Sem 01 | Settlement Studies

A Story of Kond

Apurva Talpade

The Story of Kond

A village as mapped through the story arcs of five characters (also archetypes) that were encountered there. Each of these was harnessed to induce a particular narration of the story of Kond and each of these threads unspooled offered the opportunity to make maps, details of material and construction of the house form, drawings of routines and calendars of the annual festivals, several interviews, drawings of economic networks, etc. The task of the study was to investigate and present a telling of the transforming village, its socio-political present, its relationship with its geography, and its own aspirations and hopes, through the spatial character of the site.

As recounted here, the five personae that hold together the village :

The Nagarsevak  / Councillor

Embodying the transformation of the village (from an erstwhile agricultural / fishing economy to a settlement of daily wage labourers) with his established and concretised house; and its political and social ambition through his truths and fictions regarding the needs and desires of his community.

The Shopkeeper

Connected to the networks within the village, as well as to the influence of larger economic spheres via the movements of goods and produce through and around the village. The house-shop from where he operates is a central node in the village and his diplomatic/ministerial role is pivotal. He is linked to each household through the daily transactions conducted and also in no meagre way through the transaction of gossip.

The Old Woman

Embedded in the labyrinth of the house clusters, living in the interstitial spaces where the everyday life and its practices are most keenly held / felt.


The totemic goddess negotiating new familial relationships with popular deities from the Hindu pantheon. She becomes a relic, but as is in the nature of relics, retains a mysticism that cannot be eroded, and remains a phantom presence in the newer forms of worship and in the domestic shrines of the villagers.

The Kitten

A vital non-human inhabitant that makes its easy way across blurred boundaries between homes and commons, drawing attention to the almost invisible (albeit recently consolidating) notions of property and confinement, its presence confronting the solely human claim exercised on the imagination of habitations.

These drawings have come together in the form of a large book, as yet sketchy and awaiting completion, but one that nevertheless is a convincing and authentic document of a glimpse into the spatiotemporal history of Kond, produced by forty four student-witnesses over the course of five days.