2020 /18 minutes / Short Fiction / Punjabi, Mundari
SYNOPSIS: An old woman with her incoherent past and a young maid build an imaginary home together.
Role: Director, Researcher, Writer
Film Blog: https://imaginary-homes.tumblr.com/
In an ontological way, home is supposed to be the center of our world. Mircea Eliade describes home to be a place where the vertical line intersects the horizontal line. The vertical line connects the gods in the sky to the dead in the underworld. The horizontal line represents the traffic of the world and all the terrestrial journeys that an individual takes. Thus, at home, we are promised the reassurance of being close to the gods, ancestors, and the solace of being away from the chaos of the world. When an individual emigrates (forcefully or by choice) the center of the world is dismantled and disoriented one’s existence appears only in fragments.
Gurman is an old Punjabi social worker who lost everything during the Partition of India and then spent her adult life rehabilitating young abducted women in Pakistan. At this point in life, she has lost all sense of the world but the trauma of the past, of being a secret witness of the violence against women has a very strong hold of her. Gurman’s caretaker, Ela, a young Adivasi girl from the Munda tribe has been forced to move to Delhi for better financial prospects leaving her home, her forest behind.
Gurman has tried a lot to make peace with her situation, but there was always a craving for an eternal return, for things to go back the way they were before the Partition. Ela, on the other hand, begins to build a forest around her in the city itself. She knows that there is no going back and that life will forever be in fragments because home is lost, and she survived. Even if there is a physical possibility of going back, things are never going to be the same ever again. In the film, we see them forming a relationship and building their own imaginary home against the homelessness of the world.