Those last heroes, the old filmi lot, had it easy; their words arranged, stage sets slipped behind them as they walked, lights placed just so, the outside world never marring their innocence. They wandered our cities, lost souls looking for voice, meaning, perhaps empathy––whatever one found. Like Raj Kapoor in Awara Hoon, a tramp roughing it on the streets of Bombay; trousers rolled up as if wading troubled waters, no socks, spent shoes, crushed felt hat, looking for hope in the slums, stirring up the primordial soup––looking for life, no?
There’s a song on every corner here, but it doesn’t belong to modern day. Raj Kapoor’s cast in stone, an effigy the common man carries––I arrive here with him. He’s not settled, he says, untraveled roads seem to like me, I’m a vagabond: Awara hoon! And am I home? Roaming these streets again, drunk crawls to pubs, my heart in circles because of you and nothing else. Oh, what can I say about Bombay? Not my city, no––I’m a Delhi boy through and through, although I don’t mark my way in the soil or leave any scent.
Yes, I’m devastated, ruined, but I sing songs of happiness, don’t you know? Don’t you, oh, Julia? Perfection lies in the dirty hands of the paratha-walla, the lost men on cycles, the chai boy moping on his stoop. Got no place to call home, no family either. Mujhse kisi ko pyaar nahin. No one falls in love with me.