Raj Darbhanga. I don’t remember when I first went there. Fading images goes back to 1986, when I was going Asraha village. Asraha is a small village where my cousin phuphi lives. A village I didn’t liked most. No electricity, but this was as usually accepted. Electricity was considered as something which disturbs normal routine of life. This was joy ofcourse to see a 100W bulb, however no one was dependent on it. An special evening when “Maleeda” was made, and was served as a holy sweet after completing “BibiKaQissa”, I remember the “MittiKaAngan”, aroma out of “Mittikachulha” and “Goetha (Cow Dung Fuel)”, oldies discussing something out on a “Khatia”, buffalos and cows returning in the dusky theme. Maleeda was made of rotis churned and mixed in a jelly of sugar and desi ghee. Those who have gone through the age, knows its magical taste. Contrary to Asraha was another village “Chandanpatti”, associated with my memories, some great childhood days.
So while going Asraha, we cross the Raj empire. The great king who ruled Northern Bihar under the regime of Akbar. Commonly called Darbhanga Maharaja. I liked the place and love to see the beautiful fort, palace, lake and open compound. In 1992 I was with my own machine. Hero Jet Plus. My bicycle. Ammi often told us about kidnappers and culprits in the compound so I was scared somewhat to go alone. However my excitement has always overruled any fear. I always felt me being a superhero and was ready for any challenge.
Back to 1986: Chhath puja is typical to Darbhanga I would say. Abbujaan has got the new LML Vespa, and we were the second proud family in Darbhanga to own LML Vespa. This was winter and we were waiting Abbu to come with new scooter, and he came. The joy of a new scooter, its smell and many more emotions which have been lost in the course of time. Abbu used to take all of us to all the ponds around in Darbhanga in Chhath night. We see Hindu devotees worshipping early rising morning Sun, crackers, small toys of thela wallah, Barf (Ice Cream, we call it berf then,) etc. Happiness in small things, small events, so happy, and that happiness is strange now.
Somewhere in year 1993: This was the month of June. I was on my machine, my cycle. Four kids on one cycle and I was driving like a worrier. Iqbal, me, Asad and Prince. We went there in Raj campus. Cycling, playing and doing anything unplanned, roaming around. We had many things in common, when we were kids. Communality is eradicated by our thoughts, which anchors us and we grow developing differences. What are lost are the innocence, happiness, joy and childhood.
Also in August 1993. I don’t know if Faisal (Shahid Jamal) recalls it or not, we were on a similar tour to Raj compound. We saw snake charmers there. Lot of varieties of different snakes.I Faisal and my cycle. Aimless roaming, “ganne ka ras” and roadside toffees. Then Benta mohalla. Khurram Mamujaan’s shop, then Auntie home, then Naanijaan. Back at home with Maghrib azaan in background. Admiring my red color cycle.
Another time to go there was on 1st January. I went there sometimes in 1st January. Feeding monkeys, the chanaachoor I get in INR 1.00. life was terribly uncomplicated.