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Journal entry 4: November 25, 2019

Portraits, by Khushboo Srivastava

The three of us, Rahul, Revati, and I, are in the home of Mr. Vinod Shinde who is an acquaintance of our field contact Kishor Kardak. His is a small house comprising one room which doubles as a hall, living room and bedroom, as well as a kitchen. It is equipped with such appliances as a TV, a computer, a washing machine, and a water cooler, jostling for space in the little kitchen. When he learned of our association with the Indian Institute of Technology, Vinod was very excited. He told us of this one student from his neighbourhood who recently won a seat at the prestigious institute. The entire community got together to appreciate him.


Now, we are with Mrs. Sudarshan Kaur, or Sudha Tai, as she is locally known. She is a Hindu woman married to a Sikh gentleman, a marriage arranged by her parents.  We see a photograph of Guru Nanak on one wall of the living room and a picture of Lord Ram on the opposite wall. Sudha Tai doesn’t make much of her interfaith marriage, despite such unions being so rare in India.

Sudha Tai’s house is a two-storeyed house. Her husband retired from government service (he was in the Indian Railways) about ten years ago, and they have been able to undertake renovations from their savings and the pension he receives. Sudha Tai is very vocal about how young people today needed to appreciate the value of education.    

She has been a long-term supporter of the Congress Party and even contested ward-level elections on a party ticket. She asked us to come back later to discuss in greater detail.