Album and Autobiography-5

The fond memories of childhood in my village keep me happy in my solitude. Recently, I discovered that I have with me the photograph of the place rather the room where I was born. Basically that room was very auspicious so was used for the delivery for all the children before and even after me before the final division in the family. The photograph is a typical of a courtyard of a house in a village. One can see the rural old rice making appliance (Dhenki/ka) that used to make rice from paddy. I have seen the appliance extensively in use with singing women folks working for dehusking the paddy till rice mills arrived. It must have been a tiring exercise for their legs.

My family house had four courtyards and the roofs all over were covered with khaprel and naria (baked rural terracotta tiles). The southernmost was for male and the cattle. At one time, we had some 10 bullocks, two-three buffaloes and one very good horse. I remember some of bullocks had some unique identities based on places from where they came. Horse came in the house after a generation and continued for some years. Actually the first one came as a dowry from my maternal uncle Late Ramakant Rai, the brother-in-law of Nand Kishore chacha of village Ladui, and the next village in south of our village. In the evening in summer, after the sprinkling of water drawn from the well in the corner and all the cattle in their places, the courtyard presented a great scene. I still get reminded of some persons who might not have survived by now who used to entertain us all with some unique magic, enchanting stories and local songs. In evening many from among the villagers used to come for social get together. I still remember the evening when I requested my grandfather to ask ‘Pahalwan Sahab’ Rajneti Rai, the senior to show us some trick. Interestingly, he complied. He enquired Radhika Rai if he has some pure silver coins in his pocket. Naturally Radhika Rai was bewildered to hear that. But on search, one of my uncles found five old silver coins in his pocket. I don’t know how he did it. Was it a trick or some special power that he had developed? But as the story used to be, Rajneti Rai has a spirit under his control who does everything that he wishes.

The place now look totally changed as shown in photograph below that is now owned by my youngest uncle and his family.

I have some real good memories of earlier years. There was a very old well in the compound and there was no gate. One night, when we were sleeping, there was loud noise and we found the bricked wall of the well had collapsed. Jamuna baba got the new well in one corner. When we got the horse, a place for it was created where earlier the well existed.

The next courtyard was one for cattle and cattle feed. However, there was a room in one corner with a sub-room in it. My great grandmother told me that it was of the grandfather of my grandfather. He lived a very long life and that too lavishly. The room was having few chests with all types of papers, old books, court documents and perhaps some souvenirs. I used to sneak into it in my childhood and used to look at the papers. I had not developed the knowledge to understand and interest about preserving things of family history for posterity. And all those got thrown in absence of a good appreciator. I really feel sorry for it. But I do also remember the extra care by Jamuna baba, when the portion was getting demolished to construct a new one according to his plan. He expected some hidden treasures to appear from the wall or the floor, as the old persons kept their savings that way without telling anyone. Alas! Nothing came out to make him financially affluent too.

On the eastside of the third court yard was a long two-storied hall with three-four good beds (mostly received in dowry) and just two small windows where all of us the male members used to sleep. The mud wall was almost three-four feet in width that kept the place pretty comfortable even in hot summer.

The third courtyard was for the ladies with the fourth one as vacant with some trees of pomegranate and a lemon. The photograph above is from the third courtyard. It had a small platform in the middle that was worshipped as place of Lord Shiva. The family used the place during marriage or for any religious function such as Satya Narayan Puja as one we were having in the photograph when we visited Pipra with Yamuna and newly born Rakesh for the first time in 1968 while I was working in Hindustan Motors.

Satya Narayan Puja near Shiv Baba chabutara in main courtyard, 1968.
I was born in the room at the corner on August 14, 1939

There are many memories of the places around our family house that keeps me wondering if I could have photographed all the corners of the house.

This entry was posted in personal. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s