I spent my early days of childhood (until i got in class 2nd) in a small town near Dhanbad named “Kendua“. To this place i owe some of my most wonderful memories. Our family is a joint family. And families of three brothers of my father used to live in the same house. Our house was a 3 storied building, one of the highest in the area and my parents resided in the 3rd floor. I remember from the window of our room, at a very long distance a mosque was visible. The top of the mosque was dome shaped and it had 4 minarets at four corners, but i guess it was about 2 kilometres away from our house. I had thorough knowledge of every lane and corner in the radius of about 1Km to our house, as i used to play “gulli danda” & “kancha” with the local kids here. But that was my limit i had never gone past the main road or the Pond No. 4 (char number talab) or the abandoned coal mines. And this mosque was behind the abandoned coal mines in the “Karkendh” town. And at night howling and crying of hyenas and wild dogs came from that area. One day I and my little sister were just looking outside the window in the afternoon. And she asked me “Bhaiya tum wahan tak gaya hai?“(Brother, have you ever been that far?) And i replied “Haan wahan tho kabhi-kabhi jaate hai ghoomne” (Yes, i go there sometimes.) just to show off my machismo. Then she asked me “Mere ko bhi le challo naa” (please take me there.)And i responded “theek hai”(Yes, sometime). After two minutes she came back to me, she had her hairs combed and slippers on and asks me “challo” (let’s go). I don’t know what exactly was going in my mind when i replied “challo”.
My mother was sleeping in her room as it was the afternoon time and so was our elder sister. So i and my little sister left for our journey without informing anyone. As we passed thru the bazaar, i brought her an ice-cream from the 1Rs coin which i had dug out from the base of the Hanuman Flag. (This theft story is interesting too; I’ll discuss that in my next blog.) After a long walk we reached the end of kendua bazaar, the edge of our town. After that there was no road, just zigzag path through the uneven land. There was an abandoned coal mine below the surface and the area was very dusty and rocky. Even though people used to cross this path, but as it was afternoon time it was almost empty. My little sister was thrilled, exited and scared all at the same time. Though i was not that scared but i remembered the howls of the hyenas at the night, i had even heard of stories “sadhu babas” who stole little children and made them beggars. I held my little sister’s hand tightly in my hand as we walked passed that desolate land. Finally we passed that area and entered “Karkendh” town. Just a few more minutes walk and we reached our destination. We stood in front of the mosque for about one minute and started our journey back. We returned back to our home after about 2 Hrs and my mother and sister were just awake by that time. My little sister was very tired but excited too about her adventurous journey. I had told her not to tell anyone about it. But her excitement was uncontrollable, she told my elder sister “Pata hai hum log kahan gaye the?” (Do you know where we have been?), “Agar mummy ko nahi bataogi, tho bataongi” (I’ll only tell you if you won’t tell mom about it.) “Aaj hum log Taj Mahal dekh ke aaye.” (We went to see the Taj Mahal today.)
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