Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Playing Columbus the Explorer

Childhood is the best period of a man’s life. Carefree and innocent, the child is still adventurous, exhibiting a quality of curiosity. He is oblivious to the fear of the unknown. In fact the mystery is even more beckoning.

When one grows up on a heavy diet of books, especially the likes of Famous Five and The Secret Seven, this idea takes a stronger form. It is easy to imagine oneself as a young sleuth trying to figure out the thief stealing Das Aunty’s prized dahlias, or as a hero rescuing the baby bulbuli bird abandoned by its mother, and at times the explorer whose curiosity gets better of him and gets him to explore the compound of the abandoned Dutta bari.

Such was my childhood. Growing up in the steel city of Jamshedpur, we were a gang of eight. Though studying in different schools, we had formed a strong friendship which is often brought by the fact of living in the same para. Our games were quite simple, hide and seek, chain-chain, lock and key, and an occasional game of cricket or football. But the real fun lay when we went exploring. Riding our cycle, we felt so free and liberated, we went round the old and familiar roads, the new and not so familiar streets, ringing the cycle bell with excitement, calling each other names, shouting out cautions, and laughing our hearts out.

It was during one such evening, that we found ourselves near Domani. This area was a 15 min ride away from our homes, and marked the meeting point of two rivers, Kharkhai and Subarnarekha. It had been our long unfulfilled dream to cycle to this spot ever since we came here for the Chhat puja celebrations. The river bank ran along for five kilometres and we had to climb down the cemented steps to reach the river. It was a forbidden spot, more so if you were a child and unaccompanied by an elder. But today, there we stood, defying the rule, infused with the spirit of an explorer, breathing in the fresh, musky smell of the river, savouring the sight of a new land! The Dalma hills with its lush green forests lay on the other side, the electric lights of the small hamlets flickered in the evening twilight; we saw people being ferried across the river to their homes; they will be back again on this side in the morning with fresh supply of vegetables and fish. It was a moment, a calm, breath taking moment in life that stayed with all of us forever.

Our moment was interrupted by the screeching sound of a powerful vehicle. A cloud of dust hindered our vision, and once it settled down we were presented with the sight of the new Tata Safari STORME Explorer edition. Our eyes admired the curves of this bevy black beauty, which in every way looked the perfect SUV. We never saw Mohit’s uncle stepping out of the car and the angry look on his face. We were let off by after a tough scolding, but Mohit had it tougher getting his ears boxed in public! Anyways we decided, it was a day well spent, with the river bank finally conquered, we felt victorious. Thank goodness for childhood and the madness it brought with it.:)

This post is an entry for the #I am Explorer contest for Indiblogger.

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