Tuesday, 7 January 2014

When I was in Lucknow - 2

I came out from the railway station. It was hot and sunny outside. Stream of passengers were flowing in same direction. Cullies were carrying luggage on their head and making way between this ocean.  Anyway I came out and saw railway station which was beautifully architected but garbage and other dirt were making it sick. I had to go in a village near Lucknow so I took auto. Traffic jam, sound pollution and bright sun were making Lucknow too painful. Just then auto stopped and took two more passengers inside, which was shocking because auto was already full. That lady set on the floor comfortably and she holds her little daughter on her lap. It seems that she is used to of this. I only can watch the things happening. I saw different points of Lucknow through window like Parivartan Churaha, University and other… 

That lady was giving me strange look and her daughter was playing with my bag’s ring. Her eyes were too big and her daughter was scrawny like skeleton. Anyways auto was bumping like hell. U.P. roads are worst in India. Auto wala took two more passengers who were hanging out. It is risky but people do this because they have no tolerance to wait. All have to go in same auto, which makes things horrible. Suddenly one start saying – Now Lucknow becomes a big city. It is difficult for me to travel now. He looked me and said – I am old and not able to understand all these new age tantrums. Oh god ! I had never thinks that it would be happened once. He went into deep silence and washed off swat from his forehead. Man sitting next consoled him, who was almost the same age. 

One man and a woman sitting in front seat were speaking into Avadhi language, local language of UP, what I understand was that lady was angry with her in lows and complaining to her husband. It was like an emotional blackmailing. Anyways that girl still busying with my bags’ ring and wanted to take it off. and her mother stopping her and staring me with smile. When auto went outskirt area I got relief. Cool breeze was giving relief from hell of city. To divert my attention from inside I look out through window.                           

This area was open and beautiful. Surely good to ignore scorching heat. Auto wala busying in passengers and passengers were busy with talks. Mix talks were taking place inside. After a while I reached to my spot. I paid him and came out. From here I had to take one more vehicle called CHHAKDA in local language. Chhakda is basically a rickshaw attached wooden platform where passengers can sit. It is completely based on Indian jugar theory.  Chhakda went into a pavement between banana garden and paddy fields. Some locals were also on it and all were speaking Avadhi language. One woman stared me and asked – Nai ho yaha pe Bitiya ? Are you new here child ? Yes – I replied. I wanted to talk with here more but she was not understanding.  She turns towards her friend and told about me and long conversation start between them. Chhakda stopped in a small snacks shop. An old man whose tummy was hanging out, was frying samosa. Women sitting next to me got off and bought samosa and I looked around…

After this break we moved and after 10 minutes I reached to my friend’s house. Her 95 years grandmother was sitting out. Anyways I met with her family who were busy in festival celebration. I took bath finished lunch and went to take rest. Around 5PM I came out. It was beautiful evening. I saw old ramshackle house all around but thing which took my attention was old TV antenna which are almost vanished from cities now…

After dinner I came onto roof and thought to sleep in open. Sleeping beneath blue sky was something new. I could see the stars and small little clouds, changing form in every minute and becoming big.  I can feel the presence of nature. I wanted to close eyes but I could not. I kept on looking sky and all of sudden rain starts. I folded my bedding and went in though I did not want to…

I woke up in the morning and it was still raining. I was disappointed but joined the family for celebration. After 12 noon weather becomes surprisingly sunny.  I went to roam around and walked through muddy path and ramshackle mud huts. It was rain so little water pool was everywhere. I crossed them and went to huge paddy fields. Every field was divided with narrow trails so I thought to walk on it. I remove my shoes hold into hand and walk with bare feet coz it was wet all over. After a long and lovely walk I back to road where a kid paddling cycle. I stopped him and ask for lift though I didn’t need it but want to talk to him... 

I asked him – in which standard you read ?
7th – his quick reply came to me.
Today was your leave ?  
Yes – again he quickly replied. After shot pause he again said – I often don’t go to school because there is no study in my school. Teachers don’t come into school.
How do you read then ? How do you clear exams without study ? I had lots more questions in my mind
He innocently replied – teachers came to my house to meet my parents and then they gave me full marks. This was enough to tell me about the standard of education there…

He stopped me after a short ride and then I turned back. When I was returning it was heavy rain so I stood down in a big Pipal tree but I was almost wet because I made all efforts to save my camera. Anyways I turned back when it was drizzle. In the evening I had nothing to do so I set there to listen family talks but all went off from my brain coz they were taking in their regional language.  Little I could understand was that they were not happy with recent BSP government. They were talking about corruption and other daily life problems. I heard this for little time and then went to sleep…
I woke early and got ready for departure but before this I had to meet with a family whom I met yesterday. They wanted me to have tea with them. Their house was small mud hut. I entered into a verandah which was surrounded by small rooms. It was mud floored and muddy everywhere. I went inside room where roof was again leaking. I looked for dry place and adjust myself. Whole family, a husband, a wife, two kids, one old lady, set around me. They wanted to know lots of things about me like how I came here alone, what I do, who is in my family, do I always travel alone and so on…

