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…’"
It resembled an old man. The giant tree in the middle of the courtyard. There were fewer such homes now, where trees flourished, and grew saplings in disappearing farmlands. Where once thrived flowers and shrubs of unheard kinds. Such was the state of the village in those days… Not today. There was a truck parked […]Read more "They threw her out of the hostel and school. She was four…"
There’s a story that was once told. In lands, unfamiliar and distant, there lived a man who abandoned his home. Unfettered by days to come, he wandered the village as if it were his own. It was then he came across a teacher who took him in as his disciple. The man was Dalit. A […]Read more "‘We were always treated as if we were prostitutes. We’re filth, they told us. And, we never forgot…”"
Her hands trembled a little. Shadows under her eyes had deepened. Some nights, she read her lessons with agitated breath, turning back pages to recollect what she had forgotten. Occasionally, her face broke into a crooked smile. As we walked back, Padma turned her gaze to the birds. For the longest time, she kept looking; […]Read more "‘Her body was badly burnt. She lost her right hand…’"
“To understand their world, you have to visit their past,” he said, that day… There were many pasts. And, they were of many kinds: some forgotten, some changed, and some vanquished to unknown depths. But everybody had one. Or several, as some would recall. The women remembered them all. A few felt trapped in it, […]Read more "‘Every girl born here was dedicated. There are 800 Devadasis residing in our village…’"
Each morning, they looked different; their smooth edges collapsing into stark columns. Amidst those boulders, stood memories of past and present. Ruins, they were called. For, they captured time. Both in remnants, and memories. In collapsing structures, that survived their past… In the streets lingered men, women and children: modern inhabitants of ancient towns. They […]Read more "‘Some were rescued, some rehabilitated. Everybody had a story.’"
She wasn’t there. Beneath the tree, she’d sit all morning while her grandchildren played in the courtyard. She’d look at the street, at the debris scattered on the roadside, at the construction site where lay trolleys of bricks and stone, at the flowers that never blossomed, at empty balconies with mats filled with red chillies. […]Read more "‘Without rain, there can’t be any crop. Without crop, there can’t be any man…’"
It was a woman: it read. Crumbled pages lay unattended in the corner. We didn’t know who she was. Neither did any of them. She lived in Bilchod. No one had ever heard of her until a few days ago. It was her death that caught our attention. There was no photograph, no mention of […]Read more "‘She gave me courage. And, now she’s gone…’"