Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Friday, December 31, 2010

My paathshala days

Kishangarh Suite, Rajputana Sheraton, Jaipur: I returned to Jaipur from Churu late night yesterday. I have known the staff of this Hotel for quite many years who are insisting that I should spend the New Year Eve here. The suite is very much of my choice and taste and located near the elevator there is a small terrace in the suite overlooking the pool. 
But I'll take an evening flight to Kolkata.
I visited Churu almost after three years. Earlier, I used to frequently visit Jhunjhunu, Churu and Sikar districts as I was engaged in various welfare activities with many socio-cultural organisations in the region.
I spent some time in the same room where I was born. As a child, I used to spent one-and-half months of my summer vacations in Churu. This small town was always in the news because of its extreme weather conditions - very hot in summer and very cold in winter.
For several years, during Holi, I used to visit this area and attend the annual folk song and dance competition known as Chang and Dhap. I don't think the competition has been organised for the past three years. Though I am still keen to support this event as I used to earlier but the fact is that local club politics and groupism has dissuaded many right people from participating in this annual event.
Not just Churu, the event is no longer on in Fatehpur ever since one of the key persons and organising member, Mr Subhash Joshi (picture), became the Secretary of Rajasthan Cricket Association when Lalit Modi became the President and got busy with the affairs of the Association.
From left: Mr Subhas Joshi, Master Bhanwarlal
In Churu, Narendra Sharma, one of the most respected journalists in the region used to organise this event. But whatever the reason it is no longer held.
Lot of my childhood memories are linked with this place. I still have vivid memories of those days when I used to walk two kilometres, slate in hand, to reach my paathshala. I still remember the Joshi panwala, Bijjo chaiwala and Niwas dahi bara -kachori shop of my paathshala days. These three have survived and still exist. I feel that except for these two or three shops, everything else has changed in the world.
Besides the Chang and Dhap competition, I used to visit frequently many other annual functions in the area, from Muharram tazia processions to different annual school functions. Today, when I receive on an average ten times more invitations from this region than what I used to get earlier. However, I can hardly afford to attend these functions though there are three daily flights linking Kolkata and Jaipur. Most of the time, the priority gets the better of my heart's yearnings.
True, childhood days are the best part of one's life.
ess bee

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