In twilight skies, soared a large flock of birds. Some days, they swore they saw a murmuration of starlings. Most days, they imagined it. One summer afternoon, under the banyan tree, children gathered peanut shells strewn everywhere. Stirring patterns into the ground, they dug up more trash tossing them towards the tree, one by one. […]Read more "‘My husband abandoned us twenty years ago. Drought took away everything I had…’"
He looked at us standing beside them. His eyes lingered on our bare feet. Children scurried along pathways that led to the back alley lest their mothers caught them playing with their friends. It was time for supper. The elders blinked rapidly and held sombre faces. They knew him. “Someone informed me that you have […]Read more "‘I’ll tell you everything about NREGA. Everyone knew what was happening in Masrudi…’"
“My son dropped out of school after ninth grade. The goats are his responsibility now. He keeps telling us he wishes to finish high school some day. But, we are helpless. At least, our girls will study. Maybe, they’ll even go to college. I don’t know. We can’t have too many dreams. I worry […]Read more "‘Even amongst the poor, there lie the poorest who get nothing…’"
The scent of petrichor reminded him of his childhood. His tiny pouch had areca nuts cut neatly into shards. In another bag, betel leaves were arranged lengthwise. They were tied to his waist. Shortly after the rains stopped, he heard the bus. He twirled his moustache as he waited for them. They were friends. For […]Read more "‘It’s easier for them to send her away. She is somebody else’s problem now.’"
“There will be many more deaths in the years to come, many more suicides. You wait and watch,” warned Ganesh as we walked alongside the road looking for stalls that sold lemon juice and cucumbers. “We are running out of water and food. How can a human being survive then? We can’t outwit death.” One […]Read more "If it weren’t for him, I would have killed myself. I thought my family could survive with the compensation…’"
So, they left. They don’t live there anymore. They work as labourers near the dam. They live in a tent now. There was nothing left for them in Bhise Wagoli. The forlorn streets, the high walls, the ceaseless crackle of dead twigs, vacant stares, the empty promises: they left them all behind. “They think it’s […]Read more "‘I lost everything because of that crop: my farm, my life, my daughter’"
There were no trees where they lived. They thought about leaving town. They couldn’t stay there anymore. Their homes weren’t much. They had nothing. Flowers didn’t bloom here. Their trees died. Their lives weren’t much. Some days, their toes resembled the earth: singed and scorched. Like figurines, they sat still in crowded streets where children […]Read more "‘Don’t mourn my death. Don’t observe any rituals. Save the money, and send my siblings to school’"