This short story by Subhravanu Das follows the travails of a sanitation worker as he navigates through the nascent rigidities of urban India.
“Has Harish come?”
“Even today Harish hasn’t come, has he?”
The wheelbarrow is heavy. It’s square, as well, like most things. The road, the cars, the walls, the houses, are all square. If the square wheelbarrow were remotely full, it’d be heavier. It’s empty. The square houses aren’t. They are occupied by people; people who are agitating, people who are making peace. Innumerable people, inside innumerable houses. He doesn’t enter any of them. At the corner of the road, a gate is open. The gate was padlocked till last week. He enters through that gate. There’s no car, or bike. Plants and dust have been swept aside. He rings the bell.
“Who are you?”