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Episode 01: streets
Episode 02: women at home
Episode 03: a lane
Episode 04: factories
Episode 05: doctor's advice
Episode 06: village girls
Episode 07: a lane again
Episode 00: studio demo
Khirkeeyan Team

Episode 2: Nepalease.

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Arun crossing the road with the cables.


Laxmi's TV.


Geeta's TV.


Our TV at Yamuna's.


Nepali mangalsutras have beads. No gold!

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Aastha, a young sculptor has been working at Khoj on their community art initiative. An earnest and emotional artist, she goes through the trials and tribulations it takes to get voluntary “community art and craft” projects off the ground and is easily dejected and let down once things don’t go as beautifully and naively as they aesthetically and ethically should. She agreed right on to work on the project and was one of the filters through which I first viewed Khirkee Extn, and also its relationship with Khoj.

Arun and Ramesh , the caretakers at Khoj,  live in a room on the terrace of Khoj with their wives Nirmala and Sunita and Ramesh’s squashable one-year old daughter Durga. 

Aastha, who has been teaching art at the Gyaandeep School in the same lane, was acquainted with some Nepali kids. She got to know that a new immigrant had arrived in Khirkee extn, and was living in the lane opposite. Knowing that Nirmala and Sunita hardly get out of Khoj and mingle with the community, she thought it would be nice to connect 4 Nepali women together, so that they could talk with each other.  

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Under the pretext of welcoming Yamuna, the new arrival, cables were laid from the top room of Khoj to the lane opposite. The coffee table in the foyer of Khoj was our patch bay. Arun, Ramesh and Bhuntu, Ramesh’s nephew (also newly arrived in Delhi, and from now on part of the crew) and Gambhir got into the act of laying the cables.  3 sets had to cross the road and jump over several buildings before they could run free into Laxmi, Geeta and Yamunas houses. Everyone had a TV and the cameras were just placed on them. Yamuna, whose house was bare, was given our TV. There was much excitement with the men folk and kids very eager to participate. After a while of initial banter and 4-way foolery and jokes, we cleared the men out and left the ladies to their own devices.

Now and then we checked in on the sound and video at patch-bay, enjoying the lilt and laughter in the Nepali language.  Soon the Khoj camera flickered madly and went off and was rendered dead. We had soldered it earlier on at Fareed’s but now it seemed that the pcb had blown. I had with me 2 Chinese cameras as backups, one was already not working, and the other was. For five-minutes they were a missing link (a blue quadrant) and then they were back on; Nirmala and Sunita, and baby Durga slightly yellow-toned nowJ, as it was a camera of another make.

A few days later, Arun sat up with Aastha and me as we transcribed the conversation. Amidst giggles and jokes, Laxmi’s mother spoke of how they came to Dehli with nothing, married at the Kalkaji Mandir, and have lived through sorrow to acquire joy. “First they ate silver rice, now its gold!” said Geetas’s mother. Another time, Laxmi’s mother inquires about Nirmala’s identity. “What are you?” Nirmala tells them that’s she’s Munda, from Jalpaiguri, she had a love marriage to Arun. Laxmi’s mother proclaims that hers was also a love marriage…maybe that’s why they connected us one on top of another in this screen…”

A particularly joyful moment was when the 3 of them held out the coloured bead chains on their necks, to show Nirmala. ‘ I have one, I wear one too, me also, me too!  Our ‘mangal sutra’ they said,'Without Gold' and then burst into chain laughter over the fact that the Nepalese ‘necklace’ given to a bride, that signifies matrimony contains no gold.


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