After replying all answers I ask - why don’t they repair their house ?
All became upset and with a sad face man replied – I was planning to repair it this year but our crop got spoiled due to heavy rain. I am in a heavy debit now and our government is doing nothing for us. They only made promises but don’t do anything. Wife went to kitchen and man kept on saying – I am worry for my kid’s future. I don’t know how will I give them a good life, good education ? it is terrible to do farming now. I am thinking to sell my land so that I can earn some money and start new work. Farming is now a very costly affair. His eyes became moist. It was really pathetic to see this. Meanwhile lady came with tea and biscuits and said - I am preparing lunch for you. Have food with us and she went off. Old lady was only staring me but not saying anything. She was old enough to talk…

I asked him - Would you be able to establish your life after selling your land ? Would it be enough to spent life? His eyes were wet and he tried to hide but he kept on saying - I will start business. By then his wife came with food. She brought Dal, Rise, one green vegetable and chutney in a single plate. I hold plate on my lap and start eating. Now wife said with her shy smile – stay with us for one more day. We have a temple here which is our family god temple. I want to bring you there. She was requesting from heart but I had to back so I apologies. Rain was still in bad temper and water drops were still trickling in. All became silent which I broke and said goodbye… 

Again I took Chhakda and then auto. Three all wet eunuchs were inside and ones clothes were thin wet and touching her body. All male were continuously staring her and she abused them badly and starts chatting with her friends. She said with broad smile – I collected 15,000 rupees in last 3 days. Her friends looked her with strange eyes and starts pulling her leg with adult jokes and laughed. I was also smiling with them. Auto was full and passengers sitting where they could possibly sit. Roads were logged with rain water and garbage was flowing on the road which becomes cause for big traffic jam in which auto stuck for long time. 3-4 kids were jumping and swimming in logged water pool. They enjoyed rain fully atleast there was something good otherwise reality of U.P. administrations’ responsibilities was poking out through rain. After 3-4 hours I reached Lucknow bus stand. 

Now it’s time to wait for bus which was around 5 P.M. so I set in waiting room. Though waiting room was good but filled with muck. Eventually bus came and I acquire seat in almost packed bus. We had traveled half n hour suddenly bus start bumping bumping bumping and then stopped with heavy break. Everybody shouted like anything. Driver got off and said with irritation – one tiyr has punctured. All got upset went off and start roaming. After one hour everything gets on line and bus starts again. After Bareilly it became heavy downpour and came to know that all roads in hills are closed by landslide…

Bad news for me. Early morning 4.30 I reached Haldwani bas stand it was jam packed with buses and passengers. No bus was going to hills. I came out from station and enquire to a policeman who advised me for not to go anywhere and also assured me that Nainital root could be open by 4PM. I turned to waiting room which was again jammed with passengers. I got seat in rickety iron chair where I took little power nap. When I woke up it was light so I went out for tea. In tea shop I saw a man who were looking very tensed and sprinting from one place to other
 – where are you going ? – I asked
Lohaghat – he replied with no expression and then said - nobody told me about weather here. I was going there for my son’s admission in engineering collage. Don’t know what would happen now.
He became sad and I moved from there and went into a bus. This bus was going to Dharchula and it was here from since last night till 11. All passengers were saddened. I set inside and spent almost 3 hours to listen everyone’s problems then I came out and start roaming around again. It was drizzle and had no idea what next I am going to do…

Meanwhile one taxi guy came and said he can drop us Nainital.
How ? my question for him.
He said – I will drop you near landslide and then other taxi will pick up you from there and drop you to Nainital.
His idea was okay so we 5 people agreed with it and set inside but when we reached police check post they stopped and said no vehicle can go. We back to station again. I was badly exhausted, tired and hungry and so on… Just wanted to back to home but there was no sign of it so I thought to go to my friends’ house. It was 2.30 when I reached his house. There I got refreshed ate something and took small power nap. Around 4 PM I came to know that road is clear and I can go. I booked a taxi and came from Kaladhungi road. This road was awesome in rain. Huge water falls were dropping on road but I was only wishing to reach safely Nainital. When I reached Nainital it was badly damaged with heavy rain and market was completely closed. I walked back to my home…                


  1. A nice story and beautiful pictures Vineeta.

  2. This is a really interesting post - One day I will return to India.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  3. You had many interesting and varied experiences on this trip. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  4. Interesting account of your Lucknow travels!

  5. Nice images and stories about Lucknow

  6. Interesting visit to a village.

  7. Loved reading about your village experiences and really loved the pictures vineeta :)

  8. Which village is it???