Where even an accident is described humorously, by none other than Humjayega as “Thiching the gear, uffring the gadi, posing in the gu ghari“, this was my Darjeeling not so long ago full of humour, laidback attitude, simple and honest.
In Darjeeling, the Chemist and Drugstore was our small “Bari” and our Ama the “General Physician”, who knew a few prescriptions or two. Fever with sore throat “Athani Jhyaar“, Loose motion “Ambak ko Bokra“, Convulsions and Heatstroke “Teetey-Pati“, High BP ” Sisnoo ko Daal“, “Banmara” for the severest of cuts, “Kaalo Ukhu” jaundice, and “Bet lauro” for Urinary Infections and the worst medicine the bitter “Chirautoo ko Jhol“. Not to mention “Smelly Socks” for Epilepsy.’
Big Bazaar and City Centre still comes at our doorstep in the form of “Har Ekk Maal” shouting at the top of his voice “Har Ekkk… Maaal… Ayooo…” and the “Baii Wala” selling not only the bangles and bindis, fairness “Savera Cream” but also ” G.D. Ko Luga”. Home delivery were here before the Dominoes and KFC’s or Flipcarts in the form of “Anda wala Bhayia” and the early morning shout of the “Bunwala… Bunnnnn… Toast Roti….Cream Roll… Ayooo“…. Fresh buns at your doorstep and a little not so fresh in the villages. Enjoooy….
Not so a long time ago and still in some far flung villages visiting saloon for the latest hair cut is serious no-no…. Why? The Barber comes/came with his Shop at our home itself. All that was required- a set of tool.. two “piras” to be precise…and warm water. Most of the time we had a peek-a-boo between the dhoti of the barber, as our head got tangled in his Dhoti. After the unmentionable head banging with barber’s don’t ask what! A new man with an “Army cut” would arise…most of the times with a “batuka cut“.
The culture of watching football together in a pub (Pub Culture) was already here in Darjeeling. People would gather with local liquor sometimes with Army ko XXX “Ghode Rum” and “bhutuwa” for snacks. The kids , teenagers and women would have to satisfy themselves with “pirooo aludum” and “bhutaeko chaana“.
Argentina the favourite team for the teenagers, Italy, Brazil for the elders and West Germany(Germany now) for the majority. Such was the times partly because very few of us owned televisions. This deprivation of not having a television at home made us come together, the haves and the have-nots together in celebration. Now we watch World Cups confined in our rooms and shouting by ourselves, not to forget the evil look of our female members of the house who want to watch “their favourite saas-bahu serials and now the “snake-man-women” triangles. I wonder which time was a better time. The beedi filled smokey hysterical sit in the floor environment with “mateeko manchae haru karaudai“enjoy gareko football matches or today’s cosy yet lonely confines of our living rooms. The choice is yours readers.
The Attarey Mithai and Boy’s Mithai especially the black one’s taste, the childhood rhymes of “Chi- Musi-Chi, Musa- Ley-Khayoo- Dhaan, “Kaataa- Hai- Biraloo ko Kaan“, “Dhukumuku- Dhukumuku- Kasko- Haat“, “Ambaal- Dhambaal- Kaliloo Paath“. The games of throwing 20 paisa coins in the walls ” Bhittae“, the “Tokpa“, “Pangra“, “Bearing Gadi, Chungi, Pipe ko Gadi— the didi haru ko “bai-tukra“, “chor-police“,. Ahhh…Nostalgia Unlimited….The only Clash of Clans we knew was crushing the Cans’s Covers “Bicchoo” to bet in “Chichooo” or even “Tokpa“.
My Darjeeling vibrant and colourful, come back once again.
To be continued…..
*Diwas Chettri is from Kurseong.