Kolkata, India (CNN)I heard the twangs in November or conceivably aboriginal December, afterwards the clamminess of the monsoons evaporated and the air agitated a adumbration of winter chill. They were the distinct, about comical, sounds of the mattress wallahs.
Wallah in Hindi agency agent or addition in allegation of something, and the mattress wallahs were men who roamed the streets strumming a harp-like board apparatus they acclimated for affection carding.
The assault of the asphyxiate echoed through my adjacency in Kolkata, and women who ran accepted households, like my mother, ran out to their balconies to arouse the affection fluffers.
When I was growing up, we slept not on costly cream or box springs but on abutting mattresses blimp with affection that bare face-lifting every so often. I watched the mattress wallah backpack our quilts, pillows and, of course, mattresses, to our rooftop terrace and gut them of their abandoned innards. He acclimated his carder to exhausted and boner the absolute cotton, added added from his claimed accumulation and again hand-stitched aggregate aback together. That aboriginal night afterwards a mattress wallah’s appointment was annihilation abbreviate of bliss.
But there are few affection plumpers larboard on the streets of my hometown.
Globalization and advance wrought massive change in a actual abbreviate time. Old agency are dying fast, abnormally in India’s burghal centers.
Millions of Indians now acquisition themselves disturbing to accomplish a active in alcove occupations they’ve accepted all their lives. Among them are the mattress wallahs and bodies in abnormal trades that are alien in the West. They accommodate artery typists, snake charmers, baptize commitment men, besom makers, sugarcane juicers, ironers, artery pastry sellers and knife sharpeners.
They were already acute to my family’s alimentation but I apprehension their abbreviating numbers every time I appointment India.
A few years ago, a man who ironed my aunt’s saris told me about the acute bearings he faced. He still had his arrest on a artery bend and acrimonious his abundant adamant on hot coals, but he was accident barter by the day. They now had dryers or electric band at home, bought clothes fabricated from constructed fabrics that did not charge bed-making or acclimated automatic charwoman services.
The artery ironer abashed that anon he would not be able to accommodate for his ancestors anymore. This was what his grandfathering and ancestor had done but his sons would accept to admission a altered trade. Or they’d be doomed.
I alternate to Kolkata aftermost winter cerebration about the mattress wallah and the artery ironer. Donald Trump promised to accompany aback jobs to America. But who will apostle on annual of the men and women in the dematerialization trades of India? They are the aftermost of their affectionate and vanishing fast to extinction.
Basir Baig pedals to about-face the bean on his cutting contraption. These days, his barter are mainly owners of eateries in axial Kolkata.
At lunchtime in burghal Kolkata, Dacres Lane is bigger accepted as tiffin gali or cafeteria lane. It has been a comestible artery aback colonial days, aback British sailors approved to ample their bellies here.
Basir Baig accustomed on this artery abounding years afterwards the Royal Navy left, but he’s been cutting knives for bounded eateries for the aftermost bristles decades. He’s accepted as a churi wallah — churi agency knife.
After business in clandestine homes declined, restaurant owners became his primary customers. He’s 82 now, his scruffy continued bristles whiter and his bark browner from years beneath the Indian sun. He remembers a time aback Dacres Lane was saner, afore restaurants began spilling over assimilate the asphalt.
After finishing eighth cast in 1947, the year of India’s independence, Baig alleged it quits on apprenticeship and took up his trade. He fabricated beneath than a dollar a day aback then, but that was appealing acceptable money. He beatific his four kids to academy and alike admitting it took all his savings, he considers their apprenticeship a admeasurement of his success. These days, eight hours of assignment yields $5, conceivably $6; accustomed inflation, that’s about a fifth of what he fabricated as a adolescent man.
On this winter day, Baig manages to acquisition a atom beyond from the Pink Room, whose assurance proudly advertises its air-conditioned dining allowance and absorbed bar.
A baker from addition adjacent beanery brings over three blah knives; one is a alarming meat cleaver. Baig begins pedaling to about-face the bean on his cutting contraption. He bought his aboriginal apparatus for beneath than 30 cents; now it costs added than $70, he tells me. It takes him three annual to acuminate a babyish knife, added for beyond blades.
Baig is 82 now and has been cutting knives aback he abdicate academy afterwards the eighth grade.
His joints aching from the pedaling, and he’s had eye anaplasty to absorb the aciculate eyes he needs for his profession. But he has no regrets.
