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Sengel burus story

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A FLAME FOR DAWN Sengel Burus story ( Sengel Burus story we are attempting to recollect, this is not for circulation or duplication as it is only an incomplete attempt. Every thing mentioned here is what are got from people who were close to him, and later who shared his thoughts and reactions with us. Besides the most wonderful times of our lives we spent and grew up with him 1744 day!1. After writing this much we felt it reads like fiction and have stopped recording..we would like to hear from you and then may be we will try to restart again. Writing it gave us a pain we have never experienced before, but if it helps any one to get closer to a child who was growing up as a different generation child, and if it will help us adults to understand our children and the children of tomorrows world better, then we will be strengthened. Sengel was just like any other child, but who was fortunate and privileged to have a varied experience, he responded to this experience and inculcated it in his life). On 1st May I returned to Jharkhand from my grand parents home in Mallapally Kerala after a spending four month with them. My Rani Didi was with me all that time. Amma had a lot of work to do with the womens survey work she was doing in Jadugura and she had to go to Philippines too, so Daddy and Amma thought I From January to April end 97 I spent with Papa and Ammachi and Rani Didi and Rini Ammai, in Mallapally Kerala, it was then that my cousin was born. I did not see her being born but I could hear every one phoning and phoning and Sarosh Appapan was running to see Rini Ammai. I was very excited . then I heard that I had a sister! That day we all went to see her in a hospital. She was so small and I returned and that night I spoke to Daddy and Amma over the phone and told them The baby is come she was born but she was born by operation. When she came home I was worried if my Ammachi will sleep with her or me! Every one was talking about giving her a name. But I decided to call her Sonali. My friend Gaurav(Ajoy Mitras son) has a sister and she is called Sonali, therefore my sister should also be called Sonali. Daddy came too Cochin for a meeting in April, it was many nights and days I had not seen him. We spoke on the phone but I wanted to see him. I was waiting with expectations. He phoned the first evening, but I did not want to just hear his voice, I wanted to see him and touch him. He said he could not come that day, I was so disappointed. I then told Papa Get Daddys telephone numbery, actually I did not want to talk about it, but he asked me so I had to say something. But I showed him my books. I and only I wanted to talk to him, but he was better go to Ammachi and Papa. They had told me that I have parents and I have parents and I have grand parents and I should learn from both of them, I enjoyed my time with my grand parents but I also feel sad to stay far from Amma and Daddy. talking to Papa and to Ammachi and to Rani Didi, no I and only I want to talk to him. But may be I can do this later when we sleep together. There is something I want to tell him when I am alone with him. I got this opportunity when Ammachi went to the kitchen and Papa went to bathe, I climed on his lap and he held me so tight. I liked to be held by Daddy, when he does not shave then I do not like it. But I like better when Amma hugs me! O! I can spend my whole time being hugged by Amma! But then some times I must get up to eat and some times to piss! O! how lovely it is to be in Ammas arms! But now I have Daddy and I fell on his chest, Daddy does not have doodoos, he has some hair there and I like pulling them, but when I do that he pushes my hand away. But now I did not pull his chest hair. I just liked my ear to be warm on his chest. He told me that Amma missed him and they both missed him a lot. I only listened. We were both alone in the room, and I told him I did not like it that none of you two could come to see me all these months. Amma said before going to Philippines that on her return from there she would come here from Delhi, but she did not come. Daddy I did not like this. I think he realised that I was pained because when he met Amma in Noamundi he

