Sunday, 18 August 2013

Chandrapur Diaries 1


When I was in my 4th semester of Engineering, my father got posted at Chandrapur, well he worked for the Assam State Electricity Board(ASEB). Chandrapur is a fascinating place on the outskirt of the Guwahati city and earlier it was quite well known for the Thermal Power Plant out there. But due to some economic reasons the power generation was on hold that time and even after so many years, the power plant is still not functional at present. But during that time frequent talks was on between government and several corporate, so that the the Chandrapur Thermal Power Plant would've been live once again. The ASEB colony was situated at quite an exotic location. It was almost like a hill station, in fact some people used to consider it as a mini Shillong. Initially my mom didn't know much about the place and only knew that my Dad was being transferred to somewhere deep inside a forest, some 30 KM from Guwahati city. The fact that they would have had to live, kind of isolated in a remote land, really worried my Mom earlier.

My college hostel was also at the outskirt of Guwahati, but at the other extreme end. It used to take me almost 3 to 4 hours to reach Chandrapur from my hostel and the journey usually used to be very exciting. I've some really interesting Chandrapur memories. I usually used to travel by bus and I had to change 3 buses in order to reach the ASEB colony. Our college bus used to drop me at the heart of the city and from there I used to take a bus till Narangi. From Narangi to Chandrapur there used to have very few buses after every alternate hour. Wow! those bus voyages were so much fun and still refreshingly crystal clear, stored in some corner of my brain. Almost on every occasion the bus used to be extraordinarily overcrowded and the driver normally used to take his own sweet time at every possible stops. Within a few minutes the bus used to drive  through the middle of the hills and I could see the beautiful river flowed freely below. I also had one more alternative though, the Indian Railways. There’s a train named Kalangpar, which used to go daily from Guwahati to Nagaon in the evening and it used to go via Chandrapur. It used to take about half an hour from Guwahati station to Chandrapur, but Indian Railways is very fond of giving surprises  and on few occasions it even surprised us to such an extent that the half an hour journey, turned out to be 3 to 4 hours. There used to have a bus service in the evening from Chandrapur Railway station to the ASEB colony. Most of the people found the second alternative to be pretty much comfortable, but the bus journey was much more fascinating for me and only on few occasions  I traveled by Kalangpar.

The ASEB colony in Chandrapur was built at a picturesque location, covered by hills all around. There’s a beautiful river named Kalang which flow below the hills. In fact, the train Kalangpar was named after the river Kalang. "Kalang par", means the other side of Kalang, well Kalang is basically a part of the mighty Brahmaputra. The place is so fascinating that it’s one of the most popular local picnic destination. There used to have many picnic spots out there and during the New Year season the place was horribly overcrowded.

One summer day, I thought to visit my parents and as it was burning hot that day, so I decided to travel by Kalangpar. I waited at the Railway platform and the train was little late. All of a sudden a Pujari came in front of me and before I could have said/done anything, he applied a big red color Tilak on my forehead. Well, I was kind of trapped and had to pay him few bucks in the name of God. After sometime the train arrived and I occupied an empty seat. Opposite to me seated a middle aged man and he immediately passed me a big smile as soon as I sat close to him. I noticed one family had a little argument with another family. The argument was regarding some sitting arrangement issue, as far as I could remember and one of the women who's part of the argument, wore a Burkha. The person who sat opposite to me had an informal introduction with me and whispered "These ass holes, wherever they go they would create problem". 

Well, what could I have said? I simply replied "Yes, you are absolutely correct" We chatted for a while and then I came to know that he went for his Darshan at Kamakhya. Well, Kamakhya is a very well known pilgrimage destination at Guwahati. The man gave me Maa Kamakhya Prasadam to eat and then we chatted for another few minutes. I realized that he was the kind of person who doesn't have a very good impression towards a particular community. But he was a very friendly person and I had a wonderful time with him. Everything was perfect, but then all of a sudden he asked my name. I was very confused that time and didn’t want to disappoint him, also I wasn't comfortable enough to have said a different name either. I replied to him "Well, I’m Jahid,  Jahid Akhtar"

I didn’t have the courage to look into his eyes and I simply looked outside the window. The person replied "But you have a Tilak on your forehead?" That time I realized that I just forgot to erase the colorful thing from my forehead. I answered him in brief about my Tilak story, but didn’t look at his face. He was also silent for the next couple of minutes and then the train slowed down and I could see "Chandrapur" written on one of the signboards outside. I didn’t even had the guts to say him goodbye and simply got down. I walked through the platform and the train slowly started to move. As the train passed by, I wanted to have a final glimpse of that man and raised my face towards him. He was also starring at me and then he waved his hand towards me. Instantly, I also started to wave my hand and continued till his face lost to view. 