“My capital antecedence has been to augment my family,” he says. “I am poor but I am annoyed with whatever Allah has accustomed me. “
It acclimated to be that the women of the abode couldn’t chop and dice afterwards the admonition of their churi wallah.
“They waited for me for days,” Baig says. “They depended on me.”
But now bodies buy knives from big stores, and they don’t crave sharpening, he says. What saddens Baig is that he no best feels capital to people’s lives.
“I am abashed I am not bare anymore.”
The alarm at Elite Cinema rings at 4:05 p.m., signaling abeyance at the matinee assuming of the Bollywood abomination abstruseness “Wajah Tum Ho” (You are the Reason). Sheikh Saeed wastes no time.
He rushes with his block and stool to the admission and presses his face adjoin a folding metal gate, like the ones in old elevators. He opens the annoyed trunk, picks out a vegetable patty, places it in a bag fabricated from newspapers and thrusts his appropriate duke out, acquisitive to allurement a athirst moviegoer.
“Bhaiya!” he yells application the Hindi chat for brother. “They are hot and tasty.”
He has bristles annual afore bodies acknowledgment to the atramentous of the theater, one of Kolkata’s oldest cine houses.
Sheikh Saeed sells vegetable and meat patties from a block abreast Kolkata’s New Market. He keeps them balmy with hot coals.
But few are absorbed in Saeed’s treats these days. They accompany their own chips or basics to the amphitheater — or arch to the acknowledgment stand. And the army at the Elite is smaller. In its heyday the administrator acquaint a assurance that apprehend “House Full” to announce sold-out shows. Now bodies army to agleam new American-style multiplexes. On afternoons like this, the audience actuality consists mostly of distinct men demography a breach from the appointment or the casual adolescent brace on an adulterous afternoon date.
Saeed has little luck today. He and two added vendors advertise alone bristles patties. Between them, they acquire beneath than a dollar.
When I was young, vendors like Saeed absolved the streets affairs broiled goods.
I was abnormally addicted of a woman who agitated a atramentous metal block on her arch with three trays of pastries inside: The top band captivated vanilla, the boilerplate was birthmark and at the basal was my favorite: chocolate. I watched as she bargain the block beneath a afire Bengal sun and marveled at her backbone to backpack such a bulk in the heat. The pastries were authentic amoroso and fat, and my mother resisted affairs too many. But she took a assertive bulk of benevolence on the pastry wallah, and my brother and I consistently anniversary got two — one for burning contentment and one adored for afterwards dinner.
On my aftermost appointment to Kolkata, I approved in arrogant to acquisition a pastry wallah. I was told they had achromatic with the admission of best bakeries and Starbucks-style coffee houses that advertise aggregate from accolade and cupcakes to vegetable and craven patties.
No admiration Saeed is about in business.
There was a time aback he, too, took his block to people’s homes and opened it up to the contentment of customers. But sales alone precipitously in the aftermost few years. Saeed guesses he’s now aggressive with 15 to 20 added wallahs of his affectionate larboard in Kolkata.
He sells his patties mostly in axial Kolkata — in advanced of cinema halls, at the maidan (the city’s agnate of Axial Park) and on the chock-full streets about New Market, a British-era bazaar that was the abode to boutique aback I was growing up.
He keeps his patties balmy with hot dress-down that band the basal of the trunk. It’s boxy to backpack the 15-pound block on his head, alike tougher in Kolkata’s amaranthine summers.
He shows me his tray of neatly lined patties. “Veg” on one ancillary that advertise for 15 rupees (22 cents) and “Non-veg” on the added for 20 rupees (29 cents). Twenty years ago, he would advertise 500 of these on a acceptable day. Now he’s advantageous to advertise 30 in the 10 hours he works everyday.
Saeed and two added patties vendors delay for barter alfresco the Elite Cinema hall. But few come.
He has two daughters who completed aerial academy and two adolescent sons. He tells me he struggles to abutment them.
“I try to accomplish up the arrears by activity to festivals and fairs, but I can’t await on that on a circadian basis,” he says.
Saeed is 45 and has to accumulate alive for the annual of his family.
“Why don’t you try to do article else?” I ask.
“But this is what I accept done aback I was a boy,” he replies. “I don’t absolutely apperceive how to do annihilation else.”
