I think I shouldn’t write as if I am producing Dishaa articles. Last night I kept thinking I have made so many plans for the future now I am doubting that I will have all that future — the moment I ఎక్క్ed [climbed] the jeep I was conscious that anything could happen while covering the winding path up — and especially down — the hill. Then when we got out of the jeep and started walking I projected our walk back in the dark might bring us to our final destination — it didn’t help that people kept talking about tigers, Naxalites, or the time I went to this one village where they simply kill you if they don’t think you need to be there and which the government has never even heard of. Of course I was glad to learn that there were villages that the government never heard of and my only disappointment was that as a result of this visit by the journalist who told this story the government got involved there. Who knows. Maybe they didn’t like being unheard of. Even regional states (like AP) though they don’t have a military, are violent entities.
We visited an NFE center in the mountains. This place had no electricity and all the children were huddled in a room with Alladin-style lamps and trying to copy their alphabets and arithmetic lessons in the semi0darkness. There were about 8 of us who went to “visit” this place. We all talked to the kids in Telugu – except me I was silent yesterday – and would periodically ask, “మీకు తెలుగు వచ్చా?” But there was no answer except yes — for all they knew this was part of the test, as if they were supposed to know Telugu. I would not understand why a night school for working children would be run in a foreign language. Only in India do people assume people can and should be made to learn in a foreign language.
[From Notebook: Natraj Supreme Deluxe. not dated, probably from late 1998]