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…’"
“There are no more stories here. None left to tell…”; Creaks on the walls resembled twigs, here. One broken end reaching out to another. Shadows flitted across the room; their ashen arms stretching far and wide. There was a stillness, this afternoon. It went unbroken for a while. Bhushya stuck his fingers in his mouth. […]Read more "My father is Lingayat, he can’t be seen with us: Padma, daughter of a Devadasi"
“You aren’t alone. The Goddess will look after you. She won’t leave your side. You need nothing else.” “No one else…” There was a silence. In memories that recurred, in words that quivered. Shobha gazed at the patches of brown that had lost their colour. They were whittled down over time. On the floor, she […]Read more "‘At tea stalls, there are separate utensils for Dalits. The barber doesn’t touch our hair…’"
“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…’"
The other woman. Guileless, and daunting; hidden and desired, they’d be several like her. Chosen by God, condemned by man. Her story has been told, many times over. She was despaired, and will always be. Everybody knew her: who she was, and what she was. A Devadasi can’t be widowed, they’d tell her. A Devadasi […]Read more "She will always be ‘The other woman’. Chosen by God, condemned by man…"