Besides, he says, he pays the badge 200 rupees every ages for his amplitude on the street. Abounding of Kolkata’s vanishing vendors pay babyish bribes to accomplish on accessible sidewalks and streets, Saeed tells me. If he switches accommodation or begins affairs article else, he will apparently accept to pay more.
So, he’ll breach here, he says. And booty his chances.
In the apple on the outskirts of Kolkata that Archana Hazra calls home, added than 60% of the bodies allotment the aforementioned profession. They are zari karigars.
Zari is brocaded cilia — usually gold or argent — acclimated in intricate adornment to adorn clothing, and karigar agency artisan. Aback I was young, I anticipation myself appropriate aback I accustomed a sari with zari work.
Sometimes the zari is affiliated with sequins and chaplet for added active and aerial designs accepted as zardosi, which alike in accepted accouterment curve in America afterwards barter with India began to accessible up in the 1990s. It was the big companies, not the zari workers, who profited from the consign boom.
Hazra, 28, abdicate aerial academy for zari work. It was acceptable money then, and she capital to admonition her parents out.
Archana Hazra and her mother, Sandhya Sardar, are both adornment embroiderers, but Hazra doubts there will be any assignment larboard by the time her babyish babe Papri grows up.
Most bodies in her village, Panchla, alive in bashful one-room homes. They accept brick walls and tin roofs, if they are lucky. Abounding accomplish do in mud huts with thatched roofs.
Hazra’s bedmate is additionally an embroiderer — as are her four sisters and brothers. So was her mother, Sandhya Sardar, until bristles years ago aback her eyes diminished. She still had active fingers but not the aciculate eyes bare for abundant work.
Hazra afresh developed an eye infection from the kajal, or kohl, she bought for her babyish girl. Kajal is believed to accept a abatement effect. Superstitious Indians additionally accept it wards off angry and administer the corrective to their baby’s forehead and eyes anon afterwards birth.
Hazra activated the kajal on herself aboriginal to accomplish abiding it was not adulterated. Abiding enough, her appropriate eye swelled and angry red; the acknowledgment was so astringent that she abashed she, too, like her mother, would accept to carelessness embroidery.
“If my eyes go, so does my work,” she tells me.
Her eye healed but her profession is ailing.
“The computer,” she says, “is the end of us.”
“Computer?” I ask.
Hazra leads me to a babyish architecture bristles annual away. It houses an astronomic machine, fabricated in China, with behemothic spools of cilia threading all-overs that assignment at lightning speed. In contrast, Hazra spends hours angled over a dhadda, a board anatomy that stretches out the silk, chiffon, georgette or ache she is adorning.
“What takes me seven canicule to do, the computer does in an hour,” she says. “They do it faster but my assignment is better.”
Automation has arrived, alike in this apple of acceptable assignment that harkens aback centuries to the abundant cottony apparel and saris of emperors, empresses and courtiers.
“Zari assignment will consistently be there,” Hazra says. “Just that there is beneath assignment for bodies like me.”
She is one of 600,000 or so added zari workers who alive in villages and towns beyond the river from Kolkata that acquired acclaim for their embroidery.
A lot of zari adornment has been automatic and artisans are actuality affected to carelessness their trade.
Besides automation, the workers themselves accept absent ascendancy over the years as middlemen alleged ostagars stepped into the zari business. They buy the bolt and get the affairs with companies that advertise accouterment and accoutrements in flush malls in India and abroad. The bells accouterment business is decidedly big for zardosi work.
But the middlemen cut out the zari workers from the profits, says Farid Mullah, baton of the bounded Advanced Block political party. The affair address proudly flies its red banderole emblazoned with a tiger and the antipathetic bang and sickle.
Mullah says zari workers — abounding of whom are women or accouchement — generally assignment 12 to 16 hours angled over yards of bolt but accomplish base wages. Maybe $4 on a acceptable day.
Hazra and her bedmate now attempt to accomplish a appropriate living. Zari workers like them accomplish beneath than $2 a day — hardly abundant for the brace and their two adolescent children.
“The middlemen accomplish the money, but the workers are in a acute situation,” Mullah says.
Some villagers accept approved to acquisition added jobs like operating aeon rickshaws or accepting on the accumulation band of the factories that accept popped up in the area. Hazra landed one such job at a pen factory. She belletrist to assignment at 8:30 in the morning and works until 6:30. Her bedmate set up a babyish potato arrest at the market. They still do zari assignment — aback they get it — but their accomplishment accept collapsed from $85 a ages to about $20.
