Mud is plastered on brick walls. Black smoke covers up one side. A fire burns with small clay mounds on each side. An iron pan is suspended above the fire by the clay mounds. A chapatti (bread) cooks on top of the pan, soon to be turned by the fingers of a Kahani girl. Her sash is tied around her shoulder and waist to prevent it from catching fire or dangling in the ashes. She collects the ashes in a cup to be used as soap for washing the pan later. Her heels are delicately balanced on a stool about an inch above the ground. Her toes support her as they rest on the mud floor. As she squats, she keeps one eye on the chapatti cooking, and rolls the dough out for the next one, flapping it between her hands to give it more shape. It is already dark, but she has sufficient light from the fire, just enough light to see the pan. She doesn’t need to see anything else, she has learned to feel for most things, and has memorized where things are and how to move about in the dark. The “angrezi,” or ‘foreigner’ watches from behind her without saying a word. She often helps, but tonight she is just observing, taking it all in. She hears the foreigner tell one of her little cousins to come and get the photo-thingy. Suddenly, her name is called, she turns, and a bright flash lights up the cooking area.
The moment is captured forever.Man, I miss it so much.