Upon returning from Paris, Ram Kumar's early years in Delhi were spent observing and painting the people around him. He used these figurative works as a way to express the feelings of alienation and isolation he sensed in them. The figures depicted in his works are not necessarily specific individuals. Rather, they are symbolic of the overall oppressive reality of society, to which the artist, and by extension his subjects belong.
The young man in the present work is set squarely within the shadowy planes of a landscape visible in the background. This is quite distinct from other works of this period, where the surrounding cityscape is far more defined with outlines of roofs or church towers. Here, the focus is entirely on the figure and the sense of loneliness is overwhelming. With "their gaunt faces and staring eyes, they even have a certain kind of wan beauty." (Nirmal Verma, 'From Solitude to Salvation', Ram Kumar: A Journey Within, New Delhi, 1996, p. 22.) However, Nirmal Verma makes an important observation: "It seems as if the figures are not so much alienated from outside - society, history, other human beings - but from themselves, a state 'in-built' within them." (Nirmal Verma, op. cit., p. 23.)