Wednesday, January 6, 2021

In dialogue with Navnit.

"Aayie ji. Bhaitye," he offered me the chair, giving out one earphone bud to listen to the song. Didn't tell much about the song but, played it. 

Girmitya. At first, I couldn't understand what Girmitiya meant.  As I listened to the song and watched the animated video, I could understand what it was all about: Indentured labor. 

Navnit played another song. "Thoda patience se sunna," he advised.  Song titled, Fiji bidesia. Talking of Fiji islands, he said, "Look at Fiji, it's behind Australia. We can see all the places these people were transported to. 

Why don't you read what I shared, he prompted and shared all the resources he got on Girmitiya. He showed the documents he drafted and edited. Well, formatted.  A few stories on how indenture works, a report on how people got exploited. A narrative from the perspective of a family. There's a lot that's written. There was also song lyrics. On being asked about it, "Ye suniye ji,"  he played Chitti Aaiye hai song.  

He began with the trivia of the song. This talks about how one feels when someone goes to Pardes and the repercussions of it.  

I was done with the stories and stood up to getaway. Rukhiye na ji, He grabbed my hand and made me sit. Listen to this song. I thought he was showing me another song, instead, he opened the lyrics. Prompted me to sing,I had no clue how to read, he asked me to sing. 

Ye tune hai. He told. 

Dilip kumar gaaya hai. 

Mere Dil Todne Waala hai. He began singing. Mellow and soothing. I was glad, I obliged his request and sat. So that I got a chance to listen to him singing. We listened to him singing for a while. 

I wanted to talk to him about the book I read on indentured labour, Viriah. I wanted to listen more stories on indentured labour and also his perspectives on modern indentured labour but, I had to attend another urgent work and finish the report I started. So, I got away but, made a mental note to talk to him about indentured labour in detail. 

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