Picture a company town recast amidst the industrial north of Maharashtra, somewhere between Lonavala and New Bombay on National Highway 1. Writer Mathangi Krishnamurthy paints a background of homogenous order, strict adherence, and occasional ironies crinkling the placid exterior of an otherwise pleasant childhood. Krishnamurthy’s family and twenty-odd other families comprised one of a small collection of communities, a colony called Rasayani after the Hindi word for chemical (rasayan). Homes, relationships, even leisure were dictated in no small part by the pecking order at the company where everyone was employed, or related to someone employed there. Here, Krishnamurthy reminisces about the ways in which her straitlaced past informs and contradicts her free-form present:
It is more interesting for me to ask as to what are the accoutrements of childhood and how do they make us who we are? How do we narrate ourselves? And finally, lest we forget, what is the moral of the story? Soon, I will no longer be able to call Rasayani my “permanent address” on government forms. My directionality will suffer as will one part of my hybrid and usually directionless identity.
You can read the rest of Krishnamurthy’s engaging narrative as a member of the Bombay Dyeing Colony (West) at 3 Quarks Daily.