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The Pawn.

August 10, 2009





There is only one state. When corrupted and tainted by self-identification, it is known as an individual. When merely tinted by the sense of presence, of animated consciousness, it is the impersonal witnessing. When it remains in its pristine purity, untainted and untinted in primal repose, it is the Absolute.

                                                  Ramesh Balsekar


Year 1969 to 1978

It was December 1st ,1969 that I came to this earth ,my abode to this planet. Many of you may be wondering as if I have come from outer space .It was the day I was born in the Wellington Hospital ,Model Town in Delhi.

We shifted to Radio colony ,near which River Yamuna used to flow .A small Dam used to protect the colony from flooding during rains. My father was a govt. employee working as an engineer All India Radio . His name was Santosh Chandra Dubey.He has been in this department since 1958.I had an elder brother,Ashutosh 8 years older  and an elder sister ,Sharmila , 6 years older .I could only remember them with their school bags then,going early in the morning and coming in the afternoon.Ofcourse their was Pigeon tied at my house which use to keep me busy.My mother name was Krishna.My name was given as Anurag. Ofcourse we has house names also. My brother was Babloo,my sister Kuku and mine Raju.

Yet again we shifted to a bigger house in Radio Colony,C –1,Radio Colony , Delhi. It was a huge house ,a Bungalow  spread over acres, made during the British time. It had 4 big rooms ,two kitchens ,two bathrooms,a Servant Quarter.My brother got a small puppy .It turned out to be bich ,to his dismay.Anyway she stayed with us in that house.We named her Jackie. We rented a part of my house to my Father Colleagues,that kept the house noisy and lively.First it were the Sinhas ,a family  four .Their two sons, Arun( Babu) and Anupam( Buntoo) were slightly older than me .Then came the Prasads from Jammu,with three children – Ruchi ,Shishu ,Shilu . They stayed with in our house ,before getting their house in front of our house.Then we had Sharmas who also rented our house.We had family of Mishra,  and Umrao Singh ,who stayed nearby.

Here I started my schooling,at the age of Five, the same School where my brother and sister went,The Rosary  School .Since the colony belonged to All India Radio, all the people were known to each other.We had a club were we had Social gatherings, Ram- lila the story of lord Rama was played every year by the residents. Dusshera was celebrated here. We  celebrated festivals like Holi,Diwali and Janmashtami etc. At other times we had our play time fixed at 5 pm to 6 pm.The Sunday was exception , being a holiday .At Sharp 6 pm on this day was the movie time.We never had a television. We used to watch it at our neighbour’s place.

One by One they left the colony as they got transferred.The Sinhas to Mukherjee Nagar and Sharmas to Khampur. Prasads ,ofcourse stayed there.Ofcourse all of them visited us and vice versa, now and then.

Soon we also got transferred to Nanak Pura ,New Delhi, a small house of two bedrooms .There was a huge common lawn in the front of my house where I used to play Football,cricket and other sports in the evening.But Nothing like the previous house. Thee was a small hill tight behind our house which was a lovely sight.I joined, Mount Carmel School in Second standard.My sister was in other school .My brother in the same old school,his last year of schooling. Then their came a sad news .Our bich Jackie had died.We had left her at Radio Colony .My brother got two rabbits from Sinhas ,which kept us busy.During this Span of time we saw two movies- Mukti at Alpana and Sholay at Plaza, with my family. Ofcourse our school took us to a movie ,Benjii and to a  zoo when I was in Second Standard.I used to get story books from library ,which my mother used to read me.

This was the time of political political watershed in the country. Indira Gandhi , the congress President has won the elections and was elected as prime minister.All the private banks were nationalized . India won the 1971 Indo-Pak war,which ended in the partition of Pakistan into Bangladesh and Pakistan.Indira Hatao movement was gaining wave.The supreme court passed a decision against the government.Emergency was declared against the decision of the court and all opposition leaders were arrested.Censorship was imposed on the press.First time in India .The Americans were badly beaten in Vietnam war and left.The Russians invaded and captured Afghanistan.

We stayed here for one year . Again we got transfer order to Sambalpur , a small town in far away backward state Orissa.My Father left there while we continued to stay there for a while until we completed our schooling.My brother got into IIT,New Delhi ,  India’s number one engineering college.So he would be staying in the hostel. My father came back and took all of us and the rabbits to Sambalpur.This was my Second visit outside Delhi. The first when I was only few months old.

In all  these 9 years ,I have never been to my relatives ,except once when I was only few years old. However my relatives used to visit us. My  Grand father and uncles  from my father’s side ,my uncles ,my cousins all used to visit us.I felt lonely especially during vacations when all my friends used to leave for their relatives.On returning they used to discuss their vacations .It could really make a sad story.But that is not what we want.

