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…’"
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’"
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…”"
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…’"
“I cultivate sugarcane on 20 acres. For the past few years, I have barely managed to procure 80 tonnes of produce per harvest. I lost Rs 28,000 per acre and incurred Rs 560,000 in losses. I had to borrow Rs 900,000 from banks and was forced to shell out Rs 200,000 as interest. I struggled […]Read more "‘There’s no dignity left in farming anymore’"
“Sometimes, there’s a pattern to what we do. Sometimes, there isn’t. But life remains the same on the shores,” said Kumar as he stood outside his home. Swept away by a gust of wind, the dunes fell apart in a distance. Wreaths of gritty cloud swayed over town as the tides shot a baleful glance […]Read more "‘My brother was sentenced to three years in prison’"
As we traipsed through the sandy coastland, we could hear them again; the surge and fall of eternal rhythms echoing from a distance. The incantations grew louder and within moments we chanced upon women gliding on the shores with pots of beans on their heads. They were then split into two queues while the caretakers […]Read more "‘The shores unite us all in body and spirit’"
The next day we woke up early to continue our journey towards the eastern coast. We took a detour through the hills of Kodaikanal instead of the charted route. On our way, we asked some policemen patrolling the area for directions to Madurai. “Up ahead, you will see a yellow house with a red roof. […]Read more "In search of unspoken tales of a ghost town…"
Crumbled pages fluttered in the light breeze amidst piles of books. Some sat forlorn, stacked on the shelf. Some were discarded. And, then there were those that once held records of importance. It didn’t matter now. For, they were all just gathering dust in the offices of a department that left no stone unturned to […]Read more "We are all to be blamed for tribal downfall"