12 Sheffield Building

There was once an eerie little house where four women lived their sordid lives. They cackled and drank and carried on their on their brawls away from the eyes of the big bad world outside. Tonight, Daisy, the oldest among them was more drunk than ever and was beginning to hold conversations with the devil.

The devil said to her “Where are you from, my dear woman?”
Daisy told him that she belonged here, in this city, in the city where her young husband had tricked her through love into marriage, giving her no knowledge of the disease which grew in his innards and spread it’s way into the sunlit window of their nuptial togetherness. They had come here together and then he died and had left her alone.

“And how have you been?” queried the devil.
” I have just suffered an injury “ she said, and began to relate to him the details of her last sojourn into the town during which a Bhayya drove his bicycle right into her, making her drunken form tumble down into a ditch that the municipality has freshly dug in order to lay a new road. She had lost a major bone and had to have a metal rod inserted in her thigh in place of the lost bone.All this she told him with an air of camaraderie, as if she were talking to an old friend. And then she stopped dead at her tracks when Seema walked in through the door.

———–

Everyone’s maladies in 12 Sheffield Building seemed to wear them out, except Sridevi. Sridevi was the most absurd and pushy among them. Ella, whose ruination they were living off was carrying on on welfare. And the rest of them did menial work, cooking jobs, baby-sitting…They lived the kind of life that relegated their men to spaces which were negotiable, given the need. They managed to be cheerful and abusive, towards each other, but also the world at large.

It was pretty clear to Seema during the incandescent taxi ride from Byculla that this was going to be the last time she ever bided with hostel life. She wanted the freedom, the irregularity and all the promise that a part evangelical establishment could never offer. She just had never felt at home around people of her age. It wasn’t that she shied from their sense of order or decorum, no, her own mind was regimented enough to allow for discipline. And among all the things that she chided herself for, the lack of decorum had to be thrown in ,along with various other gaping ills. If it wasn’t for this one, her superiors at any given establishment could definitely pull her up for some other fine strand of unworthiness from deep within a Pandora’s box which she wanted to cough out or simply drop off at the first local train station like an orphan child. She was an angry, young, wild woman.

And when she found herself in Ella’s derelict apartment, it was Sridevi who welcomed her. She slept.

This is an installation, with writing, photography based work and video footage.

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