A Journey of Our Days

Author: 
Prem Prakash Sharma

Prem Prakash Sharma (popularly known as PP) was born in Sikar, Rajasthan in 1958. He graduated in B.Sc. (PCM) from Government College, Neem ka Thana Rajasthan. He went on to finish his education with a three-year law degree and masters in political science from University of Rajasthan.

PP joined Customs and Central Excise and was posted to several cities, international airports and sea ports across India in a career spanning 36 plus years.

PP retired on superannuation from Jaipur in January 2019 where he lives with his elderly parents, families of two brothers, his wife Sadhana, son Vivek and daughter Niharika. Both his children are excelling at their studies.

PP is a keen follower of cricket played the around the world, having himself played competitive games at various levels. His favourite pastime post-retirement is to look after his family, play golf and listen to some soul-searching music.

As a young man in a small town of Rajasthan, I used to cycle about 15 kms daily just to attend college. Sometimes I was forced to walk as well.

During my childhood and teenage years, hardships were a part of life. Radio was the most coveted source of entertainment and information for many restless people like me.

Listeners would send requests (farmaish) for Hindi film songs on various programs on Akashvani (All India Radio) and Radio Ceylon, famous for Binaca Geetmala. The names of the requesters and their place of residence were announced prior to the song.

Names of places were heard very often on the radio during these decades of sixties and seventies of the last century were Naya Jalna, Bar ka Kana, Rajnand Gaon, Bhatapara, and so on.

But the one heard the most was Jhumri Telaiya. What a classic name of a place in India!

During the summer vacations of 1974 (after my 10th Standard board examinations), I had a chance to visit my Nana’s place, a town called Ramgarh Cantt. in Bihar (now, Jharkhand).

I requested my Mama to take me to two places – Jhumri Telaiya and Bar ka Kana – which were approachable from Ramgarh Cantt. He was surprised, and asked why I was curious about the two places.

I told him that the two names were frequently heard on the radio in farmaish for film songs. He laughed a lot, but he took me to both the places on his Yezdi motorcycle.

On reaching Bar ka Kana, to my dismay, I found it to be a small village around a railway station in the outer vicinity of Ramgarh Cantt, dominated by labourers, quite opposed to my imagination.

We then proceeded towards Jhumri Telaiya, which was about 30 kilometres away. The journey was quite pleasant and the lush green forest area was fascinating, especially for someone from Rajasthan.

On reaching Jhumri Telaiya, I realised that it was a very hot and humid small town, near Koderma railway station on Delhi-Howrah route.

 
Koderma railway station

Koderma railway station

The town was named after the bowl-shaped famous lake, Jhumri Taal, situated in the low-lying catchment area of river Barakar, and was surrounded by small hills.

 
Jhumri Taal

Jhumri Taal

The government had constructed a large dam on the bank of the Taal. The region also had some other beautiful clean water lakes.

 
Dam on Jhumri Taal

Dam on Jhumri Taal

The roads in the area were difficult to travel on, but the place was full of intrinsic natural beauty and greenery. The people mostly talked with typical Bhojpuri intonations, while chewing Khaini (processed tobacco with lime) and paan.

My Mama and I had a small conversation with one paanwala, who had a transistor placed prominently in his small shop, about sending farmaish for songs. He displayed a wad of post cards (5 paise for each) to be used for the purpose. He went on to describe the thrill he and his friends had experienced when they heard their own names on the radio with the name of their place, Jhumri Telaiya.

I went back to Rajasthan and finished my schooling and graduation from Neem ka Thana. I wanted to compete and join the civil services. Due to adverse family circumstances, I was forced to join Customs and Central Excise (SSC direct recruit). Starting at the rank of Inspector, I was posted to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bhiwadi and International Airports at Jaipur and Mumbai.

On promotion as IRS Assistant Collector, I served at Mundra and Kandla ports for four years before returning to my home town of Jaipur in 2018.

Even after four decades, I can still recall the feelings of satisfaction, amusement, and importance on the face of the paanwala at Jhumri Telaiya. The memories of that journey are yet to fade from my mind despite technological advancements and lots of changes in the lifestyle since then.

Comments

Who can forget Jumritalaiya?
I remember this name from college days: 1959-64!
Thank you for recalling your memory.

Umeed Jhumri Taleyya was heard regularly on radio.Amravati was another such popular place for 'farmaish'. Well done PP

The parents of one of my friends in the US actually live in Jhumri Talayya. No one can forget that name from Radio Ceyon Aap hee Ke Geet at 8.00 am - which was Loma time!

A vivid account of gone by radio days. Who, from our generation, can ever forget Jhumaritalaiya. Had never thought that sometimes would come to know about the place this much. Well done n thanx P P.

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