Thursday, July 5, 2007

CHITTARANJAN IN 50S....................3

I am not sure which year Pandit Neheru visited Chittaranjan to mark the occasion of rolling out first electric locomotive. Either it was 1960 or 61. We all were taken to the small field, adjoining to the railway track, beside the GM Office. On the track the newly built Electric Locomotive remained static being garlanded all around, like the decorated car we usually find groom uses on the day of marriage. Nearby there was a stage. We could barely see our the then Prime Minister from a distant point , where our school was allotted space. I could hardly understand what he spoke. What fascinated me was the engine! Thereafter for quite some time I use to dream to become a engine driver in future ;
In those events less days, truly it was a memorable day at Chittaranjan.
The life was as simple as any of village in those days. The metal roads, the electricity, the schools, the hospital made the difference. Hardly anyone was having fans or radios. In summer it was quite common to sleep outside. Off course one thing was common, every household had a bicycle. It was in late 50s, one gentle man opened a shop in the bow market area of Usha, selling electric fans and sewing machines. That changed the life. One after another, who were staying in B or A type quarters made a bee line every month to buy the fans. We too bought our first table fan in those days, and that fan is still running, it is very much with my sibling.
60s saw many developments and expansion of the township. Simjhuri, the New Hospital Colony and the vast area behind now English Medium School were developed. I still remember the grazing ground beyond the railway track, where the township is behind the English medium school. There was a small pond, not dam. I doubt whether it still exists. Hill top was a place, every visitor to any family use to have in their local sightseeing program, so was the Colonel Singh Park and Ajay river. The Haat on every Tuesday and Saturday earlier was a must. Since the local markets what you find or found were in their infancy. Even there were very few Atta Chakki. For years I remember I use to take a long walk for grinding wheats.
In our childhood, our area was limited within Amladahi only; before joining the D V Boy`s in 1964 I hardly ever visited SP North, Officer`s colony, Fatehpur or even Hill colony or Hospital colony. There was a feeling that Amladahi is old and big area than others, SP North was for the elites and area 5&6 perhaps for downtroddens or new comers (do`nt blame me)! As you feel Ballygunge being for the elites and North Calcutta for the olds and the rest or beyond the North Calcutta for the rest or the new comers. The society was a mixed one and most of the time in cosmopolitan in nature, that is why I felt , we have an advantage outside. We can accustomed ourselves so easily, it is because of our society where we were brought up ; at Chittaranjan.
There were some characters that still haunt me. One was Saha Pagol, a guy perhaps went to Chittaranjan as an apprentice lost his head, with none to take care of him, he was visible everywhere ,every time in and around Srilata Institute, Football ground, Children’s park (near Technical School). He was harmless, could speak and write English well. This made us more curious, how an educated guy could become mad ! Later we did not find him, may be he was sent to some asylum. The other one was Dadu, a chat (Ghugni) seller at Srimoti Cinema; his ghugni was so popular that we could strive to have it for 3 paisa(half anna). Can you imagin? Well this is enough for the day, rest in next.

3 comments:

Pramila said...

Mention of Saha Pagla reminded me of our childhood days... We use to stay at technical school Hostel, that was initially meant for apprentices but in the later part of 70s and early 80s was converted for family accommodation. Saha Pagla use to roam about in that area, and as small children, we use to crank pranks and shout at him..... some children even use to throw stones at him and he reciprocated.

Lot of memories of Chittaranjan

Pramila, Kolkata

bibhas said...

Yes,I do remember saha pagla as well.I was in Bakhle House Hostel No 4, and he used to spend time and sleep in our open baranda.
So many things coming in my mind and still I chrish my stay at CRJ wef 1963 to1975.

bibhas said...

Yes,I do remember saha pagla as well.I was in Bakhle House Hostel No 4, and he used to spend time and sleep in our open baranda.
So many things coming in my mind and still I chrish my stay at CRJ wef 1963 to1975.