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said that he felt my tear falling silently on his bare chest. This was good about Amma and Daddy, they realised when I was hurt and we discussed it. Then Daddy said to me that he was sorry, and this would not happen again. The next day he asked me if I wanted to return to Noamundi with him or if I wanted to stay on for another month with Papa and Ammachi. No. I want to go to my Amma.(more about to stay in Kerala to be added). Each time I sit in the Bokaro Express, I have mixed feelings, I am happy because it takes me to my grand parents home or brings me back to my home in Noamundi. I can see a lot of trees and people and animals and people selling different things. But it takes so long, so so long. We sit and sleep and sleep and sit, we eat and sleep and sleep and eat. If there are other children near us then the train is good. Any after two nights and days we arrived in Rourkella railway station early morning. I know when we are at Rourkella we are near to Chakradharpur the station we have to get off. But this time the train was not moving ! Then someone came and said that the train will not go. I got so angry. My Amma is waiting there at Chakradharpur and I am sitting here, only if this train moves can I reach my Amma. I asked Daddy again and again when will the train start moving. Then we heard that at one station ahead the people had all started sitting on the railway tracks. They wanted one more train to stop at their station. No one was listening to them so they sat on the tracks and stopped all trains from moving. Good idea but bad for me. Then Daddy took me out of the platform, he went to a telephone booth and was trying to call Amma. We could not get the connection. So we came back. But do you know what he did? He took me to a stall and brought me an ice-cream! I did not ask him for it, but, he just went and bought one. But more important, before buying it he made me sit up on the counter. This I always liked. The adults sometimes think that we do not need to see every thing they see. I like it when I can see what ever the big people see. I could see the ice-cream man and the pictures of different ice-creams and all the people on the platforms. Otherwise I only see the feet of people and the dustbins ! The train started moving, from Rourkella to Chakradharpur you pass the Saranda jungle full of Sal, Kusum, Mahua and

Neem trees. I can tell you all the names of the trees by the shape and size of the leaves or their seeds, I loved watching these trees, but now, I did not think them interesting, I just wanted to see my Amma. We arrived six hours late at Chakradharpur station. We kept looking out for Amma. The train halted. I looked and looked. There was no Amma. This is always the problem when arriving or receiving people. I am always frightened. Will I see her? Will I arrive on time? I get so impatient. I did not even eat my lunch or go to piss as I just wanted to see Amma. We went out of the station, and still no Amma. Then Daddy asked me to wait near the gate as he was going to phone and see what has happened. I wanted to go with Daddy. But he shouted at me and asked to stay with Rani Didi. I do not like this in Daddy. Because he is big he decides. I want to go with him. Why should I stay here? And he is going to talk to my Amma, so I too can talk to her. Now I will have to wait. I was angry, but I could not say any thing. Daddy came back, he could not get the phone connection. Why is my Amma is not there to receive us? Then again he said that he would go and get a taxi and he went outside again. But this time he came running , he shouted Sengel come soon , the jeep is coming. I ran to the road outside and I saw the jeep, yes but I could not see Amma as yet. The jeep came and it took so much time to park. I could see Subran mama driving, he waved to me. Then I saw Amma waving. I ran to her. She ran to me. O! I cannot explain it, my Amma, yes my Amma, even a hundred ice creams cannot be as good as her. She took me and carried me. We did not talk, I just clung to her, I wanted to go inside her! I kept talking and talking I had to tell Subran mama so many things. He said that my Malayalam had improved. From the jeep I saw so many people coming in a procession with red flags and bow and arrows. They were shouting zindabad zindabad just like in Malapally. I remember this so well when I was a baby and Ammaniamma would carry me to the road and there was an office there where so many, yes so many people mostly men and some women would carry sticks and red cloth, and shout zindabad zindabad I too would come home and take a stick and shout zindabad zindabad. Then Amma told Daddy some thing about a meeting in J.O.H. A. R. office, that this day was some thing. I did not understand what it was I only knew that there was a meeting that day in J.O.H. A. R. office and other thing I knew was

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my Daddys and Ammas birthday was in a few days time and we would blow candles and in our suitcase there was a cake, and only Daddy and I knew that in the suitcase there was a present I made for my Ammas birthday! When we arrived at J.O.H. A. R. office, I was surprised. It was not the same office. Now it was a big place and there was all sand and bricks around. Uncle Stan, and all my Chachas were there. Chokro Baba too was there I could see him smiling at me and he said Sengel Cheeys. Wouldnt it be so nice if Chango and Buku and Radhi too were with him ? I like to see my Chokro Baba bit I like better to see Chango, Buku and Radhi. Then every one drank tea and we all sat on chairs and then Uncle Stan was speaking to every one and there was some discussions and they were always using the work mazdoor (worker). I just kept looking at my Amma and Daddy, something makes me so happy when I see them, and now I am seeing them together after so long. It was very hot and I wanted to take off all my cloths. But I should wait soon I will be reaching home. After a few days was Daddy's birthday but we did not celebrate it because only after two more days is Amma's birthday. Then I gave Amma the painting I did for her. Aunty Alison and Uncle David from England had given me a lovely Lego toy and from the picture that came with it I could see that I could make many things, a helicopter, a house, a toy to Kerala and there I was fed up making all the things that were on the picture, so one day I made something else, it was the time Daddy was visiting and I showed it to him and he admired it, he said it was an art work and if I could now do a painting of it on my book. I had a big box of crayons and different colour and kinds of pens that my friend/sister Johannes send me on my third birthday. I made a painting of this art work and I told Daddy that I will take this for Amma. Daddy and Amma birthday was near so I could give it to her birthday. Amma was so proud of me when I showed her the present I gave her. She hugged me and hugged me. That day for Ammas and Daddys birthday we had a special meal. Daddy made biryani with raisins and nuts and he cooked a chicken. All our friends came and I enjoyed the food. In the evening we brought out the cake and put candles

