“Where are you from?”
“From a remote village.”
“Oh! I see.”
Every time I was asked this question, the conversation stops here. And I always expected that the person in front of me will ask my village name; or, maybe the location at least. Then, after twelve years of living in a city, I have realized that nobody cares about your village name. Indian villages do not need a name. To you, these are all the same. To you, it is a nameless, remote, unrelated, not participated in society, subhuman, unsophisticated, faceless place.
My story starts with a closed door. When is the first time you have seen a closed door? Maybe when the choice of your college closed the door in front of you. And you become angry. In Harobelavadi, or in any other name, the doors are closed by means of human selection.
I will tell you the story of twenty-five rupees a day. We use the word “insignificant” to cut down the lower values in statistics. Once you put twenty-five rupees in the numerator and your one-day earnings in the denominator, you will get this number: insignificant. Yes, in Harobelavadi, or in any other name, the gross domestic production is insignificant.
I know you will love to hear the story of a phoenix while sipping your cold coffee. My friend, I cannot tell you about such great stories of winning. My friend, with twenty-five rupees a day, the doorman will never open the door. Have you ever heard of the word “infinity”? The price of freedom to choose is infinity in Harobelavedi, or in any other name.
They will offer water once you sit in front of their house, or a similar structure. I know water is free for you. And you believe, water is free for everyone. Yes, you are right. Statistically right. We do not count the “insignificant” while we comment. Water becomes costly once the rain defers for first six months. Water becomes costly when you walk for miles once the rain suspends. Water becomes costly once you leave your newborn child at home and walk for miles to fill your bucket.
And then one day, seeing the closed door for many days, they will just pass the time by playing games on the temple floor. It is just passing the afternoon so that you will forget about the evening. Evening comes slowly with leaves cast off, with abandoned bullock carts, with leftover age, and with silence.
I forgot to tell you about the school, or the blackboard of the school. It is pitch black. White alphabets are inscribed on it. White alphabets with the script you cannot read. Oh, are you feeling proud already? Yes, you guessed it right. It is not English. The white alphabets represent the other sixteen hundred fifty-one. Then I go out on the school ground. The children are looking at me in great astonishment. To them, I came from the other side of the closed door. It is like Deja-vu. I can remember the closed door. I can see the same classroom when I first tried to open the closed door. Somehow, I ended up at the other side of the door. However, the door was never opened for Harobelavadi, or for any other name.