A city transformed……
A poorly lit ambience with worst possible roads, weird looking buildings termed as houses and an everlasting dust cloud accompanied with the cacophony sponsored by rubber bellow horns used by impatient rickshaws… yes, this is exactly how my hometown looked 30 years back…
The earliest appearance of mine outside my home (a rented square box made of concrete, veiled under limestone slurry with utmost effort to hide the wounds depicted by loose clusters underneath) as I can recall, projected a gloomy attired place with spirited people fueled by unknown sources. Back at those times, it was naturally impossible for a beginner to guess the intensity of backwardness that my place was actually practising.
I still remember the most common evening outing destination was occasional visit to the homoeopathic medicine shop with a fancy name, ‘Hahnemann homeo pharmacy’ named after a German physician and father of homeopathy Christopher Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, ran by an grey haired old fellow (a.k.a homeopathic doctor) whose name I never knew and used to believe he is Mr Hahnemann himself.
As a child, I was very prone to cough n cold and some allergic reactions, and thus I was listed amongst one of the frequent visitors to that medicine shop at the front end of the lane we lived. En route to Hahnemann homeo pharmacy, I used to observe each n every minute detail on the path; right from the muddy water of the drain carrying guild of water hyacinth, the newly constructed bamboo fencing standing next to the old discarded one, the metallic crescent mounted on the dread of meditating Shiva statue to the new collection of candies in Gopalda’s store, the heap of hair with multiple hues of black beside ‘Bholanath hair cutting saloon’, and the bowl of light green glue in the bookbinding store.
Mr Hahnemann (according to my belief) was a nice fellow, always offering sweet candies to his tiny patients. Another thing that used to draw my attention was an old fellow selling pakodas and boiled eggs, Bengal grams with some customized spices. The size of his mobile store made of glass in the wooden frame was no way bigger than a medium sized carton. I was very much fond of the appearance of his toy like a store rather than the items he used to sell.
One evening I was taken to Hahnemann homeo pharmacy, due to some allergic problem of mine. After coming out of the pharmacy I was browsing the sight of that old pakodawala, but he was nowhere within the perimeter of my juvenile eyesight. I looked up to maa for help, but soon I realized she too was unable to find that fellow. Looking at my disappointed face she asked the nearby shop about that pakodawala, even that shop-owner too was unable to provide any clue. Someone from the small crowd near the shop said that “Gobindo died three days back at Silchar medical college. The old pakoda seller, Govindo used to live alone in a temple shelter…..his the only son abandoned him long time back “……I don’t remember what I understood back then, but I still can recall a 6 year old version of mine cried profusely, leaving my mother embarrassed and rest of the people present surprised.
Now when I see the same place, it’s entirely a different story altogether, the roads are no longer lacking illumination. In fact are in illumination surplus with multi-coloured LEDs and all. Roadside snack sellers are having very well crafted stalls with attractive lights, far better cutlery and prolific menu cards with various national n international items …no sign of old pakodawalas and their tattered wood framed small glass stalls…….absolutely nowhere. Mr Hahnemann (from my primary knowledge) died a long time back. His son took his place over and is now practising in a renovated chamber with stern professionalism ….no more sweet candy offerings….not any more…