and Daddy and Amma and I blew candles. Indri Didi and Pinkie Didi came and we had a small party. Amma said that this is the first time she is celebrating her birthday. In Malapally it was Papas birthday and I insisted he buys a cake and blows candles and Papa was so shy but I want every one to celebrate the birthdays because I love to see candles blown and of course I also love to eat cake! (more to be added later). This summer (May end June beginning 97) I was so happy , my friends/brothers Chango and Buku came from Pancho to spend their Holidays with me. Together with our other friends of Duccasai we Played and played all the days. I always like it when children would sleep in our house and now Chango and Buku were also sleeping with us! We would go in to the forest with our sling shots and Nauro and Makno who were good shooters would shoot birds and bats, we would then light a fire in the forest and roast them and eat them. Naour and Makno are elder and they always saw to it that the younger children were well protected and got an equal share of the hunt or the fruits and berries that they would gather. I even brought back some for Rani Didi. I could not use the slingshot but I could clean the birds and bards and bats and learnt what we could eat and what we could not eat .. I liked this kind of food better than what I get in my house. I have some toys which the other children did not have and we used to make different things with the toys . Buku loved to ride my cycle even though he was too big for it . For the noon meal we would take our plates into the garden and eat together. Because of the summer heat we all enjoyed eating just sour rice and the cooked leaves of the drumstick tree, and salt, of course salt, I love salt, and I eat more when my friends are also eating with me. Amma would read stories to us in the evening , Buku did not like to listen , he wanted to do things with the toys, but Chango liked to listen to stories. One evening we three were sitting outside the house and eating our meal. Tippo started barking and barking , then I saw Amma and Daddy running out to the gate, Gura Chacha our neighbor was making some noise, the elephant had come, it came from the forest and quietly went along the D.V.C. boundary wall near Rani Didis house and went straight to Gura Chachas house. Every one came out and with lighted torches and the noise of drums and tins started frightening the elephant away .Then suddenly we saw Daddy and Amma running

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back towards our house, the elephant was now approaching our house, where else can it go? Daddy started shouting and asking us three to enter the house !Buku started yelling we are going to die we are going to die and ran into the house . He had not seen wild elephants entering Pancho, so he was afraid, besides when he was coming to our house for his holidays every one in Pancho was teasing him, that there are elephants in Noamundi. We all started beating the tins and lighting torches. The elephant came to our gate and turned and went away, may be he heard us children shouting and decided not to come near us. I feel so sad for Gura Chacha, the elephant always breaks their house and his small son Bumba sometimes does not have a house. The previous week the elephant came in the evening and Amma and Sarda Chacha alone drove it away, Amma beat the tin so hard that it got smashed! I came later from Barbil with Daddy and then we saw the whole of Duccasai with lit torches and drums and tins. After three weeks Chango and Buku had to leave and I decided to go with them to Pancho. I had always traveled with Amma or daddy or Rani Didi but this time I was going to go alone, I am bigger now and I am only going to Chokro Baba and Somwari Chachis. I spent one week in Pancho, we would go to the village pond to bathe and Buku took so much care of me. There are so many many children in Pancho, I know all their names, we would all be together. In Pancho I liked to eat a lot of rice, and Somwari Chachi would always cook the food. Some times we all ate from one plate. I would go around almost naked in the village because of the heat. The people of Pancho drink a lot of diang (rice beer). We spent that day in J.O.H.A.R. office, I ran up the stares, I went up to see if the iron horse I had left on the table was still there . Daddy had given me a iron hores ,and asked me to take it to Noamundi but I decided to keep it here so that I could play with it when ever I come to Chaibasa .When I opened the door of the room that we sleep in , I saw that some one else was using the room , then I went to the kitchen and there I met Aunty Rose . She smiled and greeted me . A first I wondered who she was ,but then she spoks to me in Malayalam and gave me a nice breakfast she sat me on her lap and fed me and gave me mangoes ,I like her . But I must ask Amma who she is . Once again I am returning to Noamundi to my Amma ! We went back to Duccasai and

