Movement in Time: Choreographies of Conﬁ nement in an Inpatient Ward
Some days in the ward we pick stones out of rice, a task so common to Indian women’s kitchen worlds that it has its own verb. I sit on the ﬂ oor with Riti, here for four months with a diagnosis of schizophrenia; Pooja, the ward attendant who took up this job when her husband died; Isma, who has lived in the women’s unit for twelve years, with a diagnosis past tense enough to feel like a recurring dream; and Sanjana, whose diagnosis of schizophrenia hinges on her account of her divorce. The rice arrives from the kitchen in a plastic bag. Pooja pours it onto plates, one for each person. The sound of grains on metal is like a shower of tiny bells, loud in the sleepy hush. We lean over, bodies reaching earthward, ﬁ ngers walking through shifting dunes. Our eyes fall on ﬂ ashes of grey. Our ﬁ ngertips catch something sharp: a husk, a stone, a density that could break a tooth.