Dhapodi ji became a shepherd once she learnt that she would not be able to give Ambaram any children. I saw her whole life as she slowly walked away, Limping for her daily work. She looked after seventy goats and four cows. Takes them all together for grazing daily finding newer fields and trees to eat from.
Meanwhile Ambaram married again, in search for a boy the new couple got five beautiful talkative girls before a quiet boy arrived from the younger wife. All children are going to school except the youngest girl.
I remember Dhapodi jiji because we never spoke. Over all It must have been over eight days as she brought me tea each day and food in the night before leaving to her hut. Falling sick around her was like i became her new goat. She gave me home medicines like my mother is giving me now for cough.
One night when the family had gone out, i found her working in the candle light in the kitchen. I asked her if i can make a photograph of her for the memory. She smiled and stood slowly on her one leg, went inside almost making me feel ashamed for even asking, came back wearing a bit of jewelry on her head that must have been from her marriage time three decades ago. I think she looked beautiful. What do you think
I photographed her in February 2016 while working on a film.
Tales from Rural India