“Where is home?” is an Illustrated narrative with poetry, which seeks to record the memory of these difficult times, the scars of our history, our imagined homes and the curse of migration.
Triparna Maiti: These are challenging times to deal with, where you have no idea what is happening to the rest of the world, but one can only trust the news and online content sitting at home. The ongoing crisis of migrant workers has dominated the front pages for many days now. The authorities have taken no measures to fix the situation. I come from a middle-class household and have the privilege to sit back at home. No matter how boredom creeps in, it is a safe and secure place for us. But these daily wage workers spend all their time trying to earn their bread and have no time to worry about issues like COVID-19. Every day is a struggle for them, which will go on until poverty and unemployment continue to persist in our country.
Amidst confusion, pressure, and insecurity, they are left with no choice. They must walk back home. And while the migrants walk the long walk home in the thousands on the roads and streets of this country, people stay silent due to the lockdown. Home has become a safe place for the privileged to cherish the valuable moments which were ignored earlier due to the rat race to earn a livelihood.
The faint footsteps of the migrant workers ring louder in my ears than the clanking of utensils witnessed in the whole country on the evening of the public curfew. It also leaves me with a thought that “Where is home?” I realized that this question is not new but an old one, which remains ignored for years. This very question reverberates from another corner of our nation, the land of beauty and paradise, where the latter has become just a mirage in a desert for its inhabitants. Lockdown is not new to this country; only the majority is experiencing it this time due to the massive global Pandemic. Maybe now, we should understand that finding a safe place like home is difficult for many people during such situations, especially when such steps are taken without appropriate planning
Shreya Rawat:Amid panic and pressure, the period of self-quarantine started when we moved from our hostels to home. I came to Delhi, and Triparna went to her home in Bengal. Our collective conscience remained, like in our hostels, where we would address the current political issues and debate over them, and also feel depressed over the tensions in our nation. But, after the lockdown, we could not do anything, and sitting at home made us feel even more guilty of our privileges. When the helplessness was taking a toll on me, Triparna told me she was thinking of this graphic narrative, “Where is Home?” and if I would help. I realized that there was no better option. This was perhaps the best way to retain the memory of these days, these events, and these scars in our history; to express it through our art. This was our way of contributing in the most modest way possible to remember the suffering of migrant labourers as they travelled across the country on foot and the Kashmiris as they suffered equally in different lockdowns and to take note of our own privileges at this point in time.
*Please use/share the illustrations only in the narrative form, and not as separate images
Artist: Triparna Maiti
Co-creator/ Editor: Shreya Rawat
“The Valley Weeps”, Poem by Srividya Srinivasan
Triparna Maiti is an Illustrator and Animation Filmmaker trained in Animation Cinema at Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata. She has a deep interest in creating illustrations, storyboards, and graphic narratives using her personal experiences. Follow her on Instagram
Shreya Rawat is a trained filmmaker, with specialization in Producing for Films and Television at Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata. With experience in acting, producing, directing, assistant direction in fiction as well as documentaries. She likes to create fresh and unique content in various forms, keeping her unique voice at the center of her work. Follow her on shreyarawat.com
Srividya Srinivasan is a published author and poet, with a wide and prolific range of writings – short stories, flash fiction, poetry, political essays, film appreciation, corporate writings, novellas, and novels. Follow her on srividyasrinivasan.com
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