So I was the most excited of them all.Here again we had a scene. We missed the train. We had to stay the whole night in the platform as the waiting room was full.The next day we took another train for Sambalpur. It was a 36 hours long journey.

Year 1978 to 1983

Sambalpur is a very small town in state Orissa  in eastern India at the banks of river Mahanadi.Hirakud Dam,India’s largest Dam  was situated there. The roads are full with mud.People here are mostly rural. It is more of a village.Very hard to for some one from city like Delhi. We stayed in a rented house in Modi Para, a mohalla with two huge water tank towers  nearby. The mode of transport was rickshaw here.We never has our own vehicle.It was a dirty mohalla with Galis , nalis and flooding  during rain was regular feature. We stayed in the first floor ,luckily.Our landlord were brahmins too,like us .They were the Sarangis . The house had four parts .In one part they lived ,on ground floor. We stayed in first floor . The family next to us  were also brahmins .They were the Pujaris ,and worked in State Bank of India.In fact all four families were Brahmins.

The Pujaris were family of five.Two daughters and a son. The son ,Saswat-Babu  was of my age and Youngest in his family.The Sarangis has four sons and one daughter ,all of my brother’s age, more or less .

I and my sister joined St. Joseph school ,the best  and only english medium school in that town. Saswat was my school mate and my classmate. I started in third standard while my sister was in eight.Here we has to learn a new language Oriya,the state language of Orissa.

My father has been posted there as the head of the Doordarshan- Indian television service. The station was a new one. During that time the electronic media- Radio and Television was in India was totally under government control.He enjoyed all the facilities enjoyed by the head of Department.We were provided with a Television set by the office. He used to take me to the town’s largest club ,Mahanadi Club at any event or party organized there. He had two cars and a Jeep at his disposal ,ofcourse for official use.I visited lots of nearby Places with him.He took all of us to Bhubaneswar- Lingraj Temple, Puri –Jagannath temple , and Konark – Sun temple.We had Sambleshwari temple in Sambalpur which we visited quite often.Orissa is a religious place with people very simple,religious,Orthodox, and traditional.Religious festivals like Durga Puja,Saraswati Puja, Vishwa karma Puja ,Dusshera, Diwali,Holi are celebrated in a traditional manner all over the city.The town had three talkies-picture hall .Going to movies was very frequent .Our cousin took us to Hirakud Dam.Reading comics like Phantom,Mandrake,Superman,Batman,Spiderman etc in Hindi and English was favourite pastime. .Played Marbles,Kite- flying at roof,Badminton at a court made by us .Playing cricket,football in Police line nearby were part of the Sports activites developed here.We also played Indoor games like Carom Board, Snake &ladders ,Cards,chess ,Ludo etc.I developed a habit of reading novels from authors like Enid Blyton- Secret seven, Famous five etc, Franklin .W.Dixon-Hardy Boys, Carol Keene -Nancy Drew,Alexander Dumas – The Three Musketeers,The man with the Iron Mask, Charles Dickens- The tales of two cites  etc.The television has all the programmes in Oriya for the rural section.We used to have one Hindi movie on T.V. every month.Soon we has satellite launched ,which gave us more Hindi programmes direct from Delhi.

We stayed in this town for five years in the same house. Our neighbours changed from Pujaris to Patels- Gujratis to a South Indian family.I had completed 7th standard and was in eight when the news of transfer came.My father was a Mentally Upset person. The situation worsened when he heard the news that ,my brother had left the I.I.T. after one year in Sambalpur.He joined Delhi University. He refused to return to Sambalpur.My mother had a tumour which was operated upon.The rabbits were gifted to the Sardarjis who stayed nearby.We had experienced lots of ups and downs here.I had seen all faces of life.Pain and pleasure ,Joy and sorrow.

During these five years the Political scene in India had changed considerably.Indira Gandhi’s ,Congress Party was defeated by the Junta Party in the most humiliating manner.Not only that ,she was arrested along with her son Sanjay Gandhi.However the victory was short-lived. The new party was not able to survive due to internal bickering .In just two years the party lost the majority and elections were renounced.The congress party under Indira Gandhi, fought back and won back the power.Her younger son,Sanjay Gandhi died in a plane crash.She brought her elder son ,Rajiv Gandhi to power. Student Unrest became widespread all over the eastern India ,including Orissa.Sambalpur was the hotbed of the student movement in Orissa.All of them were crushed in the most brutal fashion. Terrorism in Punjab,Kashmir and north eastern regions had reached at very high level.

 Year 1983 to 1999 

It was in 1983 ,that we were transferred back to New Delhi. D- 413, Pragati Vihar, near Jawaharlal Nehru stadium ,New Delhi was our new address.These were one room apartment ,fully furnished build during Asian Games . After the games were over they were given to high ranking Government officials.