Every morning they drink and then every one leaves for Chaibasa where they work and they return in the evening and drink again. So in the day there are more children than big people. When Chokro Baba would come back from J.O.H.A.R. office we would take his cycle and Buku would take me on it. We would keep falling and enjoying ourselves. Some evenings Daddy would come as he was staying for those days in J.O.H.A.R. office. He would bring things for us to eat and I would run and take them with both my hand and all of us would eat them together. I used to tell every one that I must go back to Noamundi as I have work in my vegetable garden. Before I left Pancho, Somwari Chachi gave me a packet of seeds for my vegetable garden, there were so many seeds of different vegetables, string beams, ladyfinger, spinach, brinjal, I must now work on my garden in Duccasai .Dakua Chacha said we will not grow Maize this year because the elephants will come again in to our garden and eat them , like they did the previous years , so I told every one that we will not grow Maize . But than what can we grow that will not attract the elephants ? The problem of the elephants coming was becoming big .Houses were broken , all our friends were having their rice crop eaten and fields destroyed . Some people were also being killed when the elephants get angry or break their house . we could not even bring a jackfruit in to our house ,as its smell attracted the elephants from a great distance . On my last night in Pancho Daddy came and slept with us and the next morning we returned , I loved to be in Pancho but I also loved to be with Amma and Daddy . We left early morning as we were going to have our breakfast in Chaibasa . Amma was there to greet me , I was so happy to see Amma and I demanded that she and she only feeds me. When Amma is not there I eat by my self but when she is there I want her to feed me . Each time Amma leaves me I feel pained ,but she has her work and she leaves me a come back ,when ever I come back to I to her I long to just touch her, smell her ,I can never control my hands and mind when they go towards her doodoos (breast ) .Rani Didi too was there ,and she was looking at me ,she did not say any thing but I looked at her and I knew what was in her mind . yes I am a big boy now ,I stayed in Pancho for one week without you and I did not cry ! The rains had started ,I was

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waiting for them .We could start our gardening as the earth would get soft , other wise in summer it is dry and hard and full of stones . I also loved to sit on the pindigi (mudplatform) in out verandah and watch the rain run . The smell was different ,I liked to run in to the rain and feel it on my head , face the sky and feel rain falling in my eyes , rain is such a good things. But the first rains are good for another reason . Just near the door of our kitchen and around our house we have small anthills and in it live some tiny creatures we do not see them the whole year , their house sometimes overnight becomes big and bigger but you do not see them creatures .Then when the first rains come you suddenly see them flying out . My friends told me that the whole year they do not have wings ,but when it rains their wings suddenly come and they too want to fly around so they come out of their holes. We call them burdooth (rain flies) I got up early and started collecting the burdooth . They are normally collected by children who hold a vessel in one hand and you catch each burdooth and put them in the vessel . By tacha Maajhi ( Gaga) ,Rani Didi Amma and all people coming to our house eat them . We roast them in a pan with raw rise and it taste like condensed milk .Children are told not to over eat as you can get a tummy up set . But they are very good for health . In the evening I was alone with Amma and I asked her who Aunty Rose was and how come she knew Malayalam ? There was a question in my mind so asked Amma If Aunty Rose slept in the room Daddy sleeps ?in J.O.H.A.R. office ,then where did Daddy sleep ? Amma said that Daddy slept with me in Pancho . Yes I knew that , but I was still confused, I only later realised that Aunty Rose was a visitor and had been in J.O.H.A.R. office only for that one night. I wanted to know more about all this, because Rani Didi and Maajhi always tease me that Daddy would bring another wife. A few weeks before this, Daddy went with Sarda Chacha to jaganathpur to see another Aunty . After they left I asked Amma where has Daddy gone? she replied that Daddy has gone to talk to one Aunty. Then I asked her why has Daddy have to go to speak to another women, when you are here? Cant he speak with you? Amma had said that Daddy had gone to see that Aunty as he had work with her .Yes I now understand this a little . But why do they always tease me about Daddy bringing another wife ?I just do not like this teasing as well as this confusion in my mind. I can understand that Chango and Buku

