Muffled sounds broke the silence. Someone had broken in. In scorched earth, they looked for dead cinders. The flames were long gone: vanished as if they never swirled in the midnight breeze, as if they never sputtered in the dead of night. It was a dog, muttered the older women under their breath. There were […]Read more "“You don’t have a husband. You don’t have any children. What’s the point of giving you a house?”"
It was the summer of 91. And, he remembered it well. But it was always summer in these parts, said the old man grunting beside him. His knees wobbled every time he moved in his chair. Across the building, crows sat atop the roof. It hadn’t rained here. Not for a while. Their lands were […]Read more "“After many years, a girl was born in the family…”"
She walked through barren lands. In the wandering scent of dead teak trunks, she looked for broken twigs and branches. Trees dried, and died where they stood. Save the unrelenting brown, there was nothing that stirred here. Neither the forest nor its creatures. She tripped on the root of a large teak tree; her feet […]Read more "‘Men leave their wives as they please. Sometimes, they need a younger woman. Sometimes, they need someone to bear them sons…’"
Clamped to the centre of the hall were faded photographs on a calendar. Pages fluttered in the breeze. Their corners had worn out. Shyam Rao adjusted his gold-rimmed spectacles and read the newspaper. He looked at us with weary eyes. Like most mornings, his blue slippers hung loosely from his feet. Some days, we spoke […]Read more "‘When you tell our story, tell them what you saw. Tell them we are good people. Tell them the truth…’"
“Our fields have no fencing around them. In two years, we might not have a home. We will lose our farms, and everything we have ever owned. They want us to move away. But we belong here. In the forest. The soil is fertile. And, we can grow our own food. They don’t understand these […]Read more "‘The government built them structures not homes…’"
We don’t remember much of her. She wore keys around her neck. She had coins on her fingers. Between homes that leaned against each other, an old woman dragged her black skirt from the ground. Her chin had tattoos. So did her arms and legs. But there were no patterns. For, they had faded.. Like […]Read more "‘We couldn’t touch their borewell. Because we are Lambani’"
Hum toilet khaane wale log kya karenge… His left hand looked tensed. Gripping his knee, he positioned his legs behind the chair. He crossed them over and over again until his feet got tired. A ripped plaster hung loosely from his knuckles. “I was diagnosed with malaria two weeks ago. I have to get my […]Read more "‘Dokra Dokri don’t understand our problems. They are content with being oppressed’"
There were two of them. It was an ordinary day. Perhaps, the streets were crowded, and fruit carts remained immobile. The vendors set up their stalls right before the alley where old vehicles stood: their paint worn out, and doors dented. Perhaps, it wasn’t any different than the day we arrived. Were there pallid faces […]Read more "‘It was never chronicled. Those who died took our history with them.’"