Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Have often asked myself about why I've never written anything about Digboi, the one little word that has had such a sustained effect on me. Perhaps because it's just too much to encapsulate, or perhaps because it's difficult to pen down thoughts that are an essence away... whatever.... some intentions however lazy, justified or just well... ought not to be met and I have been trying to do just that!

When I think of Digboi, there's one recurring scene that always flashes by.. childhood memories that refuse to burn out.. they'll stay till my grave.. LOL cause they r connected so with the graves. Twas this place up a small hill, for the lesser informed :) Dubbs para, small homes( note they are not houses) almost on the edge, just about a push away you'd say! Some times meandering sometimes zig zagging it leads to a small but serene grave yard. We were about 9 of us and we would regularly haunt those guys and at times play games with their souls too.. how? Hide & seek of course. Weird but nice we called it, grotesque and stupid they found it.. who? the elders of course.. we were admonished threatened and everything else in tow.. but somehow we found it peaceful there. I talked to a 6 yr old once, lying there for ages.. wondered if he was ever bored and wanted to kind of pop out and join us.. now that would be something.
My fondest memories are of a spring day, about 4 in the evening. It was still light, there was a strange calm along with the wind that bl owed on. Am talking of days pre'Titanic'.. :) ( lest u think i copied!) I stretched my arms & took in that absolutely fresh air.. oh! it was almost orgasmic in perfection. No wonder I never get over it, not till today probably never..
Most Digboities will tell you stories of snakes in the toilets, leopards in the backyard & Elephants in the foreground.. but hey nothing prepares u for the one big mother of all picnics that Digboi turns out to be. With Swimming galas & flower shows, silks & chiffon's & parties & then some parties & more! In Digboi there are no end to the parties & they don't make them as boring as anywhere.. swear!
The animals of course are a different category altogether & u have such variety of flora & fauna. While there were the loveliest of birds from the smallest & teenie winnie blotch in red to a sparkling sunshine yellow..never got their names & don't see the necessity now either.. twas & always will be a pleasant whiff & a blurr come to sniff my Bougainvilleas in full crimson bloom. And then there were dragon flies, oh! how those little creatures drove us crazy..
My den in times like these and whenever wherever, were the beautiful lustrous branches of two Thusa pines that graced out in the front garden and made for a welcoming twosome. They 've shared with many so many an orange, flights of fancy of EnidBlyton & Tin Tin and then M& B's galore. Their gentle swaying while lulling me to sleep gave me dreams worth a life time, oh what a swish set they were...:)
With the slight snip in the air and chilly October winters, the smell of the shewli on my mind and pujo came rushing in. Pujo was to me as much about the Mother with the ten hands coming home, as Baba was with the Dhak, I with the Kartal Ma at her Mandap, me staring at the carpet of white shewli and the khichuri of the pandal. In the dance and the drama that was Digboi, of the silent hush of the elephant steps in the dead of the night.. of a fairytale childhood, of a paradise.. lost but probably gained in more ways than one, Digboi was never the oil field to us it was the only HOME we knew :)

© 2009 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury


krishna said...

Very delicate remembrance of the younger years...I felt as if I was enjoying every moment with my own presence there...You have pushed me back into my good old days and possibly shortly I shall write about my younger years, encapsulated rather with all such experiences which I stll remember from the age of 6 or 7...Love Maitrayee for this magnificent write up....Krishna

krishna said...

Excellent write up..I enjoyed veryword as if I was sharing every moment there....Pushed me into my good old days which I must write now as I recollect all that I experienced from the age of 6 or 7 years of age...My best wishes to you as I see a big future for you as a writer.....krishna