From the corner of the road, the paddy fields gleamed in the sun. It had rained a few days ago. Amidst distant hills, wreaths of smoke curled in the air. Some days, a dull roar of engines ricocheted in the distance. The silence returned a while later, almost always. One late summer afternoon, as we […]Read more "In the shadow of the gun, you can’t have peace: Bela Bhatia"
These farmlands remained unseen. That was a different time, said the elders. Trees were taller, and the flowers bloomed in spring. Summers didn’t last forever. We tread carefully alongside these roads. Where the village ended, dead trees stood upright in corners. Before us, were lands that held nothing anymore; a vast emptiness that shrouded these […]Read more "Entering the Red Corridor…"
Men lost their arms. Men lost their legs. There were those who couldn’t afford to continue fighting for their rights; those who never returned home. More than 100 farmers were killed during protests he partook in over the last four decades. He saw them starve, bury their children. He saw them return home defeated and […]Read more "‘Never thought about anything other than helping someone in need. A human being is far more important than money…’"
At the crossroads, where Masrudi ended and began roads that led to a settlement of nomads, dust billowed in the streets. Lone clusters of trees rattled in the winds. Few people were in the streets. Fewer in the woods. Along the edges of dead farms were shrubs that sprung into action with gusts of wind […]Read more "‘Water. That’s what we will fight over next…’"
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…’"
There was a house at the far end. Nobody lived there anymore. We stumbled upon it on our way out. A chance encounter. The building was old, decrepit. It held memories. Gajanan unlocked the door to a room that held heaps of chickpeas and jowar. They weren’t sold yet. It had been a while. […]Read more "She sits in the hall every afternoon guarding the onions from rain and dust. The rates fell that year…"
It was an old, dilapidated home. In this village, where the men and women sat in the courtyard all afternoon, where the wide dusty road led to settlements just like theirs, where the rains seeped through the cracks, and water pooled in the halls, there lived a family of seven. In that place, where clouds […]Read more "“It’s because I gave up on my dreams of attending college that my family can now eat…”"
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’"
Indefinite strike, indefinite trials, indefinite call to justice Brown, green and grey were their pots. In a haphazard line, they were left unattended near the hand pump at dawn. Everything ran dry in these regions: borewells, ponds, lakes, tanks, and even farmlands. Shadows of abandoned structures hung in corners. Dark omnipresent forms writhing on the […]Read more "‘If it doesn’t rain this year, what you see will turn into barren lands. Nothing will be spared’"
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…’"