Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meandering Memorylanes

Then I was a “Bihari” now I am a “Jharkhandi” . Even though I left it for better future in 1998, my heart is still there.

I miss those long bicycle rides….those very competitive cricket matches…….time spent doing nothing with friends…… moments of idealistic boyish dream about the future……but most of all those memories of my home town……Mumbai has given me everything that I wanted, but the heart still lingers and misses Ranchi .

Mother nature had blessed Chotanagpur with a wide array of natural beauty. Rugged and richly wooded mountains, serene and secluded valleys, serpentine rivers and gorgeous waterfalls providing ideal habitat for people with thirst for beauty of nature, peace and tranquility. Chotanagpur is also blessed with the munificence of verdant forest wealth as well as sumptuous mineral reserves like coal, mica, bauxite, Iron Ore etc. It is also home for numerous ethnic tribes like Santhals, Mundas, Oraons, Cols, etc. who have their own rich tradition of art, craft and culture.

At the heart of this region, amidst sylvan surroundings nestles Ranchi the queen of Chotanagpur, which was once the summer capital of Bihar and was in the forefront of several movements of far-reaching significance both before and after the independence.

It is one of those places that might not find itself on your 52 weekend gateways’ must-see places. It's a "hmm, intresting very cute" kind of place which you would leave while you are planning a vacation,but even though it may not get a mention in tourist “hot spots” it is very much a Christmas Card town that you can imagine, picturesquely situated in the Plateau of Chotanagpur consisting of relatively flat terrain filled with green covers .

The name Ranchi comes from "Archi" a village/villager of the time in the area I am not sure. An important administrative and military base of the eastern India during the Raj, Ranchi developed as an important centre of trade and commerce, including a traditional base for sericulture and manufacture of shellac. After India gained independence, Ranchi continued to grow and a number of industrial facilities were located in and around the city, and it emerged as an important industrial centre. Along with other two industrial townships of Jamshedpur and Bokaro, Ranchi completes the industrial structure of Jharkhand.

Ranchi has changed……since that last fateful day of 1998 and I realized it when I was there last year in April ,I remembered the tribal festivals of Jatras, Janni Sikar which added to uniqueness of the place. There are mini Connaught Places and Nariman Points  here now,To think of it they always have been there only the flashiness has increased.

I saw “Café Coffee Day” here, in our time we only had Uday Mistan Bhandar,Punjab Sweet House and Madras Coffee House to go to, I use to simply drool over softy ice creams that were sold at Firayalal’s a landmark in itself .

The uptown Church Complex impressed me. It had outlets of all the leading fashion brands. There were youngsters withdrawing money from the ATM. The imposing Capitol Hill Hotel nearby has come up in a place that was, until a few years ago, barren and nonexistent. last time I remember I use to hang out in this place was with my friends to ogle at girls who use to shy away……This time, the flashy stores and confident-looking jeans-clad young women revealing their navel baffled me.

Bylanes are still the same, well almost! but small cottages and bungalows have started giving way to vertical malls and residential towers… have increased on the roads…….roads that are still the same except wider. A lot has changed.

I met this guy Rajendra (Rajender as we pronounce)…….Rajendra was happy because he has got everything settled in life. His eldest son Ravi is studying MBA in one of those private institutes here. But Ravi was unhappy with the education system in Jharkhand. He said "The session in the Ranchi University is very late. It took me four years to get my bachelor's degree. I could not get admission in Delhi because of that.”He was left with no choice but to take admission in a private institute here.

Like most of his batch mates, he wants to go to Delhi or Bangalore for a job. He said there are very few job opportunities in Jharkhand…..There were few in our time too pushing us out of the meandering experiences of our childhood to find a foothold in large metros…So somethings in life never change.


*Aham* said...

Familiarity breeds contempt and We only aspire for that we dont see everyday.

This is what i call the STUD phenomenon> STUD as in Small Town Urban Dreamers.

Its good. If Bombay was left to Bombayites alone. It wouldve just been another Marathi Speaking Jharkhand. (I dont mean that Jharkhand is an abuse)

*Aham* said...

knock... knock...


next blogpost?????


Jkumar said...

Dear Prateek, This was too endearing to read. love it. keep it up. can you also build some character story , funny and nice about your close friends