Raja puts down sacks crammed with discarded papers, crouches down in front of a cement lattice work on a wall at the Chepauk MRTS station.
Peering through a gap, he catches the action at the M.A. Chidambaram Cricket Stadium: day one of the first Test match between India and Australia.
Aside from the fact that he picks rags for a living and insists on speaking in English, there is nothing unusual about Raja. He is among hundreds of people — including students, office-goers and senior citizens — that have flocked to the MRTS station to look through the gaps in a row of cement lattice works and watch the match. This multitude does not mind that the view is, at best, partial.
In a determined bid to have a glimpse of a fielding Sachin Tendulkar, class XII students Aravind and Leo put themselves through a punishment of neck-splitting postures. Still in their uniforms, the boys have rushed straight from their school-leaving farewell party.
Cricket watched through the gaps in the station wall provides Pradip Kumar Pal some respite from his every day misery. From West Bengal, Pradip is currently here because of a brother battling a major medical condition.
Surveying the scene, there is little to tell between students and office-goers, the young and the old. Oblivious to their surroundings, all of them are focussed on finding the right gaps. As another wicket falls, a frisson of excitement goes through them. And, their roars of delight mingle with those of the spectators at the stadium.