Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ranchi Lok Sabha Election 2024

    Ranchi is the capital of Jharkhand. Jharkhand has 14 Parliamentary Constituencies . The Lok Sabha election 2024 is currently taking place to elect 14 members to represent Jharkhand in the Lok Sabha.

Candidates of 2024 election

Sanjay SethBJP
Yashaswini SahayINC
Manoj KumarBSP
Shyam Bihari PrajapatiBHDRP
Sarweshwari SahuEKSBD
Hemnti DeviSAP
Binod OraonBMP
Mintu PaswanSUCI
Ranjana GiriRPI(A)
Ramhari GopeAPOI
Pankaj Kumar RaviPPI(D)
Soma SinghJMBP
Harinath SahuLOKHAP
Praween KachhapSBKP
Dhananjay Bhagat GandhiMARD
Birendra Nath ManjhiABJP
Dharmendra TiwaryBHJTM
Ainul AnsariIND
Anjani PandeyIND
Arshad AyubIND
Devendra Nath MahtoIND
Kameshwar Prasad SawIND
Koleshwar MahtoIND
Manoranjan BhattacharyaIND
Prabeen Chandra MahatoIND
Santosh Kumar JaiswalIND
Nipu SinghRJSWP

Monday, January 22, 2024

The Flood by Kamala Markandaya | Short Story from Nectar in a Sieve


Chapter 7 of Nectar in a Sieve - 

Nature is like a wild animal that you have trained to work for you. So long as you are vigilant and walk warily with thought and care, so long will it give you its aid; but look away for an instant, be heedless or forgetful, and it has you by the throat.

Ira had been given in marriage in the month of June, which is the propitious season for weddings, and what with the preparing for it, and the listlessness that took hold of me in the first days after her departure, nothing was done to make our hut weatherproof or to secure the land from flooding. That year the monsoon broke early with an evil intensity such as none could remember before.

It rained so hard, so long and so incessantly that the thought of a period of no rain provoked a mild wonder. It was as if nothing had ever been but rain, and the water pitilessly found every hole in the thatched roof to come in, dripping onto the already damp floor. If we had not built on high ground the very walls would have melted in that moisture. I brought out as many pots and pans as I had and we laid them about to catch the drips, but soon there were more leaks than we had vessels. ...Fortunately, I had laid in a stock of firewood for Ira's wedding, and the few sticks that remained served at least to cook out rice, and while the fire burnt, hissing at the water in the wood, we huddled round trying to get dry. At first the children were cheerful enough-they had not known such things before, and the lakes and rivulets that formed outside gave them endless delight; but Nathan and I watched with heavy hearts while the waters rose and rose and the tender green of the paddy field sank under and was lost.

"It is a bad season," Nathan said sombrely. "The rains have destroyed much of our work; there will be little eating done this year."

At his words, Arjun broke into doleful sobs and his brother, Thambi, followed suit. They were old enough to understand, but the others, who weren't, burst into tears too, for by now they were cramped and out of humour with sitting crouched on the damp floor; and hungry since there was little to eat, for most of the food had gone to make the wedding feast, and the new season's harvesting lay outside un-gathered and rotting. I hushed them as best I could, throwing a reproachful glance at my husband for his careless words, but he was un-noticing, sunk in hatred and helplessness.

As night came on-the eighth night of the monsoon- the winds increased, whining and howling around our hut as if seeking to pluck it from the earth. Indoors it was dark-the wick, burning in its shallow saucer of oil, threw only a dim wavering light-but outside the land glimmered, sometimes pale and sometimes vivid, in the flicker of lightning. Towards midnight the storm was at its worst. Lightning kept clawing at the sky almost continuously, thunder shook the earth, and even a prayer came with difficulty.

"It cannot last," Nathan said. "The storm will abate by the morning."

Even as he spoke a streak of lightning threw itself down at the earth, there was a tremendous clap of thunder, and when I uncovered my shrinking eyes I saw that our coconut palm had been struck. That, too, the storm had claimed for its own.

In the morning everything was calm. Even the rain had stopped. After the fury of the night before, an un-natural stillness lay on the land. I went out to see if anything could be saved of the vegetables, but the shoots and vines were battered and broken, torn from their supports and bruised; they did not show much sign of surviving. The corn field was lost. Our paddy field lay beneath a placid lake on which the children were already sailing bits of wood.

Many of our neighbours fared much worse than we had. Several were homeless, and of group of men who sheltered under a tree when the storm began six had been killed by lightning.

Kali's hut had been completely destroyed in the last final fury of the storm. The roof had been blown away bodily, the mud walls had crumbled.

"At least it stood until the worst was over," said Kali to me," and by God's grace we were all spared." She looked worn out; in the many years I had known her I had never seen her so deflated. She had come to ask for some palm leaves to thatch the new hut her husband was building; but I could only point to the blackened tree, its head bitten off and hanging by a few fibres from the withered stump.

"We must thatch our roof before the night," I said. "The rains may come again. We need rice too."

Nathan nodded. "We may be able to buy palm leaves in the village-also rice."

He went to the granary in a corner of which the small cloth bundle of our savings lay buried. It had been heavy once, when we were newly married: now the faded rag in which it was tied was too big and the ends flapped loosely over the knot. Nathan untied it and counted out twelve rupees.

 "One will be enough," I said. "Let us go."

 "I will take two. We can always put it back."

