Year: 2016

In love with Sipna

Sipna was a very memorable time. Very precious days and nights amongst the oldest tribals of Maharashtra, many artists from various fields. The residency happened in the last 10 days of December. The days were sunny and nights damn cold. We were many together. Everyone skilled in their practises. There were painters, sculptors, Architects, local artists, farmers, Photographers, Dancers, Performers and also artists from other continents. We were somewhere deep in the jungle of teak. Probably in some village on the other side of Melghat Tiger Reserve. The river Sipna danced like a snake on water cutting an old plateau. big, small naturally sculpted rocks. There was an old sage. I remember him because in his hut stayed a woman. She was diseased, she said, shyly. She showed us a lump that had grown out from the insides of her thigh. Babaji is treating me, she said. There were three peacocks, a deer nearby and a snake that lived with the old sage. One day we went on a day’s long walk to see Sipna river meeting …

Where the Children Go

Among themselves they feel free. Independent yet in a boundary, vulnerable and not sure about tomorrow. Kids are those whom, while you watch them in your most baleful of moods they still make you smile. The essential human truth, pitted against modernity – is invincible. There is a child in a man wanting to go back to the womb. The shadows of a festering burden of the next crop of humans, the unclaimed, unborn, and the just born. The Indian state perceives the child parent relationship to be a legacy of tribute to a social order, more than a right of the child. When a child is separated from his/her parent, it is not viewed as the duty of the state to provide that child with a family environment. Adoption is supervised by the state, but India does not have a long term foster care or alternate care system outside of institutionalization. A study estimates that there are about 44 million destitute children and yet only 5000 are adopted each year. A countless number of …

The Last Resort

Atul and I met in 2010 while filling our bikes at a petrol pump outside Leh. It would be easy for me to say that he gave me magic. A magic that built dreams. I lived in that dream, a few of us. We witnessed it together. A year after I met Atul. It was Teach to Learn for his organization Karmabhoomi – This year in July we had gone for an Omni journey to Hanley. We pulled over at Leh for a few days. We were meeting Bhai, Atul. – One lazy, sunny, cold, leh morning Atul was direly asking Sirjee to come along. That day I went along instead to The Last resort I had visited this place before years ago. When it was unknown. Like Reaching a measure, or when becoming a process of leaving. It was a place that makes you only. I now remember looking at horses that kept crossing the homeless river. There was a bell inside a Buddhist temple, which kept feeding a language to the wind. Later …

Memory of Teak

We were near river Sipna where the tribesmen live. They had danced the whole previous night as we slept in our mud huts. Today, while coming back from Kamla Tai’s home we meet this tree. This is teak, watches over Anuradha. She has gone away. Forest starts from here. We were on our way to meet an old sage who pets a monkey, a snake, a cow and three peacock children.

Song of the Playground

  Photograph of the lost memory in flaring heat of Jaisalmer – – It is hot in Barmer. My right cheek has swelled. Ulcers recognized heat. I am staying with amma here, a Bhopa. Last night we decided to attend Pabu ki phad. Happens rarely now. A local god. Reincarnation of Laksman. Bhopas sing and dance for Pabu. For two nights Bhopas from all across the region had come to sing and dance reciting Pabu’s story. Anada Ram was the most prolific Ravanhatta musician. He died 33 years ago. His wife, Amma never sang after that. I am here to document her son. He never learnt Ravanhatta. He wanted to be a dancer. I have known him for eight months now. There were many other dancers from the community yesterday. Veer was going to show me one of his acts dancing on the mirror glass with fire in his mouth. He does not dance in the community. He is ashamed. I was awed last night. So were six hundred people. He got cut but still …

The Wedding Song

In her wedding dress that one day she stopped counting years   I met J uncle on a very cold january morning this year. It was raining and we stood outside an empty swimming pool. His room – 705, is just beneath my room – 805, where i am writing this. J uncle had his own quiet world till he met my sister. My sister, Ruspsi is a kathak dancer(banaras gharana). J uncle would not know about it for a month till one day they meet in the elevator, she moved and her ghungroo rolled from her bag. J uncle and his lovely wife had come from Banaras. In a quest to live with their son, they sold their house. They used to sing all morning there, he told me. He disliked it here. Everything. But he never spoke about it. He was just visibly sad. In his walk, thats how mostly i saw of him. A singer coming from a gharana who doesn’t sing anymore. In the meantime J uncle grew fond of my …