The old thakur looks wilted and weary but as soon as he spies the camera, he straightens up, straight as an arrow. He reties his turban and adjusts his shirt; he spits twice, once on the flat of each palm, then rubs them both together and styles his moustache. The men around him collapse into laughter. “That’s right,” they cheer. “Give them the old Rajput glare!”
He freezes into a pose of mock seriousness. Behind him, in the near distance, the tops of village huts – choras as they are called – are visible, a lone peacock flitting from one to the other. The choras look ruffled, rendered unkempt by recent rains. Last year, residents say, the entire village had been washed away — they point to the mounds in the distance where they sat with their belongings for over two months, just waiting. Unlike last year’s deluge, this year, the rainfall has been just right in terms of quantity — but it came too late: just two weeks before the skies clouded over, drought was declared in the desert. Even now, although it is more green than brown, district Tharparkar is “drought-ridden” in the official lexicon of the Sindh government.