Notes from Dumka

We circled to see the reservoir of the Mayurakshi, proud under in Dumka. This picture would endure, I knew the primary time I noticed it

“That’s not even Jharkhand,” I mentioned. “Lots of hills — you will like it,” somebody mentioned. I used to be to start an 11-month time period in Dumka as an assistant professor on the college there. “I am going because you want me to go,” I informed Mother, mockingly. Often we discovered and mentioned issues about Dumka to one another. “There is a place called Leto Hill,” and “I’ll have to go via Dhanbad — yuck.”

I used to be from Chhota Nagpur correct: Hazaribagh, Ranchi, the western components. I carried its elevation inside me. Easy epithets shot from my mouth for neighbours: ‘Yuck, Dhanbad,’ ‘ew, Lohardaga,’ ‘what Khunti,’ ‘LOL, Jamtara’. So, after I drove into Dumka, and when the hills teased me earlier than I entered the city, and after I steered fastidiously by means of the potholes on the bridge over the Mayurakshi, it was all grandly archetypal for an introduction to a spot. I ponder if the potholes stay.

The first 15 days, I lived in Circuit House. It was odd, however there was an AC that labored intermittently. It was oppressively humid exterior, with saturated inexperienced all over the place, little ponds and quick buildings. Often the electrical energy went off and the air was nonetheless; solely the sunshine rain dripped from one leaf to the opposite. ‘Come, see me in Dumka,’ I texted my good friend Raza in Ranchi, and later, ‘No, don’t. It’s unhealthy sufficient that one in all us is right here.’

Later, I moved to a 1BHK available in the market. It gave the impression to be constructed for me, and from there, roots sprouted. ‘I am not a people person’, ‘I connect with the land more’, ‘The difference between Hazaribagh and Dumka is that there I lived on the elevation, here I live with them.’ Too many ‘I’s in no matter I mentioned and too many assumptions of myself, and all these assumptions I shared… with folks. Hazaribagh was land, Dumka was folks.

In the primary few days, all the scholars appeared the identical, particularly the recent B.A. batch. Always smiling and keen. “It’s nice to see young teachers,” a lady remarked throughout our introduction. Two different younger academics had joined the division alongside me. Laughter all over the place. “Mihir Sir walks very fast and he needs his chai to teach,” Prashant Sir mentioned. Like everybody else in Dumka, I, too, appreciated Prashant Sir.

I taught Lawrence, Milton and the Renaissance to my B.A. college students. In M.A. lessons, I put extra effort into trying critical, and failed. There, I taught Spivak, Hamlet, Wuthering Heights. One day, the lights went out and the ground was flooded with rainwater. I sat on the desk and closed the textual content. “Let’s just talk today,” and we talked about “epistemological violence” and “international division of labour”.

Then, some days within the night, I might drive to Masanjor with my colleague who I known as AC. With him had been Kanchan and Raghav, the 2 boys who had been my pole stars within the city. “We will take the scenic route,” he mentioned, and we drove by means of Santali villages, the huts painted purple and black, by means of small passes within the hills, by means of brooks and date bushes, earlier than stopping at one sudden incline. Here, we circled to see the reservoir of the Mayurakshi, proud under in Dumka. This picture will endure, I knew the primary time I noticed it.

Life undulated with Dumka’s highway, our Alto climbing out of the blue over a hill right here and there earlier than reaching the college. Clouds. Assignment sheets within the bag. At Sarwapani, we discovered a secret valley. At Maluti, I felt the thrill of standing on the Bengal border greater than the craft of terracotta. Between Kathikund and Shikaripara, the watersteps of the Booramani river. At dwelling in quarantine, meals containers from college students. I left the city after my time period ended, however love had already occurred between Dumka and Hazaribagh. It rose with a fast rise within the highway, and now I don’t know if it should plateau or fall.

The author is the writer of Painting That Red Circle White, a poetry assortment.

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