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Abakase Dekha

Subash at his canteen when I first meet him. Jaldhaka, West Bengal – September 2016

Abakase Dekha, photo essay by Siddhant Goswami

This story comes from the chaos of the faraway city. This story comes from a home situated in Jaldhaka. This story stays among the hills of Jaldhaka. I have always wanted to spend time residing at a strangers’ place, listen to their stories. A home made of wood, the windows or the doors that have never perceived the aroma of a city. I arrived at this place when the trees were shedding their leaves, the sunlight emanating a tinge of wintry feels, the waves thudding forcefully against the hilly boulders, chipped broken pathways leading into the dense foliage. I was overwhelmed in every sense of the word.

In the month of September I went to Jaldhaka on a vacation. I was staying at my brother’s quarter. As there was no one to cook for me, I used to have my meals in the canteen at my brother’s office. One fine morning, I met Subash, the head cook at Hidal Electric Powerhouse. I went to his house a couple of times, not invited. I spent time gossiping with their children, or taking a stroll with his elder son or a quick swimming with his younger son. Subash fed me with couple of eatables many a times. Every day I used to go to his canteen, to have the first cup of tea of the day. I talked about cinema as well as music with his elder daughter. In the evening we used to sit in his dining room and talk. His younger daughter was learning consonants and vowels from the elder one. Locals from that area used to play carom every evening. Subash used to join them, after returning from work. His daughters would soon be heading to Falakata, Alipurduar district, as soon as their exams get over. On the other hand, his elder son would be headed to Kalimpong to attend a relative’s wedding.

Subash is no more a stranger.

(by Siddhant Goswami)

Subash at his home, with his younger daughter, Sudekshar Roy. He would soon be leaving for work.
Sudekshar writes a sequence of alphabets in her copy.
Sudeshna, the elder daughter corrects Sudekshar\’s sequence with utmost sincerity.
Samir, in the middle, has come to catch up with Sudarshan, the eldest son, while the elder sister remains engaged in teaching the younger one.
Sudarshan comes here on a regular basis to play carom in his leisure time with his friends.
The temperature has fallen to around eighteen degrees. Subash is sharing a game with a young boy who is known to be a very good carom player in the local area.
On the left there’s Surdarshan’s friend who bought herself a packet of chips. Sudarshan, the roguish self he is, snatches the packet from her and starts running.
At around 7 a.m. every day, Sudeshna gets ready to head to school.
Sudekshar at a field near her home, enjoying her freedom.
Sudhanshu, younger brother of Sudarshan visits their father at his canteen regularly. Sometimes he helps him bring things from the market. Subash here is making tea and Sudhanshu has been waiting to have his cup.
I was taking a stroll with Sudhanshu. The temperature was increasing with every minute gone by indicating the end of the golden period of light for the day. In no time, Sudhanshu climbed onto a rock and dived into the water followed by me, a few minutes after taking this snap.


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