It was depressing, and even a little frightening, to cross the highway on my way back to Vijay’s house … The act of walking changed the way I experienced everything around Kothur. My uneasiness while crossing the highway and the diminution I felt as I walked for what seemed like hours across that flat landscape brought me a little closer to the experience of the workers. Walking shrunk me down to the level of an insect, for even as I made my way slowly towards the steel factory along the dirt track that ran under the highway, I could see the cars and trucks speeding past. It made me feel lost, unfit somehow for the new world I could see up there.
On how modernization is leaving the vast majority of Indians behind. An excerpt from “The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India” by Siddhartha Deb. Excerpted in Guernica. Here.