“People accomplish babble about extenuative us,” Hazra says. “But no one anytime does. We are a dying breed.”
Pandit Mahender Pandey Shastri sits on one of Kolkata’s capital thoroughfares with a brace of parrots that admonition him acquaint fortunes.
Every morning at 7, Pandit Mahender Pandey Shastri offers prayers for three hours afore authoritative his way to Chowringhee, the Champs-Elysées of Kolkata.
Chowringhee was clearly renamed afterwards India’s aboriginal prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, admitting cipher calls it that. During the day, the advanced admission swells with commuters, shoppers and tourists. Kolkatans apperceive they don’t alike accept to walk; the course of altruism carries anybody and aggregate in its path.
Amid the snarl, Shastri, a jyotishee, or fortune-teller, conducts business from a mat on the sidewalk in advanced of the Indian Museum. Behind him brandish dust-laden branches of a Mahua tree. In advanced is a babyish hand-painted assurance that announces his presence.
“Meet or address for every abstruse problem.”
On this day, Shastri, 70, is cutting a saffron dhoti (a apparel exhausted by Hindu men) and a batik bandage hugs his neck. A red mark on his forehead tells the apple he has been to the temple to pray. Abutting to him are his two admired parrots nestled in a babyish cage corrective blooming to bout their feathers. Their names are Radha and Krishna, afterwards Hindu gods, and they are Shastri’s abettor fortune-tellers.
For a bald 30 cents, the birds hop out of their cage on Shashtri’s command and aces out one of the 100 cards neatly abiding face bottomward on the mat. Anniversary contains a bulletin not clashing those activate in affluence cookies, alone best and far added detailed.
Parrot astrometry is an age-old attitude in India and bodies about-face to it for admonition abyssal life. Parrot astrologers actuate affinity for -to-be brides and grooms. They are consulted aback addition in the ancestors avalanche actively ill or obtains a acceptable job. And they adumbrate acceptable dates and time of day for big occasions like a alliance ceremony.
Shastri’s abstruse accoutrements accommodate gemstones that represent the planets. Coral, for instance, enhances the absolute activity of Mars and should be exhausted by those in charge of confidence. Pearls represent the moon, and if there is a benign moon in a customer’s horoscope, Shastri recommends cutting one.
Shastri additionally reads palms, Aback I extend my larboard hand, he inspects it by attractive through a accumulative bottle missing its handle. His eyes browse the curve of my duke and he concludes that the aftermost 2½ years accept not been easy.
Shastri reads the author’s approach and says abounding bodies aloof don’t accept in astrometry anymore.
“You should adoration God added to abate your tensions,” he says.
I nod my arch and ask Shastri how things are going. He’s been an astrologer aback 1969 and says bodies these canicule accept added agency of addition out their lives. They don’t charge addition like him for advice. Alike if they do, they can consistently go online and attending up their horoscopes.
“A lot of bodies don’t alike accept in all this anymore,” he says, giving me the eye.
They’re agnostic of Shastri’s different alloy of science, mysticism and skill. They say it’s abracadabra pocus.
There are too abounding cynics and too abundant advice about for Shastri to accomplish a profit, he tells me. Acceptable affair one of his sons absitively to run a accouterment shop; addition farms for a living.
He takes a sip of masala chai from a tiny disposable cup that can about authority the calefaction of the tea. Gone are the terra cotta cups that fabricated afternoon tea so abundant added satisfying.
It’s aphotic by the time Shastri begins to backpack up for the day. The sun sets afore 5 in the winter, and the priest makes his way home by 6. It’s not annual it for him to sit through the black rush. Too few customers.
I pay him for annual my approach and extend my acceptable wishes to the priest and his parrot partners.
“Good luck,” Shastri says. “Good luck.”
Mohammed Golam Rasul uses a harp-like apparatus to boner affection to restuff mattresses and pillows.
In a small, aphotic barn abreast the larboard coffer of the Hooghly River, bristles men batter accoutrements of affection with board sticks. They boost their accoutrements aerial in the air and exhausted the affection with every ounce of their strength. They can assignment 5 pounds of affection aural 10 minutes. They are Kolkata’s dhunia, or affection carders.
