05 October, 2007

Jai Jhalmuri

"Jhalmuri" (jhal = mirchi/chilli + muri = puffed rice)
a papercone full of firey chillis, pungent mustard oil and scruffy fingers

Muri is one of those easily-forgettable, falling-off-the-map kind of nondescript places. It was my first proper venture into Jharkhand and I looked forward to it with a gusto everyone around me found completely unwarranted and unsettling. The manner in which I managed to find projects in farflung areas baffled all. My family wrung their hands in despair as harried wellwishers rattled off tales of naxalite horrors. M, (my "expedition partner") and I shrugged nonchalantly. One's got to do what one's got to do. Period.

After a week of another set of utterly worthless exams, I looked forward to some Jharkhandi respite. The trip began. With an ill omen. Some days just don't go right. The India-Australia match got washed out. The auto guy tried to fleece us thinking we were not from Delhi (that's a new one). AND we missed our train. After a dhakkemaar journey in a snail-paced, fungus-infested train, we finally reached Muri.

bashfully, the skies kiss the emerald expanse

As I got off the station, I was struck by the common-placedness of the rickety little town (yes i have this annoying habit of making up words when I can't find the right ones). Had I expected Jharkhand to be a new land? With different people peeing along the tracks? Different calamities facing them? Different trees and birds? Different houses lining the roads? Different potholes in those roads? Different smells? As the days passed by, it sunk in. No matter where you go, the essential being of a people is the same.
The trees will rustle in the wind. Dogs will stretch their paws, yawning the days away. Cows will eject humungous piles of dung. The mud will smile each time the rain tickles her. People will make small talk about the weather, no matter how many fields they have ploughed or how many daughters they have left to marry off. I will miss my mother and not be able to remember the last time I hugged her. The clouds will pout into unexpected shapes against the blue blue sky. And children will ride their bicycles through all the puddles.

I find myself on a train again, rattling away from this land of the obscure to a land where obscurity is one thing you strive too hard to get.


(By the way if you come across a person only a few shades away from black, with a tan that would put a golliwog to shame, you may have run into a certain me)


  1. oh
    whats different about jharkhar or bihar is not different problems as such.. its the language when they pass lewd comments proudly .. the sheer narrowness for quarelling over pitiable things.. and the impossible acceptance that people have grown on for such commonplace behaviour is what you should worry about.. as for the naxalites, they have more important things than killing a poor tanning chandni singh

  2. Anonymous8:58 pm

    Well Haru, the post had nothing to do with the stuff you talked about. What on earth makes you think that people from 'jharkhar or bihar' pass lewd comments proudly, that they quarrel over pitiable things, and that they have come to accept their 'commonplace behaviour'? I have been to these places and the point is that they are as good or bad as people elsewhere. And that's exactly what the post was about.

    Next time, think twice before putting up something so judgemental.

  3. An anonymous debate shaping up already. It was good, yeah.

    But I have something to say about the last stanza. All was going well until you wrote, "I will miss my mother and not be able to remember the last time I hugged her."

    It seems a bit out of place in this context. Like a thorn in one's loin cloth?

    Not to take away anything from the mushy-quotient. Maybe a sappy post is due? Talking about ones who matter? Maybe!

  4. Anonymous2:57 pm

    Had I expected a rosy receipt? Yet the write had me reading this thrice... People will talk of Rani of Jhansi's blog.. no matter however tanned she is... Till then etch on.

    P.S Dogs again found a way into your posts!

  5. haru: guess you rankled an anonymous someone. anyway its always interesting to hear another person's perspective no matter how different from one's own it may be.

    sid: u actually thought that was out of context? It was not a mushy-quotient thing for SURE. Wherever we are, some things don't change like the trees and dogs and blah I said. Most importantly, "I" don't change. I miss people dear to me wherever I may be. That's all. As for a sappy post?
    Ans :|

    rani of jhansi caller: rosy receipt? dogs always enter because they don't see the shade of a tan and they are as idiotic as I wish I could be.

  6. Anonymous11:59 am


    You need not be as idiotic as a dog to overlook the shades of tan.
    Many wise creatures can do that very well.
    It's just that they don't.

    Anonymous 1 :)


  7. Then they arn't all that wise.


    What? Ry name? Yours? My age? The face of the guard? What I ate for dinner? The value of Wein's constant? The number of times its rained in delhi?

    Remember? Remembering is a bother I try to without

  8. Anonymous10:51 pm

    Good post!! you bring India to people like us, when we are away from the mottherland.

    Anonymous Supreme.

  9. Anonymous10:51 pm


    my bad

  10. anon supreme: "my bad" u gave yourself away. good to see you here.

  11. Lanky4:43 am

    Gawd...you are popular...

    until yesterday i reserved that opinion only for myself

  12. Lanky4:46 am


    i know all the anonymouses on ur bloh


  13. sid: omniscient arrogant s***a. i shall hound you and find out.

    *med grins her speciality smug grin when she knows she will find out*

  14. Anonymous3:56 am

    @sid lal

    u dont know me >_<

  15. ok anonymouses or anonimi whatever you people prefer, kindly manage yourselves better. Why don't we come to a concensus about your taxonomy? Show some creativity. More interesting for you and DEFINITELY me.

  16. Anonymous1:11 pm


    What? Ry name? Yours? My age? The face..."

    Haven't you ever been in a conversation earlier? Sound so.

    Anonymity is preferred, for unprejudiced opinions. No taxonomy needed.

    Anyways, t'was my last visit to your blog.

    And lanky, you certainly dont know me.

    ~Anonymous 1~



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