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Ek Ajeeb

si

Jhunjulahat

The covered face, the pestle, the mortar; all shot in tight close up; the excessive force with which the arms and pestle swing vertically down, across the screen; the remorseless regularity of stone pounding down on stone; all contribute to the strange tremor of unease that stirs the memory into comparisons with that other pestle and mortar – the iconic lingam, its base encased in the yoni –   found in the sanctum of  temples all over the Indian subcontinent.  The verticality of swinging arms and pestle dissolves surprisingly into the horizontal circling of two women playing "kikli". Their laughing faces are open; holding crossed hands they pull away from each other as they swing in unrestrained circles – faster and faster- till they fall, exhausted, satiated.The camera pans the long horizontals of their limp bodies as they lie sprawled on the grass, dead to the world, if only for a brief moment.And then the epiphanic instant is gone in a flash and we are back in the present reality – that of the woman, enclosed in the courtyard, accompanied only by the monotony of pestle thudding down on mortar…