Posts Tagged ‘About India’

1 zennfish potter

A door opens into a shadowy space, a potter’s workroom. Strands of sunlight that manage to permeate the space reveal a man at the potter’s wheel. Light bulbs attempt to brighten the small space, an artificiality that is not lost, that seems to further alienate the daylight flooding the streets outside. Against one wall is a high shelf holding figurines; the painted one holds a cigar in his mouth. Next to them is an altar with lamps lit.

2 zennfish potter

Shelves and trays around the room are filled with pots and other creations. Like these tiny Ganesha idols, only one of whose eyes have been shaped on the clay.

3 zennfish potter

Clad in a t-shirt and shorts, the man sits before a potter’s wheel. His hands remain at work while he watches television. Next to him is a pail of muddy water. An assistant bustles around; he disappears into a smaller adjoining room, bringing more clay, carrying the tiny pots outside on pallets where they can dry out in the sun.

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The potter says he has been doing this work for forty years now. That is all he is willing to share before turning his attention back to the television. His practiced hands are covered with dripping wet clay as they hold the spinning wheel.

5 zennfish potter

Almost magically, a tiny pot is formed. It is hard to pinpoint how it is created and when it is completed but the potter’s hands seems to know it all too well.

6 zennfish potter

The tiny clay pots are set aside; still wet but no longer formless, no longer liquid clay. An assistant whisks the pallet off once it is full. Neither exchanges a word. Outside, the last of the wet clay dry as they are sealed with a kiss from the sun.

© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

Pic 1 Zennfish

Smack in the middle of Pottery Town: pots, towering and miniature idols, kilns, and in no particular order to the process, people at work.

Pic 2 Zennfish

A man spread mud on tarpaulin and laid it out in the sun, before proceeding to knead the mud mixed with water.

Pic 3 Zennfish

Finished Ganesha idols in all shapes, colours and designs wrapped in plastic covers lined the streets. They were waiting to be loaded in trucks and distributed across markets where people who celebrate this festival buy them, worship them, and finally immerse them in lakes and tanks.

Pic 4 Zennfish

A dilapidated building was actually the kiln that is used to fire clay.

Pic 5 Zennfish

Down a narrow lane, a man and a woman were at work. Laid out around them was an army of tiny busts of Goddess Gowri, some painted, others waiting their turn.

Pic 6 Zennfish

On the main street, a man sat outside spraying paint on a Ganesha idol. He held each idol on a work stool. Once an idol was uniformly sprayed with pale coral with no trace of the naples cream base, a woman would quickly remove it and replace it with a plain idol.

Pic 7 Zennfish

Next to them, an old lady sat painting Lord Krishna and his companion Radha. Mother Mary holding Infant Jesus stood by their side.

© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

The title is borrowed from a short story in Isabel Allende’s The Stories of Eva Luna.

 

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© Anuradha Prasad

Mayo Hall Junction

Mayo Hall Junction

The auto reluctantly came to a stop as the lights changed to red. I looked longingly at the empty stretch of road ahead of us, a rare occurrence.

“Earlier, we could simply jump the signal. But it is not that easy these days. You will notice that the auto drivers all slow down and look up and around to see if there is either a cop or a CCTV camera. If it is there, we stay put. Otherwise, we will be fined 100 Rs for each offence. It is hard to tell if the CCTV camera is on – it is switched on during peak hours in the morning and again in the evening. If it is switched off, you will see the traffic constable with his note book. You can take a chance and still jump the signal. He won’t be able to write the numbers of all the vehicles that jump the signal, just one of them.

We don’t have to worry about hitting other vehicles. There is no way we can pay for damages from our own pocket, so we tell them to collect insurance. We don’t even have to go to court most of the times. If there is no insurance, then a lawyer has to be hired and we have to pay for the damages in installments.

Toward Cunningham Road

Toward Cunningham Road

Last week, a car hit my auto. He was at fault. He pulled over and said he will pay for the dented bumper because he didn’t want the cops to get involved. As I walked back to the auto, the driver just sped away. I didn’t even have time to note down his number. I can’t afford to get it fixed. And here, I trusted the guy.”

© Anuradha Prasad

“Are you a Tamilian?” he asks in English as I fumble trying to speak Hindi. I tell him I am a Kannadiga.

“I can always tell. I speak seven languages.”

He starts with Indian languages and goes on to say Chinese, Italian, French…

Image: imgarcade

Image: imgarcade

“I used to drive the airport taxi. I have learnt from foreigners. They try to speak in our language but I immediately respond in their language. You should learn to speak other languages. It is not enough to speak only one.

I’ve received several overseas job offers but I say no because my family is here. I can speak several languages but I can’t read or write. Never went to school.

You should go overseas. You are still young. You should apply for jobs. How much effort does it take to simply apply for jobs? You never know when your stars will change.”

© Anuradha Prasad

“I like speed. So I started driving cars – Audi, Mercedes, Innova…you name it. But now that I have tasted it, I don’t want it anymore.

Image: Off the net

                      Image: Off the net

I fought with my employer. So stopped driving cars and started driving an auto. He had money and I didn’t – that is the difference. But it does not mean he can treat me badly. I could not put up with it.

I used to race my friend every morning. It was fun.”

He rattled on about the speed limits he broke, the best wheels for long drives and to drive around in the city. He didn’t think much of the Mercedes he once drove.

© Anuradha Prasad

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Two men sat in their small tin shop under a tree that wasn’t a Gulmohar. They were busy at work though it was lunch hour. Few words were exchanged between them. There was mostly silence.

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Shoe patterns were laid out on canvas cloth and the cobblers cut them with shears. These were later stuck together with adhesive.

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The man said they were making chappals that would be sold in Commercial Street.

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They continued; sitting there under the tree in a rusty make-shift shop oblivious to the steady stream of traffic.

© Anuradha Prasad