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The night has a thousand eyes And the day but one  Francis William Bourdillon
The nightscape of the Indian metropolis has been eulogised in film and literature. But what of small- town India?
Days End Stories, through a series of essays, chronicles nightlife in the towns of this country, covering not just dance and drinks, but also night- time activities that fall outside the conventional. Once darkness descends, Amitava Kumar visits the forgotten cultural spaces of Patna and Bettiah; Sumana Roy journeys with women carriers, past Siliguri, to the Indo-Nepal border; Shiladitya Sarkar takes a midnight rickshaw through the firefly-lit lanes of Puducherry; and Vinod K. Jose recollects, with awe and longing, the late-evening film screenings in Mananthavady
Through these essays, among several others, the writers uncover, at dusk, the topography of small- town India, littered with taverns and bars, temples and cafs. Equally, they delve into the nocturnal public cultures and subcultures of these spaces, their wonders and trappings intact.
They ask: How best can the nightlife of a small town be defined? How do social mores and beliefs impact late-evening wanderings? What pursuits are acceptable under the cover of darkness and what kind strange and subversive? How does the political climate colour the hours after sundown? Most importantly, has nightlife come to define a rather parochial idea of modernity in India, one that is attached to the metropolis?
Tabish Khair, in a crucial essay in this collection, studies Jejuri and Gaya, and attempts to answer the last question. He says: The metropolis need not be cosmopolitan it can betray a gross intolerance of the other which contradicts any kind of cosmopolitanism  Similarly, the small town can be cosmopolitan in its own ways, as I discovered while growing up in Gaya the interest we had in other spaces and different cultures was often in excess of what I have encountered among some people who have grown up in London or Copenhagen or Delhi.
Days End Stories wishes to acknowledge precisely this cosmopolitanism of small-town India and impels us to reconsider the metropolitan gaze.
Contributors: Amitava Kumar, Tabish Khair, Taran N. Khan, Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih, Dharini Bhaskar, Akshay Pathak, Zahir Janmohamed, Sumana Roy, Shiladitya Sarkar and Vinod K. Jose.