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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 7: a lane again.

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Khirkeeeyaan’s economy and simplicity was apparent in episode one itself.

At all times the 4 TV’s saw exactly the same image, one that represented the site or rather one that became the site. 4 locations connected within a 200-mt radius of a neighbourhood. This geographical boundary, limited the network to a negotiable and visible distance that could be traced by the Coloured Cables. Thus, in the larger context of site and performance, the real-time feedback, collaboration and conversation between the ‘street’ or ‘community’ was received and read as truth. Everyone participating was there, their claim to this space was legitimized by virtue of them being there. The verite of camera and reality tv, importantly in this case 4 surveillance cameras was a ‘given’.

After 5 episodes, we had experimented with scripting part of the space. Anita Dube walked into the parlour in khirkeeyaan 6 and Tanmoy Sarkar an actor from NSD, was going to appear in the Khoj lane.

The underlying caste violence, which Khirkeeyaan 2 mirrored and projected to the fore had left an itching mark on me, both as participant and later as viewer. A lot of ‘current issues’ had been discussed and openly debated. And even though the quadrant allowed equal opportunity for all to be heard and be counted for, the insults and innuendo that surpassed play, foolery and neighborhood mockery had to a great extent flown from one young source. RajuBhai aka BabyUncle. Belligerent. Brat. Brahmin. Others debated with civility or ‘kept their place’ despite the open-ended structure of the interface…they had years of reason for doing so.

If someone had to temporarily challenge and rock this age-old status quo, this everyday anger and discrimination and violence against the lower caste, against minority religions and against the migrant, it would have to be someone from ‘outside’. A newcomer on the block, who could stake his claim to the street, and disappear when our TV’s turned off. 

So Khoj lane Reloaded.

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We start early in the evening, so that alcohol doesn’t become the crutch for violence, verbal abuse or just foolery. DADA Chai (where Jameel works) KT’s hair saloon, Raju’s genrel store and Jha galli, where a lot of migrant daily wage earners lived. We actually had wanted to revisit Mukhtar’s Bhai and his store, but his shop was shut and he was ill with fever.

Tanmoy, in tehmat, banyan and gamcha (‘taken’ by Gambhir from a labourer who roomed in one of his rented quarters) hung around the Chai Stall for the first 20 minutes listening to the conversations. Subtlety he entered frame and after a while, began to speak in Bengali. Immediately, people began speaking back to him. Posing a labourer looking for work, he slowly intervened and tugged at the contentious threads left behind from Khirkeeyaan 2. Over the next 2 hours the power dynamics slowly shifted away from BabyUncles position behind his shop counter to the chaiwalla and to the TV in Jha walli Galli where some workers reside. At about 9:00pm, the power went off in the lane and Khirkeeyaan exited from the space.

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