Whenever I have debarked at the Jamalpur station from Howrah,I have felt like brushing out the cobweb of memories,somehow playing the tune of “The Swami”(If I guessed right!!) in my mind so a kaleidoscope of images hit my senses and pineal subconsciousness.
Once you are out of the station ,one sees some of the biggest rickshaws (with some seats slipping out) ,an erstwhile product of the the Raj (beckoning at you with those quaint rubber horns) jostling for space with the trekkers going to Monghyr, Buses going to Kiul and other places in a 30 kilometer vicinity and yes probably that one bus (Kumar Bhai).
A rickshaw will charge roughly 10-15 rupees to most of the places but still bargain.It is worth it as in other places across the orient and beyond!!Moving forward you will find the oldest tailoring shop in Jamalpur(Dressco) run by a centurion an easy six footer ,with dark eyes and a mehndi beard extending up to his chest….!!
When I was in school when I did not know about hair dye I thought he got the beard colored by chewing on a lot of betel and it was practically dried betel juice!!No offence but that was me then…
Move forward and you hit the tea shops in a row .If you went inside you could hear snitches of what went on in the darker sides of Jamalpur but they made an excellent glass of lemon tea…!!
The biggest landmark this side of Jamalpur is the Jubilee Well, …Yes!! There is a pucca well in the middle of the road and it is a fork from where the left one went to Monghyr and the other went to the Railway Colony of the sahibs!
Once on the railway bridge you get an idea of the expanse of Jamalpur!!The white building you see at 11 O Clock with a NtD on top is Notre Dame Academy.But that is another epic story I guess!!
If you went to Jamalpur ,you had be pleasantly surprised to see all the roads named after the British Royalty .So now once you are coming down on the other side of the railway bridge(Badi Pool) on the left you will see once of those structures resembling world war II hangars .It is the cinema hall called the National Institute catering to the natives who came for the movies ,some cards,a small library but most of the times just to loiter,chat and stretch after a day;s toil at the Railway workshop.
O ….I do have stories for this place as well…just wait …but that is another generation ,once that came to Jamalpur in the 50s and 60s for season change,love ,a job and not necessarily in that order.
So now you see the Albert Road on the left after the National Institute ,you have the austere Notre Dame School building rising out and then the post office in front and the I.W(Inspector of Works) office in the right.
So now let me take the second longest road in Jamalpur.The ALBERT Road
As you pass the school on the right and the Jamalpur Municipalilty office on the left,what you will love is the defunct steam roller on which some generations of Notre Dame guys have played. Another relic from the Raj days may be….at least I like to romanticize that way.Move forward to find the East Colony Bank.Even though it is now shifted to the first floor the tea shop beside it of Jadav ji is a place you cannot miss. Dark,dingy,old world….that’s it!!His son Raju now has grey stubbles so what.Behind them is an entrance to th Notre Dame schoold dispensary and post that you have a saloon, Priya Studio,a liquor shop(may be it is no longer there) , an old ration shop with stairs winding up to no where and a big banyan tree.
Take a right and you will be on the workshop road but i will stick to my road.The next stop is Hira Mode.There used to be a hira’s hotel which used to supply the brown sahibs with jalebis anmd sweet meats.The last i saw it smelt of dank sweat,burnt wood,two mangy dogs ,a dry tube well and an old man sleeping ….Just beside it you have the star hotel of Jamalpur the erstwhile Madras Coffee House .They used to sell only idli dosas but now they have some accommodation rooms as well .
More to continues…