No Place for Us
This is a story about Jatryabhai. He was forced to leave his village Khedi, because a dam was coming up nearby. All the villagers were forcibly evacuated.
They were given land far away from their ancestral village. The new village Sinduri was situated on barren and rocky land. They were given very small houses with tin roofs. Life in the new village was like life in hell.
After that, Jatrya shifts to Mumbai in the hope of a better life for him and his family. But life in Mumbai is very difficult. They have to live in makeshift shanties. All the family members have to work long hours in order to meet their ends.
Displacement from one’s roots can be quite painful. Starting life afresh in a new environment can be highly difficult. More often than not, survival is at stake.
Think and Tell
Question 1: Jatrya felt alone, even in a crowd of people. Have you ever felt like this?
Answer: Yes, it happens sometime. For example, I feel alone when I have to wait for train for many hours.
Question 2: Imagine how it feels to leave one’s own place and go far away to live in a new place?
Answer: It must be difficult to start life at an unknown place.
Question 3: Why do you think families like that of Jatrya’s are coming to big cities?
Answer: Such people come to big cities to look for better opportunities. They want to earn more. They want to give good education to their children. They want to improve their life.
Question 4: Have you seen any children (in your school or neighbourhood) who also go to work?
Answer: A few boys of my age from the nearby slum work at various grocery stores in the neighbourhood.
Question 5: What kind of work do they do? Why do they have to work?
Answer: These boys take orders from customers and give them different items.
Question 1: In Khedi village what all did children learn?
Answer: Children in Khedi village learn many things from their elders. They learnt to dance and sing. They learnt to play flute and dhol. They learnt to make pots of clay. They learnt to imitate the sound of birds.
Question 2: What do you learn from your elders?
Answer: I learnt drawing and painting from my father.
Question 3: Jatrya learnt so many things in Khedi. How many of those would be useful for him in Mumbai?
Answer: None of the skills would be useful for him in Mumbai.
Question 4: Do you hear the sounds of birds every day? Which ones?
Answer: I hear the sound of only one bird every day, and they are hoarse sounding crows.
Question 5: Can you imitate the sound of any bird? Show how.
Answer: Yes, I can imitate the sound of a crow.
Question 6: What are some of the sounds that you hear every day, but the people of Khedi may not be hearing?
Answer: Every day, I hear the sound of trucks, buses, rickshaws and cars. I hear the sounds of horns of these vehicles. I am sure people of Khedi may not be hearing these sounds.
Question 7: Have you experienced silence? When and where?
Answer: Once, I had been to a holiday resort in Uttarakhand. It was really silent and serene place.