August 15, 2012 § 3 Comments
26th January 2012 (0952hrs)
The nation celebrates its becoming a Republic.
Among all the imagined borders that crowd our globe, this little village finds its own. Tracks of railing separate the old village from the new, with an intermediary crossing that presents an illusionary fluidity. The new village is more accessible from the main road, is a few meters closer to the nearest town and has its own load shedding pattern that differs from the old. The old village lies as it was for a decade during which politicians, educators, doctors and businessmen created new space for themselves. Some were from nearby towns looking to settle where land is cheaper and yet accessible by road. However, most were of the village, merely choosing to display their prosperity and power in a place slightly distanced from their own. With time, others from the old have moved into the new, but remain off the cemented roads to maintain a familiar drainage system. Even though the old and new are distinguished with freshly acquired notions of what each says about the other and themselves, for mostly political purposes, they remain as one.
Celebrations were held in the old village with all the old and new villagers participating. In the old village lies the public school and local government offices, both at which flags were hoisted. The hoisting of these flags was to conclude a procession through the village, led by the school band and children. Teachers and political leaders followed with most other villagers remaining spectators. The morning commenced with rounds of trained physical displays and the honouring of Gandhi and Ambedkar, whose frames sat garlanded on armed plastic chairs.
The time after this auspicious occasion was rigorously and solely focused on the upcoming elections. Rickshaws running on man or horsepower were mounted with speakers along with symbols honouring principles of various political parties and individuals. This time round, people’s votes ensure power at the village and district level. The only issue at hand that all the candidates seemed to agree on was a song which would for certain gain them votes. This made matters testing for the voting populace as all were individually fighting for unity.
Villagers soon began discussing our political affiliations on the basis of whom we most interacted with. Here, personal relations determine voting choices. Free alcohol on the day of the elections runs the risk of ruining all the hard worked at friendships, but most claim to stay loyal and continue reaping friendly benefits.
In the dusk of this political skyline, cows continue to be milked, families continue to arrange marriages, boys continue games of cricket and marbles while girls prepare meals for the house, and farmers continue to choose death over unyielding fields.
Soon, it was time to leave.
June 4, 2012 § 8 Comments
A few cloudless hours and a week ago, his body was found. Stiff from the weather, there was a meagre moment of doubt, cleared immediately by the visible chip on his left horn; Boltu was dead. He lay unharmed, as if age merely ran him down and swiftly led him away through the night. There wasn’t much to be said, so they charred his massive body, returning it to the earth.
Time has passed; schools have reopened with the first sighting of monsoon clouds, nudging us on with gentle reminders that with the changing of seasons and tides, we become stories with words adrift.
May 10, 2012 § 6 Comments
Five months ago, the night was torn asunder with the moon afresh and eclipsed. Everyone sat waiting for the shadow to pass, for the daunting time the moon was not at its fullest. They seemed to be waiting for it to be more present, in order to be so themselves. Nobody ate, nobody smiled; the world seemed abstruse. I climbed up further, above the stationed street lights, above the mystical clouds, above my home, to search for it. Some watched it on the television; it had made the news that night. I soon ran back down and called out to the children, convincing them to pull away from the screen and see it firsthand. Nervous, they joined me as we ran to greet the night. A girl of nine couldn’t believe her eyes. What surprised her was that it was real, even in this small little town. That the important people that broadcast the news right into her home cared about something she was witness to; that a town that far too often escaped their gaze was, in fact, a part of their world.
May 7, 2012 § 5 Comments
Vehicles seep through the roots of these hills, steadily eating through their innards and feasting on the sights. They bring in gold, it is said, making all forgivable. Living in a tourist destination ensures summers breeding traffic, garbage and crowds. Bus routes change, exhibitions and festivals spring up, smiles flash from police faces stationed at every corner; we accommodate, we tolerate. All movement is monitored, we are on display.
Unlike Ootacamund, the queen of the hills, we remain an occasionally popular town with more leopard and gaur visiting. Still, sounds of the forest are replaced by those of festivity and street food stalls popping up overnight, as a vegetable show becomes a weekend of visitors for an otherwise quiet hill.
May 3, 2012 § 8 Comments
He was known to most of the neighbourhood. Familiar and principally calm, he wandered through our worlds, and although incapable of politely asking him to leave, we chose to be welcoming. That was until he found the well.
Situated in the garden of one of the households, the occupants soon found their grass trampled on, flowerbeds revamped, and themselves having to share water with Boltu. About 6 feet high, Boltu is a lone male gaur that traverses parts of our little town caught between forest lands. With a distinguished chip on his left horn and his preference for solitude, he is easy to place. And yet, amidst familiarity, he stood afraid. Fear of bright lights, rocks being thrown, the paramount booing and chasing by those who bought his land left him as cornered and scared as the perpetrators of these acts, leaving all scrounging for a solution between equally worried stakeholders.
And as May pierces through our days and resident unions are formed, we hope and pray that our own struggles are in tandem with his.
April 12, 2012 § 2 Comments
Shivers down the earth’s spine send tremors up the mountains.
Clinging to the sides of a hill seems easier when such waves are secondary, but they still wash over us, enrapturing us with their movements and connecting us to the sea and the world below.
Rivers of grey flow through the heavens as the sun struggles to colour the end of another worrisome day.