and Rani are also Daddys children,but chokro baba is their father.chokro baba is their father. Chokro is also my Baba and when I go to pancho I sleep with him. I am a bit confused. Amma and Daddy , would discuss with me about my schooling. This was a big topic . I tell you why I do not like it . Every where I go or when every I meet strange or new people the first question they ask an studying in When they ask me Which school do you go to ? or Which class I am studying in When they ask me so I love to bluff them . I tell them, yes , I go to some school and I am in class three and I also have examinations like my cousins Manna and Winnie in Kerala. So Amma and Daddy would ask me which school I would like to go to. But then they would talk among themselves or with visitors as if they will decide which school I will go to. I do not know what school is like, I only remember that then I was small I went to Maluka with Daddy and Amma and when they were at the meeting I used to go for walks with Rani Didi. Every one would say Maluka school . But I just remembered that there were so many children and they were watering the vegetable gardens and doing after a vegetable garden !This was school for me. So after that I would tell people I want to go to Maluka school ! Amma and Daddy would have a lot of arguments about my schooling ,and they would get angry with one another. When ever they discuss something they get angry with one another . I wonder if they know that I do not like the way they get angry with one another . In the mean while asked me if I would like go to the Amm Bagan school (Mango grove , the village school . I Immediately said yes . I had two reasons for this . I loved mangoes and my best friend and brother Ganesh from Duccasai goes to that school .But then they were discussing about another school and it was in Barbil . I would have to go in a bus and go in the morning and return in the evening . One day when I went to Barbil to the shop that sells all TVs and Fridges . I heard one Uncle telling Daddy that the children in the Barbil school have to study so hard and they have to carry so many books in big big bags that he knows one child whose back is bent ! No I told Amma and Daddy that I do not want to have a bent back . This talk of my school was really growing bigger and bigger , now I could hear Amma talking to Ammachi over the phone about it .

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When we were going to Kerala in January with Daddy and Rani Didi in the train there was another child as big as me traveling with us . That child did know English or Hindi or Ho. She knew only Malayalam . But her father would ask her in English What is your Fathers name ? And the would reply in a nice tune . My fathers name is Mathews I like the tune . My be that is what they teach in school ? To sing ? Yes I love singing ? It was for this reason and only this reason that I went to the nursery in Malapally . And I did learn some songs . I learnt one song Janaganamanna (the Indian National Anthem ) I can sing it even now . But then I got fed up with that school when we were not learning any more songs .or any more new things . When I am with my friends or in my garden or with Dakua chacha I am always learning new and new and new things . Nothing was decided about this school business . Amma said that when we go to Delhi we will discuss it with Anila Chiti and Sarosh Appapin . That is the good idea they will understand what I want .Amma even said that they my start a school in Kerala and I could go to that school .If I have to go to a school then I better choose a school that they are having because Sarosh Appapin understands me very well . However Amma and Daddy said that till I go to a school I should go to our neighbour Gita Didi and she teach me to write Hindi . I now started going to Gita Didis house to study Hindi . I loved carrying my bag , I had chosen this bag in Mallapally when Papa took me to by it . For the few days I went to a nursery in Mallapally I took my books and the tiffin box that Ammachi would fill for me in this bag . On my way to Gita Didi s house I would think of my Papa and Ammachi a lot .How were they now that I am here in Noamundi ? They love me so much . and they will miss me , but I too miss them so much , and I wish that they too can come and live with us in Duccasai . I do not know if they know that every day I think about them . I each day wanted to walk to Gita Didis house by a different route .Her house was very close by but still there were three or four different routes to her house . Daddy had told me not go to near the deep pit (an abandoned iron ore mine ) on the way , besides I had to take care of snakes , scorpions and the mad dog of course . A mad dog had visited Duccasai and one night it bit Maajhi , it bit her badly and there

