Tears On The Sand

Under the fading silver veil of a moonlit night, in the last hour before the dawn of morning light, on the glittery shores of a once turbulent river, an eighteen-year-old low-caste boy tirelessly shovelled grains of rock and coral into a banged-up truck’s weathered wooden cradle. The driver handed over five shiny ten-rupee coins to…

The Tunnel

Deep in the bowels of the Eastern Ghats Mountain Range nestled the small and obscure village of Cheenna Gato, meaning a tiny hole in the native tribal dialect, a mix of the Odiya and Telugu languages. The year is 1960, and while the rest of the world celebrated many human advancements, the villagers of this…

Bat Brigade

“Steady your breathing Naba. You are one with the forest. The jungle is an extension of you, an amplification of your senses. That which grows, creeps, crawls, and moves in it – you are aware of its presence. The night is your prowl and darkness your element,”¬†whispered the ninety-year-old warrior Akoijam to his prodigy. War…

Kaali of Malana

In a small stone tribal hut devoid of any hint of natural light, under an abnormally pitch-black night sky, with the moon and the stars hidden behind a veil of a never seen before black cloud, a mother gave birth to an unnaturally dark-skinned curly-haired girlchild. At 8,600 feet above sea level, isolated from the…

The Ancient Guards of Pancharatna

In the year 1980, a 17th-century cryptic temple lay hidden deep in the Joypur forest of Bishnupur subdivision in the Bankura district of India’s West Bengal state. This archaic monument was stone-built, unlike the other commonly found historical structures of terracotta in the region. The jungle had completely engulfed the structure, and ancient trees and…