City Life – Big City Friends, Gurgaon
Bond outside the village.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
They say it’s difficult to strike a good friendship. Especially between work colleagues. (You just have to eavesdrop on the lunch-time gossip in your office canteen.)
But Rishipal and Mangal vehemently deny having such a sinister shade to their dosti (friendship).
“We are very good buddies,” says one. The other nods in quiet agreement.
Both men are in their 20s and work as labourers in a Gurgaon bazaar in the Delhi region. Though they claim to be good friends, they first met each other only a week ago after landing a common assignment.
“Seven days are enough to understand a man’s character,” says Rishipal. Turning to Mangal, he says, “Just look at his face… so happy, merely looking at him fills my heart with happiness.”
Mangal breaks into a glowing smile and returns the compliment declaring that “Rishipal has a very nice mind… he speaks slowly and carefully, and very kindly, and there is nothing evil about him.”
Both men are married with families; and hail from villages in Rajasthan.
But surely they must have had their share of disappointing friendships.
Rishipal has been in the Millennium City for more than two years and Mangal came here five years ago. Both men shake their head.
Mangal says, “We are not city types… we are from villages, our homes are two miles away from each other… we know each other’s heart.”
Lighting a beedi, Rishipal says, “Also remember, we are good friends but not deep friends. We will never be close enough to really hurt each other. We are poor labourers who will go back to our villages after some years when our body will start to break down.”
Mangal nods and offers no additional argument.
The nature of their friendship