Recent Work, Abir Karmakar

Archana Pidathala’s response to Abir’s images

At the beginning I kid myself that we would emerge ‘safe’ on the other side of lockdown 1.0. I cooked and ate my way through those 21 days. Mango dal, roasted paneer, mint chutney, Ma’s chicken pilaf. What was I thinking? How many visual reminders did I need to snap out of compassion fatigue and 12” chalk circles. To enquire how everybody around is getting by. The sex workers, the ragpickers, the ballon sellers, the street vendors. The millions of men and women walking home. In white heat. With babies and bags. As wheels lie idle. Lives crumbling with every step. No work. No water. No wages. What land mine could one step on next—exhaustion, starvation, state violence?

How this story of the pandemic in our country is much larger than the virus. As one half of the nation tries to escape death by apathy, how can we not weep blood?

Archana Pidathala is the author and publisher of the cookbook Five Morsels of Love, a tribute to the incredible culinary art of her grandmother and is currently working on her second book.