The location was superb. It was the symbol of modernity and architectural brilliance. The building was of 6 blocks ,6 floors and had huge well maintained  lawns in each Blocks. The stadium was a walking distance away.A tall water tank tower was situated  in front which supplied us with water.We stayed on the 4th floor.There were two lifts in each Blocks.Huge Government buildings were situated nearby.It was a centrally located place with a Bus Stand and a market Place nearby.The residents were all high ranking government officials . They had cars and two wheelers . The roads were wide and clean.I can feel the huge difference right from the beginning ,coming from Sambalpur.The only shortcoming was that it was very small for family of five.

I got into Tagore International School in Standard Eight.My sister has go to back to Sambalpur for one Year to complete her Intermediate .We has a community centre or a club at the colony .A restaurant was also inside the colony premises. The neighbours were as usual friendly and cogenial.We always had wonderful relationship with our neighbours.I used to go to the Playground below.We used to play Cricket and Football. Table Tennis and Badminton were other two games I played. We also played Indoor games  like Chess, Carom board ,Cards etc.Reading Novels and comics like Tintin, Asterix , Archie’s etc continued to be the favourite Pastime.Also we were provided with Television by the office.I could remember Star Trek to be the favourite serial in the morning during Sunday.Hindi serials were also popular .I also started reading the English newspaper – The Times of India which came to our house.Magazines like Illustrated Weekly and India Today were also read .In between I has typhoid and was bedridden for two months.Also the Prasads visited us, who were transferred to Jaipur. It was after long years we had an reunion.We also visited Mishras in Shalimar Garden where they has their own house.

My brother was in Jawahar lal Nehru University in New Delhi. He has to struggle a lot after the mistake of leaning IIT.My sister returned back after one year. She did badly in her final and was unable to get the admission anywhere in Delhi.She joined correspondence course from Rajasthan.I also has done miserably in 10th Board ,getting 2nd division. My father wanted me to take Science which no school was ready to give .Some how I got admission in St Mary’s school in Science in high school.My brother meanwhile had left for U.S. to University of Maryland,for further studies.Soon he got the Job there.Also during the summer holidays after 11th standard , we visited our relatives.This was mine second visit in my life till then.I saw most of them for the first time.We went to  Raath,  Rewa and Jabalpur where they stayed.It was a month visit .Ofcourse they visited and stayed with us quite frequently.

I Completed my 12th in 1988 with Just getting 1st Division – 62%. Once again I was not able to get admission in any College in science nor in any Competition in Engineering.Delhi is a highly competitive city in India in terms of education.Anything less than 90% and you are in a trouble.No good college is going to take you.I dropped one year for the preparation of competition exams. It did not worked.The Sinhas also visited us as they were transferred from Kolkata . They stayed in R.K.Puram.I and Arun has our first Cigarette .Anupam was in a Medical College in Banaras Hindu University.Soon Arun who was also preparing for medical got admission in the medical college.Many of our friends from Sambalpur also visited us.The Sarangis sons  were all working in Army.Only one of them was in J.N.U.We had developed a very good social circle in Pragati Vihar . My mother and sister used to go to kitty parties . We has birthdays parties. We had festivals like Durga Puja,Dusshera,Holi in the colony itself arranged by the residents.

Finally I joined Dyal singh college ,Delhi university in economics in 1990.The college was located very near to our colony. I used to daily walk up and down to the college.I also used to attend classes in Kirorimal College ,which was a better known college.I completed my college in 1993.In between my Brother visited us twice from U.S. He got married in US ,ofcourse to an Indian girl .Her name was Preeti Arora.My sister also got married in 1992 . Her husband name was Rohit Prasad Gupta.In1993, she gave birth to a baby girl, Tanya.

A situation has developed in 1990. My father has now retired and wanted to leave for Jabalpur, where we our grandfather had built a house ,in which we has a portion as per his will.My grandfather had expired in 1988.However none of us wanted to leave for Jabalpur.I also wanted to continue my further studies in Delhi.I never knew much about that city.So we continued to stay there .It was in 1994 that we got the notice to vacate the house, which we did.We shifted to Uttam Nagar, referred by one of our neighbour .We stayed there for three years. Meanwhile I did a one year Diploma in Business Management in 1996, from an Private Institute in Noida near Delhi . I stayed away from my home for one year.Anyway there were only three of us left.My brother visited us then from us.Then we shifted to Noida, a town near Delhi.and stayed for one year. My sister used to stay there in there own house after her marriage. We stayed in a rented one. Here a tragic incident happened. My father who very old now Lost his way. He never returned back.My brother had a son,Pranay during that period. He visited us in this period.Now we had sold our portion of our house in Jabalpur.I and my mother were left.We decided to go to Jabalpur in March 1999.