61 comments:

  1. You are very kind in your evaluation of the man! :D

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  2. Haven't been to this plce,but looks interesting.Thanks for sharing

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    1. Yeah, it's quite fascinating and an exciting day trip kind of place. Thanks for visiting out here Ankita!

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  3. You should have looked at his stupid face and enjoyed the look on his face...

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    1. That would've been little embarrassing for both of us I guess :) Thanks Prasad Sir for visiting out here!

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  4. That's a nice trip. Travelling by train is always exciting.

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    1. Yes Udaya, train journeys are usually very exciting!

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  5. Nicely written Jahid :) One coincidence is even my dad is working for Electricity Board here :)
    It's nice that despite knowing your name, that man has waved his hand at last for the sake of friendship :)

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    1. Nice to know about our electric connection Sushmitha :) Well, that was a memorable goodbye!

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  6. such less known places are so much more adventurous and fun to explore..i remember going to vidisha (near to bhopal) during my masters thesis and having such wonderful time... as a traveler i would not have got there but as students we went there....and it turned out to be such a mind opening trip !!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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    1. Yes, U are absolutely correct. Little known places are usually more interesting and less crowded. It seems U really had a great time during Ur masters thesis. Thanks a lot for visiting out here!

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  7. Hello Jahid bhai, that was some experience I must say. And I really appreciate your unique ability to take a world view of things, the ability to take the narrow view of ignorant people in your stride and not wasting your precious energy in cursing them. All sorts of people are there in the world, we cannot change everyone, but what we can do is hold our integrity and soundness of mind in good spirit and shape. Hats off to you..

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    1. Aha! Deepak Sir, thanks for all those nice words. Ya, there are many different kinds of people in this world and it's difficult to change their views and we need to live together along with them in this planet :) Thanks for ur appreciation :)

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  8. hahaa Jahid bhai , I can bet .. that man amy have felt so low after realizing the blunder he had made and he may have even had a changed perception about people from different faith . In trains , I have seen people behaving secular when they know your faith! It comes from within when you meet people who can take crap and move on .. the way you did !!
    In fact , the waving of hands says .. even he already had his wrongly inculcated perception changed !! You are always a pleasure read .. the incidents you pick up ..BTW .. the way you described the place and the picture of that Bunglow .. wish i could see it before closing eyes :)

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    1. Haha.. Jack, hope he had a changed perception about people after that incident. Yeah, people usually behave secular trains and also in many public places. Well, there are different kinds of people with different perceptions and faith. It's quite difficult to change people's mindset, also we have to live together. Glad u liked the post. And yes, Chandrapur is a nice one day visit. If u ever visit Guwahati, better visit in at least for half a day :)

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  9. Train travel shows us the real face of our country...but these are not serious about anything,just gossiping for the sake of time pass! Kamakhya temple is the one place I always want to visit. Have a nice day Jahidji...!

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    1. Yes Murthy sir, train travel is always very exciting and we could see the true colors of India. I traveled many times from Bangalore to Guwahati earlier and on the way used to encounter so many different types of people, eat different foods. U should visit Kamakhya temple once. Thanks Murthy Sir for visiting out here!

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  10. I'm also doing Engineering degree :)Hoping to have adventures like yours :D

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    1. Haha.. Anil:) U would definitely encounter many such adventures. Long way to go dude. Thanks U so much for visiting out here!

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  11. Very nicely written..Loved your travelling experience..:-)

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    1. Thanks :) glad U liked the post and the travelling experience!

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    1. Chandrapur is really beautiful. Glad U liked the post Bedanga!

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  13. Climax was indeed soul-searching. Not just for me, but for that stranger, whom you’d met in train, as well. It would’ve really put him on a self-introspection mode.

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    1. Thanks Jini :) Glad U liked the climax. Hope that really put him on a self-introspection mode. Thanks for visiting out here!

