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Ranjan Nautiyal


Hallimu was a name that sat easy on everybody’s tongue. It had a quality that made it sound just right, no matter who called him out. When our grandmother called him out to drop the bundle of dried firewood by the kitchen door, it sounded like a name that belonged to a man at least a generation younger, and one who had done little other than obey commands and carry out orders. When our fathers called called him out by his name, it sounded like a man who was considered as an equal by men in their prime, and he would take on more than his share of the task he was called out for. Mostly it was to load the tractor with sacks of fertilizers, or unload sacks of grain, or haul the long-end of the plough to where the iron-hook welded at the back of the tractor awaited…