2008/01/29

The song of the dusty road ..

The hills ride alongside you , on both sides as you drive down NH 33 from Jamshedpur to Ranchi.In the early morning , they are misty and a pale purple in the distance .
As the day clears they are a dirty green - dust blown and a little parched .In summer , there are forest fires - I remember a red flame line from my childhood one summer . However , the fire must be less now since trucks laden with logs from felled trees keep passing us by at regular intervals .

Women strangely enough work harder in this region than men - who seemed to loll around with bidis or just sit on their haunches , staring into space and hawk out great gobs of spit .

Jharkhand owing to its ethnicity attracts a major share of reservation benefits , but as is evident from the minuscule view of the state the day' journey affords us, poverty is rampant . The children have the stick legged , pot bellied figures of malnutrition. Although the harvest has been gathered , they eat a watery gruel with greens thrown in . It is enident . that as with all good things , the benefits of reservation are reserved only for a privileged few who study in missionary schools and hold down good paying jobs mainly in the Government sector with its Presidential directives and suchlike . The only problem here is that the uplifted keep getting lifted higher and higher whereas the poor remain as they were - tilling the fields and walking for miles under a load of hay , the face barely discernible , the figure hardly visible except for the two legs and arms that stick out at angles .

And the women take a break and enjoy their bidis and betel leaf and stare at us as we pass by ..

The preferred mode of transport on the highway are run down jeeps with travel weary dented bodies crammed with people inside ,while a dozen more hang on precariously all around the vehicle except the front.


At intervals , this symbol of Jharkhand crops up in the fields .
I am not quite sure what it symbolises , but he stands , small , grey green , but triumphant , flag waving in the air .

A little distance away , is the tomato market where tomatoes , in gunny bags, baskets and every conceivable receptacle ., abound. Matadors are lined up , laden with baskets of yellow-red and translucent green tomatoes , spilling on to the roads .Later much down the road , some 6 kilometres away , we see a woman carrying a basket of tomatoes on her head and surmise rightly enough that she was getting back home from the "tamatar haat"
Chandil Dam is incredibly beautiful -the approach road is stony
and crater ridden and the hills loom up as you
approach a bend to the right on the road leading to the lake -

and suddenly you see a glimpse through the shrubbery on the side - a line of water sparkling silver as it catches the last bit of the afternoon sun .










As you take the next turn you see the lake -a huge expanse of a deep blue with the forest and hills a lush green , in the far distance , speedboats urging up a froth and surge of foam as they jet across the water



And closer the waters are choppy and froth in little breakers on the sandy shores.




On the other side of the approach road , the water pools around the great primeval looking boulders and scruffy plants in between .





The best part is saved for when we walk away - a great gaggle of geese emerges from the shrubbery and walks towards the crowds searching for bits of food , even demanding. The leader is noisy and leads the pack , long neck arching and squawking or whatever it is that geese do. She looks like one of those ladies who leads a morning walker group in the Dhakuria lakes - noisy, inquisitive and quite raucous .


16 comments:

hillgrandmom said...

my parents lived in Ranchi for around 4 years, but I don't remember having driven from Jamshedpur to Ranchi.
There are a lot of Biharis working in Kerala now, I guess because of the poverty there. Besides the daily wages here are quite high and there really is not that much discrimination based on caste here.

ONEDIA said...

What an incredible post. I have a slight catch in my throat as I write. Your prose is perfectly articulate and your photos capture the essence of your words so vividly.

Thank you for sharing fullness of your outing with both beauty marks and blemishes.

O.

Lahari Chatterji said...

Hello Ruma-kaki,
I'm back in Kolkata. (Coundn't see you because the windows remain closed but saw Tani in the veranda and spoke to her)

Shari said...

You brought your words to life. I was actually able to follow along, picturing everything as you described it. Cool. Sounds very beautiful. :)

Hazel said...

hi, nice to meet you, happy weekend!

dipali said...

What a wonderful post and photographs! I loved the leading lady goose:)

Kalyan said...

WoW...some really beautiful shots & the description...very well written...You surely had an wonderful trip there!

La delirante said...

Very interesting post. I have never heard of those cities. I googled them :) It's amazing all the new things one can learn in a day! Those jeeps reminded me of the buses in my country...in the rural areas sometimes they also use pick ups packed with animals and people too!

Have a lovely Sunday!

Hip Grandma said...

very good photographs.you are very good at it.continue to delight us.

Bablu said...

Your food blog has no nickname option but the luchis do look great. Didn't know you shared my zodiac but I do have an apetite befitting the sign.

iz said...

Women seem to work harder anywhere in the world according to what I've seen!

rajk said...

Hi Thanks for ur comment on my blog. These were some nice pics...Felt a connection since I was born in Jamshedpur!!

Moanna said...

Beautiful photographs. I especially liked the one of the lake with the green hills far in the background.

Maya Alexander said...

Such a motivated words shared in that song, loved them.
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SabrinaGreen said...

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