Leaf, On The Road, The Walk
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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 kept dancing. His blood leaked like water from a tanker on road. A long night ride to Barmer medical hospital on Hero Splender. Beautiful ride. Many stars. Inside: Two men had jumped from the roof together, as they told. I cant see one- others are talking about him. Second one is quiet, looking into distance. His chest crushed, Veeru told me he will cry tomorrow. Other four arrive. Car – truck accident. I came out. I dropped Veer back home. Amma and I decide to ride back ten kilometers to the village where music was still playing. It got cold. Thanu Ram jee started singing. Amma told me it is Khel gana. The song from the playground, in which gods play. Then she left. I slept soon there afterwards.

This entry was posted in: Leaf, On The Road, The Walk


Hello, My name is Narayan. I am a teacher and an Ethnographer. After college i opted for teaching in far away villages of the Himalayas and later in Central rural India. And gradually as I wandered along the local streams and rivers, unending fields i learnt not only about myself but India and what is it to be Indian, living with various families throughout India. And to tell you, there is nothing more than a smile and an effort to make their children lives better that makes them happy. I have been independently working as a writer, photographer and filmmaker. For past many years I have been travelling the Indian subcontinent teaching and extensively documenting rural and her communities. Learning and understanding culture, communication and various ways of human mind and body. I am a student of History and did my masters in it. And later studied Sanskrit. When you realise the alignment of your spirit with the world around you, winds take you to places in the Himalayas, where you learn the ancient Yogic way of nerve healing, I can't really know myself but since then all the above mentioned things altogether has helped me generously to enter homes for shelter and food in the night. I come back to Delhi. Here mother and I run a small school for children.

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