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  14. I know the Bus route--AEC to Kachari--Kachari to Narangi--Narangi to Chrandapur..
    Kalongpar is the train I used to take to go to Nowgaon(My Mom's Home)

    My dear Friend Religion has a very big impact on Indians and sometimes it get into our head that we just can't control ourselves..BTW after that the man have certainly changed his perception towards religion and people and I guess he understood that it is not Religion rather your behaviour that makes you good or bad.. :-)

    BTW Chandrapur is a beautiful Place been there many times.. :-)

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    1. Wow! U know the bus route so well Harsha :) Nice to know that u visited Chandrapur many times. Once it was like home for me, but a short stay formy parents, some 3-4 years. Yes, religion usually have a much big impact on most of the people. I think I'm quite abnormal in that :)

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    2. Even I am also quite abnormal in the religion thing.. :-)

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    3. It's fun and kind of freedom to be abnormal in this regard :)

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  15. actually its quite an embarrassment for him.. but you've written it very well, Jahid :)

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    1. Yeah, it must had been. Actually it was little embarrassing for me as well :) Glad U liked the post Meera!

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  16. Very well written. I too have some similar experience. But I never seldom try to change people s point of view.

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    1. Thanks Neo, glad U liked the post. Actually we shouldn't bother to change people's opinion regarding religious faith, it's just impossible and ultimately we would only end up wasting our energy :)

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  17. Hi Jahid,

    Really enjoy reading all your write ups. You present things in a very pleasant manner.

    Regarding this incident, you need to be courageous to reveal your true identity in such situations and also needs to be bold to tackle such embarrassing situation.

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    1. Thank U so much Mr Mohammed. I'm so glad U like my posts and the presentation as well. Yeah, U are correct and I somehow managed to have said my real name, as I was so confused. I knew it would have been quite embarrassing for both of us. But glad we had a cool climax :) Thanks a lot for visiting out here Mr Mohammed!

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  18. Nice to read, Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Rupam, glad U liked it. I'm sure U must have visited Chandrapur several times :)

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  19. You sure have had some very interesting experiences man! :D

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    1. Haha.. everyone have many such interesting experiences. May be I took them little seriously :) Glad u find my experiences interesting and thanks a lot for visiting out here Sudha!

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  20. You are very lucky i think it's a great place beauty of nature

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    1. Yes Mr Vinayak, my father was posted there for 3-4 years and I had a great time visiting that beautiful place and not only me, most of my hostel friends visited it. Actually very time I used to go there, I always used to take a couple of my friends too along with me :)

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    1. Thanks Dr Rekha, glad U liked the post. Thanks a lot for visiting out here!

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  22. Blissful place, Chandrapur. Even my dad worked there for some time and I also had the good fortune of visiting the place...
    Regarding the "Religious" incident on board Kalangpar, I too recollect having witnessed first-hand, a similar incident which had a hilarious ending :) But, it happened on a different train in a different route! Will share it when we meet next :)

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    1. Ur dad was also posted out there, I didn't know that. It seems U have some very interesting experiences on different train and different route. Would definitely like to hear that next time, may be this sat day. What say?

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    2. Saturday is absolutely perfect :)

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    3. OK :) would plan something this Sat Day then!

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  23. Touching story and you are a better man to not take it otherwise. I would have been really offended, really respect to you! People like you keep the sanity going!!

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    1. Glad U liked the post. Even though I'm not a bad person, but Ur praises made me heavy and nervous :) I wish I could contribute my part to keep the sanity going. Thanks a lot for visiting out here!

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  24. Well you are a great narrator Jahid. Ths is a simple incident from routine life but u inject a philosophy to it. The end was bittersweet. Like a short story from a great author.

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    1. That's a very big compliment Ritesh. I'm extremely delighted that u liked the narration and the climax as well. Thanks a lot for visiting out here dude!

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  25. gud story jahid..loved the narration

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    1. Thanks a lot. Glad U liked the story and the narration as well. Thank U so much for visiting out here!

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  26. Excellent narrative and more importantly it shows your gentle approach towards sensitive issues... May god bestow some light in that man's brain..

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    1. Thanks Rahul, glad U liked the narration. Yeah, God will definitely bestow some light into all of our brains some day or the other :) Thanks for visiting out here Rahul!!

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  27. Still we are enjoying at ASEB Colony with the wild beauty of river Kalang , Digaru & Brahamputra

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    1. Wow, nice to know that Mr Bharat :) Really such a relaxing place to stay. Thanks a lot for dropping by!!

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    2. Welcome . We are in that campus last 30 years . Now where are you ? Add me at facebook . Thankyou

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    3. Welcome . We are in that campus last 30 years . Now where are you ? Add me at facebook . Thankyou

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