Red and white. They hung around her neck. A basket with betel leaves, ash and vermillion lay beside her. It was wrapped in white cloth. “She could be a Devadasi,” whispered Renuka as she walked towards the school. A thin veil of white hung in the sky. Dust swirled in the winds, that afternoon. Specks […]Read more "They wandered through the forests for centuries. They were nomads…"
I never set foot in there. From the day I was born, I was told not to. So, I never thought about it… “Why is their God better than ours?” asked Renuka as the men bickered amongst themselves on tradition, revolution and broken faith. Yemunappa shot her a glance. His gaze seemed unkind, at first. […]Read more "‘I never set foot in the temple. From the day I was born, I was told not to. Because I am Dalit…’"
That summer was different. Green bangles dangled on her wrist. She never wore bangles. They didn’t buy her any. One late morning, they gave them to her wrapped in an old newspaper. The women smeared ash on her feet. They combed her hair. Petals were strewn all over her back, and floor. It was jasmine, […]Read more "This is why the younger Dalits disagree with their elders about the current reality of casteism…"
She didn’t know. We had never met her before. Her mother carried bricks on her head. Sometimes, she worked in the fields. “Amma was a coolie,” she said shrugging her shoulder; her demeanour speckled with nonchalance. Her eyes scanned the dirt on her toes. She sighed as she rubbed her cracked soles against her slippers. […]Read more "Her parents died when she was young. So, she was dedicated to the Goddess. Years later, her sister died too…"
He ran, fixing his shawl, towards the stall where gathered men in hordes amidst structures that barely stood up. Grey sludge seeped through the settlement; froth gathering at its corners. Here, some spaces were overcrowded. Some were sordid. And, they were stuck in between. Nobody remembers what they wore that morning. They don’t remember if […]Read more "‘He collapsed. So, I carried appa in a garbage trolley to the bus stop…’"
At this time, the roads were deserted. Once more, a silence befell us. With every passing moment, the day grew hotter. In parting shadows, amidst arecanut palms, loitered a troop of women. They disappeared before us. We imagined their downtrodden eyes looking for shelter beneath trees. There they stood, for minutes perhaps, hoping to catch […]Read more "‘Poverty is worst enemy of human rights…’"
Singed logs sputtered with flame in a distance. Billows of smoke rose and fell unbroken. As dusk crept over the sky, evening stars glimmered on the edges of the horizon. “Hurry up,” shrieked a young girl. Amidst the tall shrubbery, a few paces away, a toddler wiggled his hips as he ran hither and thither […]Read more "‘Everything is owned now — air, water, forest, land and even seeds’"