 In the village the storm had left disaster and desolation worse than on our own doorstep. Uprooted trees sprawled their branches in ghastly fashion over streets and houses, flattening them and the bodies of men women indiscriminately. Sticks and stones lay scattered wildly in angry confusion. The tannery stood, its bricks and cement had held it together despite the raging winds; but the workers' huts, of more flimsy construction, had been demolished. The thatch had been ripped from some, where others stood there was now only a heap of mud with their owners' possessions studding them in a kind of pitiless decoration. The corrugated-iron shacks in which some of the men lived were no more: here and there we could see the iron sheets in unexpected places-suspended from tree tops, or blown and embedded on to the walls of houses still left standing. There was water everywhere, the gutters were overflowing into the streets. Dead dogs, cats and rats cluttered the roadside, or floated starkly on the waters with blown distended bellies.

 People were moving about amid this destruction, picking out a rag here, a bundle there, hugging those things that they thought to be theirs, moving haltingly and with a kind of despair about them. People we knew came and spoke to us in low voices, gesturing hopelessly.

 "Let us go," I said. "It is no good; we will come back later."

 We turned back, the two rupees unspent. Our children came out to meet us, their faces bright with hope.

 "The shops are closed or destroyed," I said. "Go inside. I will get you some gruel presently."

 Their faces faded; the two younger ones began crying listlessly from hunger and disappointment. I had no words to comfort them.

 At dusk the drums of calamity began; their grave, throbbing rhythm came clearly through the night, throughout the night, each beat, each tattoo, echoing the mighty impotence of our human endeavour. I listened. I could not sleep. In the sound of the drums I understood a vast pervading doom; but in the expectant silences between, my own disaster loomed larger, more consequent and more hurtful.

  We ventured out again when the waters had subsided a little, taking with us as before two rupees. The time things were somewhat better; the streets were clear, huts were going up everywhere. My spirits rose.

  "To Hanuman first for rice," said Nathan, excited.

"The gruel we have been swallowing has been almost plain water these days."

  I quickened my steps: my stomach began heaving at the thought of food.

Hanuman was standing in the doorway of his shop. He shook his head when he saw us. "You have come for rice," he said. "They all come for rice. I have none to sell, only enough for my wife and children."

  "And yet you are a merchant who deals in rice?"

  "And what if so? Are you not growers of it? Why then do you come to me? If I have rice I do not choose to sell it now; but I have told you, I have none."

  "We ask for only a little. We will pay for what we have--see, here is the money."

  "No, no rice, but--wait...they say Biswas is can try...."

To Biswas. "We come for rice. Look, here is our money."

  "Two rupees? How much do you think you can buy with two rupees?"

  "We thought--"

  "Never mind what you thought! Is this not a time of scarcity? Can you buy rice anywhere else? Am I not entitled to change more for that? Two ollocks I will let you have and that is charity."

  "It is very little for two rupees--"

  "Take it or leave it. I can get double that sum from the tanners, but because I know you--"

  We take it, we give up the silver coins. Now there is nothing left for the thatching, unless we use a rupee or two from the ten that remain in the granary.

  I put the rice in my sari, tuck the precious load securely in at the waist. We turn back. On the outskirts of the village there is Kenny. His face is grim and long, his eyes are burning in his pallid face. He sees us and comes up.

  "You too are starving, I suppose."

  I tap the roll at my waist-- the grains give at my touch.

  "We have a little rice--it will last us until times are better."

  "Times are better, times are better," he shouts.

"Times will not be better for many months. Meanwhile you will suffer and die, you meek suffering fools. Why do you keep silence? Why do you not demand--cry out for help--do something? There is nothing in this country, oh God, there is nothing!"

  We shrink from his violence. What can we do--what can he mean? The man is raving. We go on our way.

  The paddy was completely destroyed; there would be no rice until the next harvesting. Meanwhile, we lived on what remained of our salted fish, roots and leaves, the fruit of the prickly pear, and on the plantains from our tree. At last the time came for the rice terraces to be drained and got ready for the next sowing. Nathan told me of it with cheer in his voice and I told the children, pleasurably, for the fields were full of fish that would feed us for many a day. Then we waited, spirits lifting, eyes sparkling, bellies painful with anticipation.

  At last the day. Nathan went to break the dams and I with him and with me our children, sunken-eyed, noisy as they had not been for many days at the thought of the feast, carrying nets and baskets. First one hole, then another, no bigger than a finger's width, until the water eroded the sides and the outlets grew large enough for two fists to go through. Against them we held our nets, feet firm and braced in the mud while the water rushed away, and the fish came tumbling into them. When the water was all gone, there they were caught in the meshes and among the paddy, shoals of them leaping madly, wet and silver and good to look upon. We gathered them with flying fingers and greedy hearts and bore them away in triumph, with a glow at least as bright as the sun on those shining scales. Then we came and gathered up what remained of the paddy and took it away to thresh and winnow.

  Late that night we were still at work, cleaning the fish, hulling the rice, separating the grain from the husk. When we had done, the rice yield was meagre--no more than two measures--all that was left of the year's harvest and the year's labour.

  We ate, finding it difficult to believe we did so. The good food lay rich, if uneasy, in our starved bellies. Already the children were looking better, and at the sight of their faces, still pinched but content, a great weight lifted from me. Today we would eat and tomorrow, and for many weeks while the grain lasted. Then there was the fish, cleaned, dried and salted away, and before that was gone we should earn some more money; I would plant more vegetables...such dreams, delightful, orderly, satisfying, but of the stuff of dreams, wraithlike. And sleep, such sleep...deep and sweet and sound as I had not known for many nights; it claimed me even as I sat amid the rice husks and fish scales and drying salt.

Ranchi Lok Sabha Election 2024

     Ranchi is the capital of Jharkhand. Jharkhand has 14 Parliamentary Constituencies  . The Lok Sabha election 2024 is currently taking pl...