Memories of warmth
34, Irving Street. My temporary home for a year in Cambridge, Boston. I was lying on the mattress in the living room, staring at the plain white wall in front of me. It must have been -8°C or -9°C outside in the afternoon of January 24, 2019. I was missing home. In my head, projected on a white wall, were images of people, places, smells and experiences I had left behind in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district, home to coalmines, cement factories, small industries and a paper factory. Around 40 per cent of its land is under forest cover that turns lush green during the monsoons. I landed there in August 2012 for my first posting as an assistant collector. During field trips, I’d see vast stretches of forests dotted by villages in between. In 2018-19, Chandrapur was home to 175 of Maharashtra’s 312 tigers. With a large number of wild animals, no other district faces as many man-animal conflicts.