Sunday, August 28, 2011

Not a nice place to be

Pantnagar, Uttarakhand.

It was once a dense forest. Loved by the animals that had adapted themselves to their home, dreaded by the invaders who sought to conquer it.

Pant nagar is today dominated by an industrial estate- sterile at first glance, its toxicity is apparent when you look deeper. The people we spoke with told us of moving here during the Bangladesh war when they were given permission to move into deserted army barracks. Outside the small cleared circle that was theirs, was terror in the form of a dark forest with wild animals. Now not a tree remains. The economy runs on doing 'labour work' for the industries. The rivers are polluted beyond imagination; the water from the wells tastes of antibiotics.

Despite this, rural life still attempts to hang on by its teeth.

Take the river below. Even from the bridge we could smell it- like a belch after taking a B-complex capsule. The water was grey and sluggish. Despite that, life goes on. Tame ducks swim in those water. There is a fisherman patiently throwing his net over and over again into the opaque waters. Not in the snap for reasons of respect are a family performing a puja for their ancestors.

Further on, I came across a buffalo-shoeing. Never having seen this before, I stopped to see and take pictures. My colleague was embarrassed; the shoers were delighted. And it is not as brutal as it looks. The man holding the buffalo's head was the owner, and the animal trusted him and lay there calmly as he stroked its head. The only time I saw the buffalo jerk its foot was when the man tapped the nails into place. Here is a photo.

1 comment:

nadi said...

'not in the snap for reasons of respect..'
I respect that.
It is this sensitivity that makes your writing true.

and the toxicity being visible as you go deeper.. says so much.. about everything.

fine writing, this.