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Godavari Kunda

(February 4, 2020 @ 13:34:31)

My aunt, Laxmi, stares into the pond as my mother, Sandhya, stands guard behind her. They were very close, as can be guessed from this picture, taken in 1976 at Godavari Kunda. Godavari was a sanctuary for them – a place where the two sisters could be on their own, a place where nobody would nag at them. They lived in Gabahal and it took them an hour to get to Godavari but the distance never stopped them. Their alcoholic father caused so much chaos in the family and they had serious financial problems. To get away from the problems at home, my aunt always spent her weekends in Godavari and my mother tagged along to soothe her. My mother remembers how sad they were the day this picture was taken. When I prodded to find out more about this photo, my aunt said: “I don’t want to talk about it.” She would spend hours in silence, contemplating her reflection in the pond. She enjoyed watching the fish swim about freely, and envied them. The fish would dive and dart around and my aunt could do nothing but stare at them. Sometimes, she cried uncontrollably. Most of the times, she felt chained. She must have felt like she was drowning in waves of self-pity. Her sombre expression hints at just how melancholic she was, just how desperately she sought freedom and independence.