A young lady in blue peruses a photo exhibition by P.Sainath at the DD Kosambi Memorial lectures at Kala Academy in February this year. The pictures she is seeing are of the exploited girls/women who get paid barely ten rupees a day in these times, in parts of rural India. Sainath, a true rural foot-soldier journalist delivered a sobering and yet inspiring lecture on the state of Indian journalism today. Meanwhile the countryside girls live through their working blues...
"Want tabla, Madam?... very cheap..." intones the street hawkers who consider whites their legitimate prey. But Madam is not impressed and she knows her man tagging along will take care of them after a while. But for a good stretch they all follow her like rats after the blonde-and-striped Pied Piper.
The orange poster promises a good time at a Carnaval party, with Purple Rain et al. But the orange clad lass seated below the coconut tree at Majorda has a knowing look in her eyes. She caught me focussing on her and launched into a "Hallo sir, photo... massage...cheap..." The coastal belt has a limited vocabulary, but those who buy and sell have mastered it well....
.Living in the love of the common people...It always feels better to walk the weekly market of Assolna, far from the beaches of sensual sleaze. Yellow, orduo, is the colour of the bananas and the young fruitseller's dress. She does a quick calculation of what a fraction of a dozen should cost.
Red is the colour of youth, turning to grey as the years roll by, just as new orange rooftiles take on seasoned brown hues after many gruelling monsoons. Old country tiles with curved profiles stand alongside modern Mangalore tiles with their sophisticated curves and grooves.
A young sari clad woman dashes past the Fatorda Rosario Chapel laden with her burden of the day. But lightly doth she tread...oh, the litheness of youth!
The familiar blue, white and red colours of the kapodd of a Gauddi woman. She knelt at the cross in front of the Chapel at Monte Hill in Margao and sang her prayers in a singsong chant. Her heartfelt wailing seemed to hark back to a time before Christianity and Hinduism... to an era when human beings just fell to their knees and prayed to the unknown in the face of adversity. She remained there for more than an hour, lost in her transcendental communion.