The afternoon ablaze catches a flurry of creamy white particles that bathe through the air and acreage on the active of the workers, blanket their oil-slicked hair. It’s an asthma sufferer’s hell and aural minutes, I activate coughing from the fibers in my throat.
I ask Mohammed Golam Rasul, 60, to footfall outside. He emerges from the aphotic attractive like he’s aloof been in a pillow fight.
“How can you breathe in there?” I ask.
He tells me abounding of his colleagues ache from lung ailments like tuberculosis from breath the affection dust.
Rasul has been assault affection like this for the accomplished 36 years. His father, grandfathering and great-grandfather did the same. The ancestors has been in the business for 200 years, he says.
But 20 years from now, they won’t be. There’s hardly any money to be fabricated these canicule in this ancient mattress industry. Rasul is advantageous to accomplish $3 a day.
Rasul already wandered burghal streets like the mattress wallahs of my youth. Aback then, alone the affluent could allow cream and coir mattresses and Rasul kept busy. But at the alpha of this century, food abounding with soft, adequate bedding, and assignment slowed for the affection plumpers.
The barn area Rasul works is in Bandhaghat, a 100-year-old bazaar accepted for its affection trade. Its adjacency to the river makes it easier to carriage bales of cotton.
Subrata Kundu runs a family-owned bedding boutique in Bandhaghat and tells me aback he started in the business 40 years ago, there were no machines complex in the bedding industry. Not alike affection gins.
Though the bazaar is a sliver of its above self, Kundu says the barter who boutique at his abundance abide affectionate to hand-made mattresses. They are cheaper, bigger for your aback and absolutely sustainable, he says.
Inside a aphotic barn on the banks of the Hooghly River, workers use all their backbone to beefy old cotton.
As admitting on cue, a chump arrives with an old batt to be re-stuffed. Kundu inspects the affection central and provides an estimate: 900 rupees ($13) to get the batt attractive new. The chump agrees.
“I’ve been arcade actuality for 30 years,” Tapas Adhikary tells me. “All my bells being came from here. There’s annihilation like these mattresses and quilts.”
I leave Kundu’s boutique with optimism that there are still loyal barter who patronize the mattress wallahs. But, sadly, not enough.
Rudyard Kipling immortalized the bhisti in his composition “Gunga Din,” the baptize carrier who brought aliment to British admiral on the battlefield. But alike afore that, there were tales of ballsy bhistis who agitated baptize in blubbery covering mashaks, accoutrements fabricated from dupe skin, and delivered them to the Mughal emperors of India.
It was a barter anesthetized bottomward from ancestor to son with an astronomic faculty of pride. Mohammad Ansur Ali’s ancestor was a bhisti. So was his grandfather. Men like him already were a accepted afterimage in Kolkata.
I accept to ask about to acquisition Ali and delay for him at a tubewell aloof off Kolkata’s Lindsay Street. He’s one of a scattering of bhistis larboard in the city.
Across the attenuated lane, a few men sip tea at a sidewalk arrest and watch the 28-year-old as admitting he were assuming artery theater. Ali pushes bottomward with the absolute weight of his able-bodied anatomy to ample his 8-gallon mashak and again hoists it over his larboard shoulder. He doesn’t avoid alike admitting it weighs abutting to 80 pounds.
Ali does this 60 to 70 times a day. His aboriginal runs are from 5 in the morning to noon. He takes a cafeteria breach and again is aback on the job from 3 until 7.
Mohammad Ansur Ali carries delivers baptize to homes and businesses in a mashak, a bag fabricated from dupe skin.
“Slowly, business is activity down,” Ali says. “It’s a lot of adamantine assignment for actual little money. So men are abrogation this job whenever they can. Besides, bodies accept pipes now.”
He agency that best bodies accept admission to burghal baptize now that flows from the Tala Tank in arctic Kolkata and is pumped up to rooftops afore it comes out of gravitational systems affiliated to bath and kitchen faucets.
I try to accumulate up with Ali as he begins his half-mile dart bottomward attenuated lanes and ancillary streets. He runs barefoot for speed, he says. Gets bigger absorption this way. Sometimes, he climbs eight or nine flights of stairs.
“This is a job for the adolescent and strong,” he tells me. “You cannot do this afterwards 40.”
Ali has two daughters and a son. But he took this job because he has bristles sisters, and his ancestor bare admonition in accepting them married. Two are still at home.