was a lot of blood and then it bit Matoo , it would come into our garden to bite our Tippu and we were all afraid of it . Maajhi was not eating properly for days and refused to go and take the injection ,she went to one medicine man and he applied some herb for her Because of the mad dog , Dakua Chacha or Rani Didi would reach me to Gita Didi house ,and I would carry a stick too. But Rani Didi and Dakua Chacha would always fight among themselves ,as both wanted to pick ,me back from school .You know why ? On our why back they would quietly go to Pittus house have diang! I never told this to Amma , because I too would get a share ! Actually I did not like diang so much , but I loved to sit with people and enjoy all the things they say and do . Maajhis wound healed with the herbs and she started eating properly. Talking about herbs I am very interested in herbs . One day Amma and Daddy and my self all went to Chibasa , they both had some work in Jadugora for two days I went to Pancho ,for those two days .When we all had to Pancho , for Noamundi , Uncle Tom of J. O.H.A.R. gave Amma two kinds of plants . They were medicines herbs , one of the plants is some medicine for Rani Didi as her one leg was swelling for some months now . the other plant I did not know till I reached Duccasai . I got up early and was sitting outside waiting for Dakua Chacha to come . as soon as he came I showed him the plants , I know this plant he said Do you know what this is called ? he asked me ,this is Sengel raed O! now there is another plant with means forest , and now it is a medicine too ! we planted the plant s and with the remaining Rani Didi made the medicines for herself . Dakua Chacha started discussing about the garden . I loved to think about what we should plant and where to plant them . Dakua Chacha said we will plant vegetable seeds I brought from Pancho in the plot between the garage and the kitchen and that was going to be my responsibility to care for . He also said that in the bigger plot near the entrance we will plant haldi , we still had some crop of haldi of the pervious year planted below the cashew tree , but we decided to plant more as the elephants would not came for haldi . we both dug the ground and Dakua Chacha made long rows , he also brought the haldi shoots and he taught me how to plant the shoots ,I learnt it very fast Every day I would get up and go and see if they have grown or not . But haldi takes some time top come up not like the papaya seeds we planted , in a week I saw the tiny

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sprouts coming out of ground . I planted the papaya plants in four different places . I always like the way Dukua Chacha taught me things , it was so easy to learn from him , And I was learning a lot. We spoke in Ho and we had our own secrets and shared our own moment s of happiness. One day I suddenly saw a plant coming up , near the wash place, and I did not know what it was,Dukua chacha told me it was a surprise for me. I was very curious to know what it was. It was growing very fast. Then I heard Daddy talking to Dakua Chacha . Daddy was angry that that plant was there. Then I knew it was maze. Dakua Chacha had planted just one maze seed, just for me. He wanted me to eat it, he said it is very tasty if we roast it over the fire. I was waiting for it to grow to try this out, But Daddy said that because of the skill of the maize the elephant would come. Those naughty elephants I cannot enjoy growing what I want because of them. I would go to learn Hindi and then come back running. Change my cloths and start working with Dakua Chacha in the garden till we both were hungry and would eat our meal together in the garage with Sarda Chacha and Satish Chacha ahd Subran Mamma and sometimes Rani didi would also join us. I would be full of sweat and my clothes dirty. One day I sat on the pindgi next to Daddy after working in the garden ,and he said you are smelling like a farmer. But I would always wash my hands before eating just like a farmer. During those days the Garage roof was being repaired. Two Chachas and the mother of Makno would work taking off the tiles. One morning they yelled, a small snake came out of one of the pipes that were used to hold the roof. Dakua Chacha said it was a poisonous snake. I have to be careful . so many snakes are there in our garden , sometimes they go an stay in the toilet . it is good I do not always use the toilet . I prefer to do my job in the bushes outside .But when it rains I am forced to use the toilet . Any way now I am big enough and I can look around for snakes as I can recognise them . I also learnt about the habit of one kind of snake . It looked very fat and lazy , it would just stay in one place . my friends told me that , this snake is not poisonous but it has a bad habit . In the night it goes to a nursing mother and it drinks the milk from the mothers breast,and if the baby cries for milk it puts its tail in the babys mouth and baby stops crying. Sometimes the baby then dies as it does not get milk. Yes, the tail of this snake

