Friday, January 15, 2016


My name is Chetandas. Many years ago I used to teach children like you. These days I spend my time by writing about the days when I was young. I would love to share some of these with you.
A Big Move
I remember the time when I was nine years old. It must have been over sixty years ago. That was when we lived in Dera Gazikhan.
Today this place is in Pakistan. At that time, there were a lot of problems all around us. I could not understand what was happening. One day Baba told us that we had to leave our village and move to another place.
I was sad to leave my house and my village. That was where I had all my friends. All of us – Baba, Amma, my younger brothers and sisters and I took a train to come here, near Delhi.
Like us, many people from our area also moved. People were saying that our country was being divided into two – India and Pakistan.
Many people from India went to Pakistanjust like we moved to India.
For some time we all stayed in a camp. We lived in big tents that were
put up in a huge ground.

One day Baba told us that we had been given some land in Sohna village. He said that we could build our house there. I was very happy.
Baba and Amma worked hard to make the house. We children also helped. Baba dug the soil, and we quickly filled the pans and passed them on to Amma. Gudiya and Amma mixed husk in it. Baba put up the walls.
We brought cow dung from nearby houses. Amma mixed it with the mud. She coated the floor with this mixture, just like she used to do in our old house. Amma used to say that this would keep the insects away.
Then, it was the turn for the roof to be made. Baba made a frame by joining strips of wood and fixed it on the four walls.
We put branches of neem and keekar trees on the frame, so that termites would not harm the wood. Amma put old gunny bags on this and covered them with mud.
Most of the houses around our house were made like ours. A few were different. But I liked my house the best. It was just like our old house.

A Changing House
Time passed quickly. I finished my studies and got a job. Amma- Baba wanted me to get married. I thought that before I got married we should repair our house and build one more room.
In those days, people in cities were using cement. They said that this made the houses stronger. We also thought we would use cement. We used iron and cement for making the roof of the new room.
In those days unbaked bricks were also available in the market. We made the walls with them. 
The use of bricks was useful – we did not need to coat the wall every week.
Once a year we would whitewash the walls. We also built a small kitchen in the courtyard. The kitchen had a mud chulha and place to keep the vessels.
Then I got married, and my wife Suman came to our new house. To cook, Suman used to sit on the floor in the kitchen.  We all used to sit on mats in the kitchen and eat together.
It was a happy time! People used to go out to the field for their toilet in those days. Some of the houses had a separate place for this. We also
made a small toilet with unbaked bricks behind the house.

My two sons and a daughter were born in that house. Time passed. The children completed their studies. Fifteen years ago, our daughter Simi got married and moved to Palwal.
When Raju was to get married, we felt that we should get the house ready for the new bride. By then, everyone was using baked bricks.
We also used them for the walls and put a lintel for the roof. We used marble chips and cement for a strong and fancy floor.
In the toilet we put pipes to take away the waste. The kitchen was made bigger.
Now, Raju's wife does not use the clay chulha. She stands while cooking on the gas stove.

My younger son Montu moved to Delhi when he got a job there. Now he stays there with his family. Suman and I stay with Montu for some months in a year, and with Raju in Sohna for the rest of the time.
On the way to Delhi from Sohna, we go through Gurgaon. So many big high-rise buildings have come up there!
A few years ago Raju renovated the toilet and the bathroom. He used coloured tiles in his bathroom. Imagine, spending so much money for a place to have a bath!
I am now seventy years old. In all these years, I have seen so many changes, even in my own house. I don't know where my grandchildren will want to live and how their house will be!
I wonder what the houses are like in Dera Gazikhan today. And how about all my friends – where will they be?

1 comment:

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