Find a way to change the story, Mama

Radhika and I
Exhausted in the late afternoon heat
On a news shoot.
Can’t remember right away where we were
Not Banda, not Muzzafarpur, not Raipur
Seems somewhere in Rajasthan.

I remember the hut.
Long, not square like children draw.
Big shady tree outside
Men sitting on a charpai
Invite us to sit with them
A large open space
Our taxi nearby.

We walk into a dark, cool hut,
low door
Small children with pieces of dry roti in their hands
Big brown eyes.

Women offer us food
Roti and something wet to go with it.
No water, thank you, I say.
Even though my eyes are watering
Hot spicy food
For a hungry camera team.

I take a few shots afterwards,
A dramatic plough in the foreground
Famine
Others in the village
have gone
Migrant labour on city roadsides.
Silence all around

Our hosts, the amused, generous women

They are wearing the big ghera skirts
Just like the tribal women at Delhi intersections
With starving babies clutching them
A dirty empty milk bottle in their hand
Pleading, Begging

It hurts to look at them
To even think about them as I see them
I look away and
Try to shut my mind

Even though Mother Teresa
explained, Give to the poor,
Its better than giving to the rich
Any day.

The car moves again
The girls will say
Mum, you said you will tell us a story
after we take this turn.

In their village
They were gracious hosts
In my city
They are beggars
(Find a way to change that story, Mama)

About Natasha Badhwar

"Because I'm a Tinker. That's who I am. Tinkers fix things. But I can't do it alone." (Pause for lots of action. Group Action......) "You did it, Tinker, you saved Spring!" I also have three children, one marriage, a million friends and one life.
This entry was posted in journalism, news camera, World peace. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Find a way to change the story, Mama

  1. This is SO GOOD, Natasha. The juxtaposition is so subtle and well-done. I love the last line.

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