JAMSHEDPUR: Dreams Beyond Steel

JAMSHEDPUR: Dreams Beyond Steel

“Sometimes you will never know the value of the moment until it becomes a memory.”

People relentlessly run in search of complete freedom, to escape from their abode, only to find out in the end that it always, always puts them in servitude of what they say, “It’s all a part of growing up.” Amidst this energetic chaos of life, when someone asks you, “Ghar kab jaaoge?”, you can’t help but cry within and smile back at them. Today, as I mindfully tap away on my laptop, a sense of inner calm and clarity fills me. The environment may be conducive, yet my elevated state of consciousness cannot stop me from describing my hometown, my Jamshedpur.

Jamshedpur, or Tatanagar, as a native of the city would call it, is not just a quaint city marking its presence faintly. Rather, it’s a wave of emotions, an adrenaline rush and a thousand intricately woven memories all at once. Be it the overlying canopies that foliage the city vibrantly or the rolling Dalma hills that cast their shadows coordinating with the benevolent rays of the sun, Jamshedpur is like a treasure waiting to be uncovered. Founded in 1919 by Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, Jamshedpur is one of the first industrial planned cities of India and the most popular urban agglomeration in Jharkhand. At a certain point, all of us might have imagined being born in a different city or a town. But if someone asks me the same, my answer would undoubtedly be my very own Jamshedpur which has a lot more to offer than just steel.

Jamshedpur is like a treasure waiting to be uncovered.

Jamshedpur offers you a variety of serenity. It is like getting served the same food in different crucibles. Starting from the very beauteous Jubilee Park, also called the “Mughal Gardens of Jamshedpur” is a famous tourist destination of the city. Centrally located, the park is spread over 200 acres of land comprising ornamental trees, colourful fountains, and rose gardens. This park was a befitting gift from the Tata Steel, the magnanimous steel industry of East India to the people of Jamshedpur. Apart from this, the Nicco Jubilee Amusement Park and the Tata Zoological Park are fondest recreation sites attached. When I close my eyes, I cannot think of anything else than running through the acres of concrete interspersed with neat grass verges on weekends with my family. Jubilee Park hits me with nostalgia the most when I think of the vendors selling spicy puffed rice salad or ‘jhalmuri’, potato chips, and of course floss cotton candies. The slight warm breeze rustling the leaves, the glistening rays of the sun pouring through the narrow openings of the slowly drifting clouds, and the hundreds of waves of laughter and chatters of all generations are some memories I am going to cherish forever. Sometimes we visited the Tata Zoological Park as well. The zoo, surrounded by an artificial lake, the Jayanti Sarover is an apt place to allay your fascination for animals and to bring wildlife close to humans. Varying from different species of apes, birds, butterflies, the major attractions are the mandrills, African lions, white tigers and zebras. No matter what your age is, you will never get bored by the pristine wildlife this zoo has to offer.

Overshadowed by the Dalma Hills, this mesmerizing artificial lake is a renowned recreational spot.

Talking of different forms of serenity, there is another place pivotal to the city- The Dimna Lake. Overshadowed by the Dalma Hills, this mesmerizing artificial lake is a renowned recreational spot. Besides being a scenic beauty, this lake marks its importance by serving as a water reservoir for Tata Steel plant as well as the main drinking water source of the city. Rolling down the memory lane, I remember how frequently we used to come here for picnics in the holidays. Having delectable food amidst the pleasant weather, looking towards the resplendent scenery and watching a flock of migrating birds flying across the sky is one of my favourite memories of childhood. If you are a nature lover, Jamshedpur has it all. Even if you’re not, you may end up falling in love with nature altogether. The Hudco Lake is another scenic beauty that gifts you with utmost peacefulness. Situated in the midst of Telco, this lake hosts an artificial waterfall which attracts the tourists. People come here to curb monotony and witness tranquillity in the lap of nature.

