This is the holy part of the bus station - the ablution watering hole across from the prayer rug beneath the green arch. Men come to wash their face and hands before prayer; they fill up clear glasses with water and a Lipton tea bag.
The smell of urine, the sound of prayer, running water, loogies dislodged and set free on the pavement, a white cat hissing as each man passes - a greeting of sorts. There are men of all ages from Pakistan, a couple from India. The men wear uniforms of monochromatic tunics and scarves wrapped around their necks and brow.
A slim taxi driver in pressed navy slacks - smartly belted - and a light blue shirt makes his way towards me. He neatly rolls his pants and shirt sleeves before crouching, knees wide, at the fountain and methodically washes his arms, elbows, and face. He removes his socks and washes his delicate toes and then walks away with his feet stuck clumsily into the tips of his shoes - waiting for his feet to dry.
He crosses the street and joins the other men in prayer beneath the green overhang on the sun bleached rug that was once red but is now pink. This young, elegant and methodical man, he stands, kneels, bows - his head against the worn vermillion carpet.
My eyes fill with tears - why?
Moved by the particularity of the ritual now repeated by twenty men since I've been writing. I do not have these rituals, and there is something unspoken and so close about these men as they greet each other silently at the water spigots to wash. They are aware of me sitting here on my phone typing away, but they do not seem too bothered by me. I am the only woman here and, in some ways, I think they like my presence.
Different men enter the scene. They fill up water bottles at the faucet nearby. These men are in Timberland boots, plaid shirts, t-shirts, sneakers, and mixed floral prints - all with plastic bottles they fill up on the run.
These two watering holes, separated by 45 degrees, gathering different worlds…