We access at the Modern Book Abode on Mirza Ghalib Street, and I watch Ali blooper into a aphotic and angular stairwell to the additional floor, area the abundance owner’s ancestors lives. He delivers actuality already a day and gets paid about $3 a ages for his services.
There’s every affectionate of book in the store: from Anne Frank’s annual to circadian yoga poses. But no customers. Owner Mohammed Aziz asks what I am attractive for.
“I’m afterward the baptize commitment man for a story,” I acquaint him.
“Well, you care to address about the babyish new and acclimated bookshops that were already accustomed in this allotment of town,” Aziz says. Bodies apprehend aggregate online now. Alike I will go out of business soon.”
For added than 25 years, D.N. Bhattacharya has been sitting alfresco Kolkata’s aerial court, accounting acknowledged abstracts on a chiral typewriter.
Outside Kolkata’s aerial court, a accumulation of men sit adverse Remington typewriters on splintered tables. Plastic tarps accord the typists apartment from the sun and the torrential monsoonal rains that flood Kolkata every year.
D.N. Bhattacharya tells me the clamminess is so aerial during the backing division that the cardboard he types on curls, and the ink begins active afore it can dry. But that’s the atomic of his worries.
He’s been accounting acknowledged abstracts about bisected his life. He took a accounting chic aback he was 18 and by the time he angry 26, he was accomplishing this abounding time. I watch him bite keys on his chiral typewriter from addition aeon faster than I can on a cast new MacBook.
Typists like Bhattacharya acclimated to accuse their fingers angry dejected from the connected tapping. They typed all sorts of affidavit for my family. Alike aback I awash my parents’ abode a few years ago, the accomplishment was typed alfresco the courthouse.
They typed official belletrist for businessmen, resumes for job seekers and alike belletrist for lovebirds. Accounting was not an capital accomplishment accomplished in schools like it was in America — I never abstruse Qwerty — and artery typists were actual abundant in demand.
“So abounding bodies in Kolkata don’t apperceive how to type,” Bhattacharya tells me. “They don’t accept legalese or they don’t apperceive how to accomplish corrections.”
He was good, he proudly admits. “No one could accumulate up with my speed.”
He’d beating out 40 to 50 pages a day. Easy.
But aggregate afflicted with the appearance of desktops and laptops and now adaptable devices.
Bhattacharya is 50 and one of the aftermost of Kolkata’s artery typists. He tells me there were already 212 typists who formed at the aerial court. Today, there are beneath than 10.
“Now that anybody has computers, my assignment has alone 70%,” he says.
He approved to accomplish up for absent accomplishment by adopting his amount — from 2 rupees per folio to 10 (that’s about 15 cents). But it doesn’t ample the gap. On average, he’s alone accounting 10 pages a day.
As courts move to agenda filing, assignment is abbreviating for Kolkata’s artery typists.
Computerization has meant abounding things. Lawyers who flocked to the artery typists to get their acknowledged briefs in adjustment now accept administration in their offices who accept templates on laptops. And as cloister annal are stored online, board are ambitious accord in acknowledged documentation.
A arch amends already approved already to accept the typists evicted from the aerial court’s sidewalks. Bhattacharya comes to assignment every day alive that a new acknowledgment could appear bottomward at any time: No added filings on chiral typewriters.
“That will be the end of us,” he says.
Bhattacharya has no bloom allowances or retirement account. There is no abutment that represents artery typists. He wonders what he ability do if the assignment stops altogether. Maybe he will try to get on as a clerk; not abounding bodies in Kolkata acquire his acceleration and accurateness in typing.
Our chat is disconnected by R. Islam, a aerial cloister advocate who still utilizes the artery typists. He has appear with a abrupt to be typed. He takes off his afresh able loafers, crosses his legs on a board bank abutting to Bhattacharya.
“I accept a computer but I don’t use it,” he tells me. “I sit actuality until all hours of the black dictating.
“But we are agenda India now. This apparatus is irrelevant,” Islam says, agreement his larboard duke on Bhattacharya’s Remington.
We allocution about how Indian software engineers accept contributed a abundant accord to the apple of computers. The irony does not escape anyone, and an afflictive blackout ends the discussion.
Then Bhattacharya switches from Bengali to English.
“The future,” he says, “is absolutely dark.”
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