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The shitting fields - Toby Deveson

The shitting fields

India 21-04-11:

Driving towards Delhi from Mathura, early in the morning as the sun came up, mist rising, on the fields waist high in crop or scrub and building sites, the beginnings of temporary villages, all of them almost beautiful.

Spirits were high, Holi was over and the hard work was done. Hope and trepidation mixed with exhaustion as our minds drifted and played with the possibilities held within the rolls of film or memory cards, ready to explode into life.

Field after field rolled past as it slowly dawned on us that something was not quite as it should be. Not sure what it was, neither of us spoke until, almost as one we realised that sticking out, just above the line of the crops were heads. Lots of heads. Some were swaying, some bobbing and some were still, but they were definitely all heads. Occasionally we saw one disappear and sometimes a complete person appeared and meandered out of the field, skillfully avoiding the randomly scattered fellow heads. Inside the car we had a brief moment of confusion, a need to confirm we were both seeing the same thing.

And then the laughter started. There, as we drove along the dual carriageway, the sun coming up burning away the morning mist, we were witnessing the population of India come to life, waking up to face another day.

As one – man, woman and child – having their morning shit.

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