Representations of Home Creative Journal

ROAM - Summer/Autumn 2023 - ROAM 3

New Landmarks

Jonaki Ray

The labourers stand in a triangle with their shovels angled as if mirroring their widespread legs. They are hundreds of kilometres away from their village.


Why did you travel so far from home?


“What else can we do? There are no jobs in the village, and we had to pawn our lands too. Now, we are trying to pay back the money-lenders from what we get here, and send money from what is left to our families back at home.”

They dig for twelve hours, get two chapatis and one sabzi, three hundred rupees a day, and a plastic sheet to sleep underneath.


What is getting built?


“We don’t know. Perhaps a base for the pigeons?”, one says, smilingly. As if overhearing, the pigeons wait, perching like Roman spectators on the half-built pillars, encircling the men and the ground.


The men mix water, and as the soil beneath them slushes, turning into a sinkhole, clamber out. All day, every day, the bulldozers continue cranking, and the ground beneath them continues breaking


When the news spreads about the ‘breathing illness’, they are told to go home. The contractor who took money from them for this job has disappeared, and there are no trains or buses.


They start walking back home, leaving a lone slipper fossilized in the new concrete.


Jonaki Ray



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