Thursday, May 08, 2008


Perhaps the few readers I was able to coerce into have gotten used to my irregular posting or are thankful I am not writing for almost two months now, or knew I was busy and did not have the time/leisure/frame of mind to actively blog, even though I always followed up on the blogs I have on Google Reader all these two months but the last two-and-a-half weeks I was off the internet. However, it would be untrue if I concur my friends and attribute lack of time or energy as the reason for non-blogging—I had all the time in the world while at work if not at home, and my computer had uninterrupted incoming flow of energy—the reason is plain laziness. I could even have composed some blogs during my two-weeks stay at Bilaspur and half-a-week travel by rail summing up to-and-fro; in fact I had wanted to draft some from the scene of crime and post later, but couldn't do away with the pleasant afternoon siestas in front of coolers, something you don't get to relish in Bangalore.

Coolers are not the only thing I miss. Visiting my grandma's house brought up memories of childhood, when Mom and sisters and I used to spend our entire summer vacations there—year after year, till I entered college eight years ago. It was the first time after that that I visited the place again, and I could get nostalgic everyday remembering myself sitting bleary-eyed in mornings in the large foyer opening to the aangan, pull-ups at the rod in the foyer, perching at the staircase in the aangan with my summer-vacation-homework, afternoon naps at the room on the first floor, solving Hindi crosswords in archived newspapers, flying kites on the terrace which was accessible only through a wooden ladder I was always afraid of climbing—everything was so fun, and seems so distant now. We would wait for Maama to return from office and take us out to Company Garden and snacks at ICH. I would join my cousins in shopping for the daily needs at Shanichari. The other Maamas and families would visit us on weekends from nearby cities, and we would play cards late into the night; I remember often more than 10 people playing on three decks, and almost an equal number queued up for their turn.

Bilaspur Junction Railway Station

Everyone had visited this time also, but then almost everyone, including I, was busy with my sister's marriage, and we had moved to another, bigger house the latter part of my stay. However, I couldn't help getting emotional every time I visited the 70-year old house to get some stuff. Old constructions always excite me, and this was one I had spent quite some beautiful summers in. The house is located in Juna Bilaspur, Juna being the Chattisgarhi word for old. Its like the Purani Dilli, with all the rush and crowd. And the entire locality has those old constructions, most of them with khaprail tile roofs, which adds to my liking. Then there is the Arpa river which brims up only in monsoons, but the river bed, and one of the many bridges one has to cross to go to the other part of the city, provide a picturesque landscape. I so much missed carrying my camera around in all the rush. It would have been infeasible stopping at the roadside taking pictures when I had so many people to coordinate with and so many arrangements to be taken care of.

Anyways, this was a welcome change away from the click-and-touch world I live in otherwise. I had to get my hands dirty, and go back to the real world where you need to literally sweat out to get things done, and the todo is not a list of online sites you need to visit. Bilaspur is quite different a city than the bigger ones like Bangalore and Delhi, although it has changed considerably in the past eight years I couldn't pay an annual tribute to it. The roads, the marketplaces, new apartments and constructions, malls and hangouts, increased traffic, the new place in the administrative map it has got—there has been a complete metamorphosis, and I cannot do full justice to it unless I put it off for another post.


Cuckoo said...

Welcome to the old world of concrete jungle & clicks & touches.

khaprail tile roofs,..I refuse to call it by any other name. :-)

Will wait for some more on Bilaspur.

Anadi Misra said...

main soch hi raha tha ki Saxena sahab ne blog nahi kiya kaafi time se...Nice post,well written and structured...pic bhi kisi purani haweli jaisa dikhta hai...

Amazing that when you revisit these places, only then you realize how far you have come...

Glad to have you back and blogging!

ashes said...


Thanks. :) Yeah...clay tile roofs would not have conveyed it clearly.

ashes said...


Thanks dude. Sorry woh photo par label karna bhool gaya tha...that is the Bilaspur Junction Railway Station.

Yes, you generally do not realise the importance of whatever you have, it is only when you go away from it you know what you miss.

Amiya Shrivastava said...


First of all my best wishes to you and to your family. Roli is now happily married to Vivek and therefore now you cross another milestone in your life.

Friend, after reading your blog all I can say is that you have got nostalgic at right time. Bilaspur needs your services and your virtual presence close to it. It's quite possible that the whole event was in a way staged by the God to make you realize this. On one hand when He gave you all the happiness you needed, on the other hand he made you realize that you carry the fragrance of this place; also, that you must work on the place to make it the best place to live in the entire world.

So, I urge that you use all your ingenuity and dexterity to make it a place which when once visited will leave an indelible impression on visitors and will make them more nostalgic than it made you.

Shilpee said...

So good to see a blog on 'Bilaspur':) ..8 years is a long time.. you would have witnessed completely changed Bilaspur this time. By the way, blog is informative also. i didn't know the meaning of juna, though have heard it many times and been to Juna bilaspur.

Keep writing

ashes said...


Thanks for the wishes dude.

But regarding my services and virtual presence, both of us know that is a remote possibility. Also, the way you want to transform it, I would stop being nostalgic about it :)

ashes said...


Me teaching up Chhattisgarhi to a Chhattisgarhi! Yeh to too much ho gaya yaar!

On a more serious note, yes, people generally do not pay attention to things (and people) close by.

Shilpee said...

you are right masterjee :)

Anonymous said...

khaprail roofs...i remember a rainy night i spent under one such roof. only that it wasn't as cosy. it was leaking from everywhere and our (the kids) duty was to keep moving the buckets (to catch the leaking water) from one place to another. and after an hour of mashakkat, we were tired as anything.

ashes said...


:) Yeah that used to be one property of Indian khaprail roofs, though I was never lucky to have such an experience.

Shyam S. Pushpey said...

please check

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