the local traffic (the farmers haven’t stopped any traffic, wherever it has been stopped, it is by the administration and their barricades). In this courtyard by the passing traffic (somewhat shaken-out-of-the-deep-slumber-of-their-indifference), clotheslines carry the daily washing, little kitchens have come-up (the big langars that make the news don’t go all the way of the tens of miles this township extends to). Someone is busy cooking, someone rests inside, a few play cards, many sit and chit chat.
Many came with the trolleys prepared as shelters, some have put up hiking tents and few mini tent cities have sprung up, some are using the pedestrian walkways and the wall next to it to put up their tents, few larger tents have come up where space allowed. Everywhere the mood is upbeat in these dwellings. And everyone is welcome. Including Modi.
As their spirits and their union flags fly high, they speak their Mann ki Baat and send out an open invite. ‘Modi, aana kabhi haweli pe.’
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