Swastik Pal

 

The Tide Country [ 2018- ongoing ]

 

“But here, in the tide country, transformation is the rule of life: rivers stray from week to week, and islands are made and unmade in days. In other places forests take centuries, even millennia, to regenerate; but mangroves can recolonize a denuded island in ten to fifteen years. Could it be the very rhythms of the earth were quickened here so that they unfolded at an accelerated pace?” 

 
― Amitav Ghosh

Life in the Sundarbans is intertwined with the rivers, the creeks, the flood and the consequent ebb. I started traveling to the Tide country four years back, during the onset of monsoon. Little did I know that the monsoon would be one of the fiercest in the last decade, and never did I imagine that my life too would become intertwined with this cycle of flood and ebb.

Ever since then, I’ve returned to the Sunderbans, like a meandering river flowing through the narrow creeks, sometimes losing ways only to find a completely new landscape.

In this work I narrate my journey through the tide country, giving in to my impulses, recollecting encounters, traversing this fragile ecosystem. The landscape shifts like a sand dune from one island to another, the tide eats away the mangroves only to breathe them out during the ebb.

A constant tussle between the human existence and the sea - to stop land from being dragged
away and an impending conflict between human and wildlife. Islands, once home to several thousand people are at risk of being washed away forever, or have already been submerged.

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