By Priyadarshini Chatterjee
For years the people in my village had not slept. The dreams did not let them sleep.
During the day they went about their mundane chores in a sleep-starved stupor, their blood-shot eyes sunk deep in dark, hollow craters; their limbs flaccid and steps uncertain, like addled bacchanals. They all looked strangely alike.
And at night they sat, in their courtyards or in the open fields, staring blankly into the darkness. If the newborns cried in hunger their mothers stuffed a piece of cloth in their mouth. And if an ailing man coughing blood cried out for help, the villagers hurled at him such appalling curses that he shriveled and festered to death that very night. Such was the state in our village.
My family’s plight was no different.