Going Dental with Datun

Dental Datun

A few decades back before the invasion of cheap toothbrushes and toothpastes most Indians used to brush their teeth with datuns. Datuns are twigs from either the keekar tree or neem tree. One end of the twig was chewed till a sort of brush was formed and then teeth were cleaned with it.

Perhaps the datun has vanished inside cities but on the peripheries close to villages people still use this as a morning ritual.

Here this girl is chewing on a datum and taking a branch of some tree perhaps to use both as firewood and as a source for datuns.


Water Seeker



Walk just ten kilometers out of your city in India and you are met with underdeveloped villages and shanty towns. Water, houses and toilets are in extreme paucity.

People in Chandigarh are lucky for the water supply is reasonably efficient but not for the slum dwellers who are provided with one tap or two for a thousand residents. Water is supplied for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.

Some enterprising youngsters fill up their empty plastic jerry cans loaded on to a flatbed rickshaw from friendly and Good Samaritan residents of big houses in the neighbourhood.

Manoj with his team-mate in the water project.

I met them a few days later and they wanted their names to be included under the Photograph. So I am updating here. The senior boy is Manoj Masih (Masih, I’m sure means Messiah) and the young teammate is Golu (Golu means Rotund, which he is not now any longer) but his real name is Vishal. They asked me to write down the website address where the photo was published. They will contact someone with a smartphone or a laptop, maybe an internet cafe and have a good laugh over their photos.