We came to New Delhi in 1983 when the world cup in cricket was being held in London.The Indian team led by Kapil Dev won the world cup after defeating the three times world champion West Indies.In 1984 ,Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh militants.I was in bed due to Typhoid ,when my sister came rushing to the house informing the tragic news. Anti-Sikh riots erupted all over the city and then the country .Curfew was imposed in all over the city. Schools,offices were closed for 12 days.Her son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as Prime Minister of the country.Army was called in to control the situation.Thousands were killed in the riots. One month later ,a gas tragedy struck in Bhopal in Union Carbide factory killing hundreds of people.Rajiv Gandhi ,the leader of Congress won the next elections with the thumping majority in the next election. However he lost the next election ,as he lost the public confidence due to corruption charges. Prime minister V. P. Singh was elected as the prime minister of the Janta Dal Party. However the Party went like its predecessor the Janta Party way. The party lost the majority in two years ,due to infighting.Again the congress clinged to power.Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was Assassinated by LTTE.The end of Nehru-Gandhi family domination in the party.  Narsimha Rao was elected as Prime minister from Congress.

The congress Party was very weak now.It was a very poor image of itself from what it was few years back.Yet another Party in the right wing had started making waves ,the BJP.Although Branded as the party of Hindu Fundamentalist and its cadres became notorious during the Rath Yatra and Babri masjid demolition . However it won the hearts and minds of millions of people during this time.The saffron wave or surge was on its way to make BJP the force to reckon with.Its two charismatic leaders Atal B. Vajpai and L.K.Advani were the talk of the town which now no congress leader could match.Politics has become a game of two forces Secular lead by the Congress and National front and Hindu party lead by BJP. The BJP soon won the power ,electing its leader Atal to  Prime Minister.

The Russians left the Afghanistan .The Chinese govt. crushed the Student movement for liberation.The Soviets were not so lucky.Finally their empire came crumbling down . The end of communism came to this country after 90 years.The two Germany were reunited.The Warsaw pact led by Soviet Union was dismantled.The American became the most powerful country in the world.

Year 1999 to 2009

We came to Jabalpur . In one year time we purchased our own house  in Jabalpur, New Jagdamba Colony.That was in 2000.Till now we are staying in the same house.

Jabalpur is a small town in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India,about 950 kms from Delhi.My father was born here. It developed a lot during this period.Roads were being built buildings are being constructed ,Banks ,companies started coming here ,slowly and slowly.

Here we has lots of relatives. My mother has two sisters here .I had lots of cousins here. Rest of the relatives stayed in the towns nearby . So we were always in touch with each other.I had learned to drive the scooter. Soon I purchased a Motor cycle. Now we had a telephone, a cello phone and Computer. Communication now was very easy and comfortable with my Sister and brother.We had lots of social activites like Birthday parties and marriages  ,festivals like Rakhi, Bhai- Dooj ,Holi ,Diwali ,Durga Puja,Dusshera etc with our relatives.In 2003 I got married . Unfortunately we did not get along well and were divorced in just 10 months. My mother visited US twice within this time to my brother. Visiting my sister in Noida by both of us and vice versa was more frequent.My brother visited us twice from US here.Then they were transferred to South Africa ,where they are presently.I ,my mother,my sister and my niece visited South Africa in Pretoria in 2008 to his place. This was my first ever visit outside India in my life.

The political scene now has stabilised a lot. The congress won the election in 2004 election . In the next election in 2009 it has has been completely routed the BJP. Manmohan Singh has been the prime minister in both the elections .The economy also has stabilised. The attack on the world trade centre  in New York and other places of strategic importance in 1991,started the new era for Terrorism. Al- Qaida became the household name in terrorism.Then the attacks in London, then in Mumbai were followed.The cities in India ,all fell victim to these attacks.Mumbai was rocked by bomb blast continuously.The latest one in Taj – Mahal and other places was the final straw.The global recession which led to the bankruptcy of many top US companies, the decline of US economy and the rising Unemployment coupled with growing Inflation in that country. The rise of China to number three position in world  economy,replacing Germany and that of rise of economic might of India and Brazil has changed the world order.

It is the month of August , 2009 .This is our tenth year in Jabalpur. We are staying in the same house for 9 years . I am 39 years of age,now. My hairs are getting visibly white .My beard is even more white. My mother is now nearly 75 years old. She is not keeping up with health. I did not  marry again.Mostly we now stay Indoors ,except for some occasions.Some times our cousins visit us .My mother watch Television most of the time. Some times we watch a movie in Video(DVD) .I work in my computer ,to keep myself busy. I listen to music occasionally.There has been no news of my father till date although we tried to search him,initially. We are surviving on his pension. Life is being lived at its natural way. Nothing is being done to change it. It is also good for us in a small town in Jabalpur.Let it take its own course.



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