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‘Buttermilk is never exercised about the Indian state. She seems to view it as some form of feral life, addled and unpredictable, that fortunately stays largely out of sight. Because when it does appear, it might attack. And who in their right mind gets angry at marauding wildlife?’This is a biography of Buttermilk, a domestic worker in Kolkata. Her ordinary life is extraordinarily rich – and largely invisible, in plain sight. It straddles the city, the village, and the suburbs. Her life brims with stories of betrayal and devastation, but also with striking life lacks, unexpected aesthetics, and love in unlikely places. This story is a weave of many threads – her family across multiple generations, her city work, and her life as a rice farmer. We follow her across five decades as she forges a life in the city with creativity and grit, and one antenna permanently tuned to the land. We witness her tackle brutal pressure, and yet remain free of callus.With wit and spirit, Buttermilk lives an uproarious trapeze act, with no safety net from god or country.