It was Mirzapur again this morning.The morning clinic brings in a steady stream of women in all shapes and sizes...The call for prayer in the mosque is followed by a spectrum of pretty little ladies pouring out from the madrassas in green dresses and white scarves...very curious to see me sitting in the clinic,they peep in through the netted window with broad smiles.Some of them greet me with a salaamalequm! to which I immediately respond walequm salaam! and am rewarded by giggles..Near the door, the whole morning, a dignified elderly gentleman has been watching the proceedings in the clinic and Mukesh introduces him as the patriach of the family and the head of the village....he serves us lovely tea towards mid-morning in decent china...By the way ,his son has won the municiple elections I believe.
My colleagues tell me there has never been a communal violence in the area.Mind you ,there is not one ANC patient in the clinic.The NRHM actually has made it's presence felt here,they go to the PHC.The village chowk has a government officer revising the ration card...a small cluster of people are at it.The democracy actually works here ,it seems.
It is a fascinating world this,closed no doubt, but occassionally you get a fleeting peep into their world ..a world of a lot of things....but along with it ,..of talent ..of culture ,..and a lot of skill.