“Clink.” Steel glasses unite over wooden tables. Another dhaba (roadside eatery) hidden within the dirt suspended between bustling highways and blooming mustard fields. Amongst the chaos of lachee (cardamom) and sweet saunf (fennel seeds), a delectable masala cha is crafted. In shot-sized glasses, Punjabis indulge in the soul-refreshing tea, intoxicating with memories of simpler times; disrupted by greedy stomachs. 

“Grumble.” Fingers tear apart pieces of roti, uneven, dipping each piece into amb achar (pickled mango), and dehi (yoghurt) and desi ghee (butter), made from the milk of domestic water buffaloes. The lassi (yoghurt beverage) in this jug swirls unbothered: Water, contaminated, oscillates between wells positioned on opposite sides of the Radcliffe Line, yet roti bares all physical markings. 

“Sigh.” We are fragments of the same roti—torn without care then plunged into communal pots, boiling a trauma that refuses to soften. Eventually old rotis grow stale, cracking from human touch. Yet from attah (flour), new rotis are born, ready to adhere to the politics of finger, tooth, and stomach. Imagine a world where finger, tooth, and stomach divided roti evenly: A piece for you, a piece for me, for in between the instability of partition and the citizenship act, one fact remains: The roti we eat is the same.

About the author

More by
5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.