“Legacy is not what you inherit. It’s what you give back”.
(^ A beautifully written paen..)
Jamshedpur happens to be the place where I had my first glimpse of a Fire Temple for Parsis. It also happens to be the place which defined summer vacations for me. The place where as a child, I was thrilled to walk past a stadium. “A stadium, where the world’s best cricketers come and play matches that are broadcasted on TV!”, I would tell myself. The place where outings acquired a different flavour, thanks to Jubilee Park; where I felt ‘home’, amidst the perfectly lined gravel path that led up to the big bungalow that seemed like a castle from inside; in the verandah where I saw Dadi feeding the birds; in the garden where us cousins literally spent all mornings and afternoons, playing games ranging from carrom to cricket and more-than-occasionally, annoying each other; and at night, when Dadaji would narrate bedtime stories.The drawing room always came crashing down with the noise that we all made as a group..and the house reverberated with so much happiness! Oh my God, such high walls! ‘How does Dadi manage to clean those high windows’, was my most frequent thought..I am sure I will find that bungalow smaller now. 😛 Family festivities were always so fun-filled, and the best part was us children dressing up. Sisters were given same clothes albeit in different colours, and brothers wore same kurta-pyjamas in different colours. Picture perfect, always!
It must have taken a lot of confidence on my part to just imagine four kids building a tree-house. But I think I was just being imaginative..because I had my first ‘architectural’ plan on a small notepad. It comprised of division of labour, construction, and activities. Now I can laugh about that plan, but I was seriously happy just planning the details. I don’t know why I never shared my plan with anyone. It could have been worked out, with the help of elders. Actually, only by the elders. They wouldn’t have let me construct the tree house using a hammer and wooden boards, which was all there was to it, in my head. It was so simple 😛 I imagined the four of us spending time in the coolness of the tree-house during the hot afternoons. I think I forgot to account for the fact that it would have rained Jamuns if it rained, and the tree-house could not have been stable 😛 I had not read the Five Find-Outers yet, otherwise I would have made sure the tree house got built, despite all odds. Those five had theirs, after all. I was a huge fan of the Find-Outers..especially Fatty, because not only was he a genius, but he had such a long, sophisticated name in contrast with ‘Fatty’. He and his friends always made me feel positive about the ending. With them began my fascination with mystery, crime, and suspense! And I’m sure that’s what Enid Blyton would have wanted. And that’s why I carried her stories on the train, reading on the upper berth under the light from the reading lamp. Purushottam Express, for me, was synonymous with reading lamps. That was all it took for me to get on the train. It used to be a 24-hour journey, after which we would reach ‘Tatanagar’ (Isn’t it ‘Jamshedpur?’, I would often ask myself, but I finally solved the ‘mystery’ after a few years).
Now, when I know why it’s called Tatanagar/Jamshedpur, Jamshedpur is all about the JUSCO office, TISCO office, and a place which represents Iron and Steel on the Map of India. It is the Steel City. Now I know why the trains bound to Jamshedpur are all called ‘Ispat’, or ‘Steel Express’, etc. I also know that the hills nearby have a name, an identity. They are called Dalma Hills. Earlier, hills meant snow-covered peaks and long-winding roads. (That’s how they showed them in the movies and cartoons :P) Now, it means a small, beautiful house at the foothills, where the clouds bring with them nostalgia. They bring with them a flood of memories..they bring with them, a long flash of childhood, a bite of that blessed time..the flavour of which still lingers in my mouth. Just what wouldn’t I do to go back in time..after all, a walk down the memory lane would transport me to a foggy winter morning, when I was ACTUALLY ready to get up and go for a morning walk past the stadium, and buy some happiness in a box of long gulab jamuns. Or in a box of Parwal Ki Mithai. That was the first time I tasted that different variety..and I haven’t forgotten why I liked it. For me, Langra and Sinduri mangoes can never taste the same in any other part of India..Dadi always welcomed me with mangoes. Now she gives me bags full of mangoes whenever I am ready to bid goodbye to the place 😀 That’s when I realise, that the city indeed gives off a feel of down-to-earth attitude, and visible perseverance–through which it was built by Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata– which is unmatched. To be on the earth, and yet be so near the clouds, that’s what it means to me now.