looks like the nipples. May be this story is true, because so many babies die. Below our bedroom window , a big black snake lives, Dakua Chacha says it came to live here when I was a baby . He says it is called Pandu Nag(King Cobra) One day it was in the toilet and could not come out, one day it came into the Kitchen and Maajhi ran out and refused to enter the kitchen. At that time I was in Mallapally, but I heard these stories. I remember when Daddy came in April to bring me from Mallapally a snake was there too in the house and it was under the cupboard and when Keshawanappachen went to kill it, it jumped on Pappa. I am afraid of snakes. One day the sad news came that my friend Jamdar died. He was Dakua Chachas youngest son and only two years old. He was sick a couple of times and Amma had told me that in March when I was in Mallapally he was very sick and a doctor in the Nuamundi market had given wrong medicines and charged them a lot of money. When Amma heard this she went and fought with the doctor and even complained to the police. jamdar could not talk to me, but I liked him, he would come with his mother each market day to our house and sometimes I went to their house . I felt very very sad, Dakua Chacha was very sad . We took a big pot of diang to their house and every one was crying after some days Dakua Chacha came back to work and his head was shaven. I could not look straight at him. Jamdar was like a brother to me, a brother who did not live in my house but we were so close. I remember before I went to Mallapally in winter, Langdi died she was also my friend, her one leg was weak (polio) and when each evening Maajhi would take me to their house I would play with her .Even though she was lame she would be very active and run around and shout. Rani Didi took me to see her and I thought she was sleeping. I asked Rani Didi on my way back What does it mean that she died. How do you feel when you die?Rani Didi said she does not know, because she has not died as yet. Then I told her O.K. I will die and then tell you how I feel. I remember my Pune Nana. We went each year to see her . She is the mother of Daddy. I remember her very much because I have a photo of me eating with her and I also fed her with my spoon! One day Amma and Daddy and every one were very sad ,they told me that she had died. They lit candles and put her photo and every one was sitting around the photo. But I liked candles because when you

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blow the candles everyone sings Happy Birthday. I remember taking one photo of Pune Nana and putting it near the flame and it caught fire! Daddy came and put the fire off ,that half burnt photo of Pune Nana was for a long time on my cupboard. Every night before going to sleep Amma and Daddy would make me say good noght to all my family and friends by their names. One night it was very hot and Daddy was carrying me and walking me to sleep in the garden under the stars and the moon. He asked me to say good night to Pune Nana But then I said how can I say. Pune Nana has become a tree I told Daddy, he probably forgot that ! The rains were very heavy, sometimes Amma would go to Jadugora or Hazaribagh or Chaibasa, or Delhi for somedays and some times Daddy would go , But when we three would be together we would sit and talk each evening till I would go to sleep. After dinner and some play we three would go to bed and Daddy would play with me, he would sleep over me and press me he called it chapta chapta I would start crying and call Amma to rescue me and Amma would try to push Daddy . Then I would stop talking to Daddy. Actually I enjoyed it and would like Daddy to do this more often. One day in the afternoon we played like this for a long time and when Amma came to rescue me Daddy pulled Amma too out of the bed and she was flat on the ground. We all enjoyed it. When ever I would get the opportunity I like to sleep in between them and would hug Amma with one hand and Daddy with the other and then I would take both their hands and make them hold hands and like this I would sleep. I know that they would be near me only till I fall off to sleep! During this time, the electric wiring of our house had to be changed. Daddy had told me that some uncles would come and that I was to help them in their work. Every morning I would get up and wait for them but they would not come. This is always the case here people say they are coming and we have to wait for days till they come. But one morning they came.They had wires of three different colors. I could not understand what they were doing but I tried to learn . I learnt that I should not go near the wire. I learnt that only when we have the wire connected we get electricity. But there was one Uncle his name is Bablu Uncle and he would sit and talk to me . He would let me sit close to him and look at him doing his work .I like him .I also think he liked me because he would talk to me

very nicely and always paid attention to what I said . Our mother cat Pussy had one day littered and now we had two small baby kittens in the house. One was black and one was white . I was so happy to see them suddenly . In fact I wanted to see how they are being born , but I could not because the Pussy was locked in the Chicken coupe when she had her babies , as we did not want them in the house .After some days pussy brought them in the house, Rani Didi said they do this because the father cat will come and eat the babies! So we allowed Pussy to bring her babies in our house and they were there till they grew up . But then Amma started shouting that they were all around and we cannot have so many cats in the house . She was asking everyone if they wanted kittens . No one was ready to play with them. I did not want them to go , I liked to play with them . But then one day Deven Chacha said there were rats in J.O.H.A.R. office so we took one to Chaibasa and one day the electrician Bablu took one . I was happy that they were going to nice people. I would always see one in the J.O.H.A.R. office. One day Daddy told me that one new Aunty will be coming to our house . Her name is Geneva Aunty . She lives very far away and she was coming to see me !I asked Amma if she had seen me before then Amma said that Aunty Geneva had seen me when I was in Ammas stomach . At that time A does not matter , she is coming to see me !During my stay with my grand parents in Kerala , I used to watch the TV , and I learnt some thing about netas (leaders /politicians ) I saw Gujral becoming the Prime Minister . He become one in the Rastrapati Bhawan It is the house where the President lives . I could recognise the President on TV and I could imitate his walk like . I could imitate the walk of Charlie Chaplain , and I showed that to Daddy when he came to pick me up . Rastrapati Bhawan Was such a big big house .When I returned to Noamundi one day when I came home from Gita Didis house , Dady told me to see a TV programme Shanker Dayal Sharma was going out and a new president was being brought . I saw the big house agein and this time I saw horses I saw them bringing K.R.Narayan in a horses carriage. I kept wondering why then asked Daddy why does he need such a big house ? why does he need horses ? Gujral is bigger and he did not get horses when he became Prime Minister . I told Daddy that I

