Hey everyone! So there’s this homeless man who lives on the streets of Viman Nagar in Pune. The interesting thing is that he wears jeans, speaks in English and sleeps on the street of his own accord. There were numerous rumours about him so a Friend and I decided to do a piece on him for Beyond the Underpass, a webzine started by our very own seniors at SCMC!
It was great fun and one of the most interesting things I’ve done in a while. Speaking to a homeless man was a first. I felt like a real reporter/journalist.
So, do read it 🙂
You can also read the original article here.
We pass by him every day, and on some days that aren’t all bad, when we’re feeling a little less choked up, we let ourselves wonder:
Who is he?
Where did he come from?
How long has he been living like this?
But most importantly, why is this amiable-looking, English-speaking man, living on the streets?
Indarjeet Singh, or as friends call him, Ruby, is not your average run-of-the-mill beggar. He
happens to be quite popular, has an intrigued fan-following and doesn’t exactly beg. For about thirty years now, the man has been living on Viman Nagar Road, sleeping on a rotten chair and newspapers, and earning his living doing meagre jobs offered to him by fellow hawkers. But like each one of us, Ruby too has a story beyond his present. Take a dip into it and you’ll realise how every man, rich or poor, sheltered or homeless, has his fair share of regrets and litanies.
Ruby’s childhood was spent in Pune, away from his parents, who had migrated from West Pakistan and were at that period residing in Nigeria. This period of his life proved tormenting for Ruby, and saw him face several problems with his caretakers and even drop out of high-school. To this day, though he has no mean grudges left, Ruby certainly remains eloquent in his blame: “I was purposefully turned into a madman,” he remarks with a gentle smile, hauntingly aware of the labels people have pasted on him.
One could choose however, to believe otherwise: to believe that lunacy is not the sole reason a man relinquishes the world, that maybe he is sort of a modern-day ascetic and can serve as an inspiration to our materialistic world, where we are all busy running after grades and pay checks. But how many of us will make that choice?
Because for all the loftiness, Ruby did not abandon his home, he was kicked out by his father
After a road accident in Nigeria, Ruby’s father remained a patient in a hospital there for four years, before having to move back to India. So, though his decision of forcing his teenage son out of the house to go look for a job can not exactly be justified, it can certainly be understood in the backdrop of his frustration over fate’s cruelty.
Newly homeless, Ruby now moved to Bombay and began working in a factory, before shifting to Manipur and then to Myanmar in search of greener pastures. There he fell in love, only to fall out of it. He even struck it rich once, but that wasn’t enough too. He eventually returned home, but things in Pune were all broken and cracked. A “madman” running and panting for life, solace for Ruby was nowhere to be found. So, one night, instead of going back, he slept on the streets. Then another, and another, and simply like that, Ruby became the homeless guy who greets students on their way to college in the mornings.
In all honesty, Ruby is neither a sage nor a beggar. You may find him purchasing cheap beer and often drifting into ceaseless rants about the world and the huge disappointment that it has
become. But then again, you’re just as likely to find him speaking the wisest of truths and
lightening someone’s day.
The fact is that Ruby cannot be definitively placed in a box. He represents every human’s wretched need to disengage from the superficiality of the physical world that is constantly at war with a gripping urge, a temptation that prevents one from actually pulling away.