ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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My Fellow Traveller

A chance encounter with a young brickmaker during a bus journey through the villages of Tamil Nadu opens the eyes — and the heart.

Though it is only 6 am, there is a small crowd around the tea stall on a cart. The cart, with its ancient brass boiler, is the centre of unceasing activity. I enjoy the tea with its head of froth and, no less, the rhythmic movements of the man making it.

The bus arrives with only standing room. The conductor — a sharp salesman — lures me in with the assurance of a seat at the next stop. There is the predicted exodus at Uthangarai and I get a window seat. A young man crowds me in, leaving ample space for a middle-aged woman who sits next to him. Both have boarded the bus with me at Chengam and are obviously acquainted with each other.

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