Ever wished to spend a starry night with giant elephants? If yes, then you can heartily welcome this place. A paradise for elephants, pangolins, deers, leopards, and many other wild animals, Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary is a sanctum for the tourists and wildlife enthusiasts away from the light pollution of the city. Guarded by dense forests and the lush green Dalma hills, this massive sanctuary boasts of its vivid wildlife existing in peace and harmony. Be it a venturesome safari or guided night treks which are especially mesmerizing during a full moon or a night camp where you will be embraced by a magical blanket twinkling with a billion stars, Dalma is a paradise for stargazers, where the night sky lights up with the magnificence of the stars. I remember my school trip to this place some seven years back. We were so much enthralled by the flora and fauna of this place. I remember my class teacher calling us lucky to have spotted herd of tuskers on our way back. Those sun rays penetrating through the canopies and sketching a montage of that natural paradise and the majestic elephants crossing the dingy asphalt paths have surely been embedded in my memory forever, to say the least.

Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary is a sanctum for the tourists and wildlife enthusiasts

Enough of greens and blues! Let us change the palate a bit. In 1902, much before the city-planning activities began, Jamsetji Tata wrote to his son to “be sure to lay wide streets planted with shady trees, every other of a quick-growing variety. Be sure that there is plenty of space for lawns and gardens. Reserve large areas for football, hockey and parks. Earmark areas for temples, mosques and churches.” Jamshedpur is a true embodiment of ‘unity in diversity.’ The people here are very open to new ideas and are very ambitious of their dreams. Jamshedpur was equally a magnet for dreamers, entrepreneurs and runaways. This resulted in such a nicely amalgamated and vibrant culture altogether. The buzzing markets of Sakchi and Bistupur are the oldest and most populous with wide avenues, posh shops and a string of cars parked alongside which tells a lot about the city. Ranging from small and simple shops to high end picturesque collonaded stores, there is something for everyone. This mini metro city is continuously taking giant strides in the course of new developments and is progressively improving and evolving into a ‘smart’ city.

Ever imagined all the people, living life in peace? If yes, then you’re not the only dreamer out here. Jamshedpur is a place of religious tolerance and cultural unity. We celebrate ‘Eid’ with as much enthusiasm as we celebrate ‘Durga Puja.’ Festivals like ‘Christmas’, ‘New Year’, ‘Diwali’ and many more are celebrated with the zeal of oneness. While growing up, I have watched my relatives and family friends travelling from work and distant places to make sure they were home in time. Now that I live away from home myself I have to pre-book my transport to guarantee that I can make it home so that it becomes merriment full of laughter and joy. Visiting my friends over festivals used to be a get-together, enjoying a plentiful selection of flavoursome dishes and dancing the night away type of situations. We used to return with a heavy head, I remember.

Food in Jamshedpur is a material manifestation of the elusive emotion called “simple joy”.

Be it the ‘Thekkuas’ of the ‘Chhath Puja’ or the quintessential ‘Shahi Tukdas’ of the ‘Ramadan’, all we care about is our affection for these diverse cuisines. Food is everywhere around Jamshedpur; in every corner of the market, on every street, along the darkened boulevards and of course the numerous restaurants serving a variety of cuisines. Walking down the memory lane, I remember having dreams of starving the entire day so as to try out as much street food as I can. That never happened because of obvious reasons, you know. Food in Jamshedpur is a material manifestation of the elusive emotion called “simple joy.” Every time I pass by a ‘Pani Puri’ stall, I still can’t stop drooling. No outing is ever complete without some exotic ‘samosa chaat’ or ‘chicken rolls’ or the piping hot ‘litti chokhas’. Fakira’s chanachur, Bhatia’s milk shakes, Bauwaji’s chai, Tambi’s dosas, Hari’s golgappas, Lakhi’s egg rolls, Ramesh’s kulfi and Kewat’s litti have been serving generations of locals since time immemorial. If I could burst at my seam with my belly full of stories and savouries just to realize in the end that I need a belly of steel, only then can I relish Jamshedpur completely.

A city instills in you a part of it, I believe. No matter how bustling a city you live in, it can never be your true hometown. Jamshedpur has its roots in me. You’ll always find me dwelling in my own sphere of calmness, being very straightforward and staying aloof from the bitter state of mind which by the way must be peacefully resting deep inside me. I might sound a bit over biased towards my hometown but the question is “why shouldn’t we?”. And whether or not you are aware of it, a home is a home because it blurs the line between the self and the responsibilities, and challenges the line we try to draw between who we are and where we are.

Mugdha Sahu

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