Grinding Stones

 

Started in 2013 March, Bangalore.

 

Houses built half a century back or more had the grinding stone sunk into the floor of the house. It was an important tool in the kitchen and had sacred connotation as well. It was placed there as if for ever, immovable 200 Kg heavy. The women in the house had been churning and grinding the spices for the daily menu, sitting on the ground turning the pestle in its hole, day after day, year after year.

people use an electric mixer these days, which means spices are now cut, not squeezed and ground. With the escalated value of real estate, property changes hands and the old house is demolished or renovated for modern living. the grinding stone has to go, like the rubble of the old walls. But unlike the rubble that is transported away as debris, no one dares to take this final step, with the grinding stone. No one dares to willfully destroy either. Its too charged an object, too full of memory of its use and meaning its destruction may be read as an act of irreverence.

 

it is therefore ‘let loose’, as if into nature, as the male calves and the cows, that do not give milk are let loose on the streets. almost a symbol of inertia, the stone does not go very far, sometimes only a little further, to the base of an electric pole or into the quiet of a side street, to join other grinding stones already resting there.

 

*Inspired by the Installation ‘Stop Over’ by Sheela Gowda + Cristoph Storz.