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want to go to Delhi and I want to see Rastrapati Bhawan and now I also want to see the Lok Sabha because I think it is there that Mangal Chacha and Dr.Munda even our Lalooji sit. I decided to go to Delhi . Amma wanted to go to Kerala too, to see Sonali and Ajoyachachen , her brother who had come from Oman , and she and Daddy were discussing plans . Then they decided that Daddy would go to Dilhi on his own and I and Amma would go to Kerala spend a week there and then we both would go to Delhi . Our tickets were booked and we would leave on the 11th of August for Kerala by the Bokaro Express I was so excited . I was going to see my Papa and Ammachi and Keshawanappachan and Rini Ammachi and my sister Sonali . I started collecting things to take . we brought two small frocks for Sonali. I was so excited that I was also going to Delhi too for there I would meet Anila Chiti and Sarosh Appapn , and Illango and Imayan and Kutu and Kingini and Sunita Phuphu . I wanted to tell all of then so many things. In the mean while my garden was growing , the string beans , spinach and Ladyfinger were all eaten by snails and I tried to save them by going in the night s and collecting the snails and pusting salt over them . Some plants survived . the pappas were coming up. I remember when I was planing these vegetables I rushed to Amma and asked her. Why should we plant so much as we can eat, and who is going to eat so much ? I did not realize that we have to point some for the snails too! But Aunty Geneva was coming and she would see my vegetable garden . The garden was looking so green , and the read soil made it look beautiful .All these weeks , Daddy would spend many days out and Amma would be busy the whole day with Sarda Chacha doing the survey work, there were a lot of papers and big big papers. Amma would do some things on paper and then Sarda Chacha would do some things with the bigger . they used different colour pens . I know something about the Jadugora womens survey and I saw the houses smashed by the police in Chatijkocha and those big machines . I could not trouble Amma when she was working , so I would take my books and toys and play with them . Amma was going to Delhi to put this work in to a computer this much I knew . We waited that day for Aunty Geneva . I helped to clean Chokro Babas room for her . I decided where the door mats would be placed and together with every one in the house we cleaned the garden and the whole house . I

cleaned the drains and the garden outside , it was all looking very clean and neat . Maajhi had applied guri (cowdung ) on the courtyard . I enjoyed cleaning and doing work . When I do not have work I do not feel good . Now we all did a lot of work I was so happy that we all could work together . We Call that room Chokro Babas room .but now chokro baba lives in Pancho, and comes here only the Festivals. I had told Amma and Daddy that this will now be my room, and after Aunty Geneva returns then every one must call it Sengels room. Rani Didi then started teasing me and asking me if I would sleep alone in the Room Ofcourse not. I Will Sleep with Amma and Daddy till I liked it. But I will keep all my books and toys in this room and it will be called Sengels room The jeep came and there was a women who looked some thing like Aunty Alison and I do not think I saw her before. I stood there and looked and looked at her. She called me by my name, and asked who is Sengel I went up ti her she came and talked to me. We become friends after a short while. At first I did not know if I should make friends with her. Rani Didi and Maajhi told me that Daddy has gone it bring another wife.I was angry with them for saying such things. But I decided that I will ask Daddy himself if it is true. But Rani Didi and Maajhi are not going to tease me like this. When they repeated it as we were cleaning the house I told them It does not matter if my father is gone to bring another wife, he already has three wives and do not try to foot me, my father is old, it is my mother who should marry then I told them and do you know I too will marry as many times my father marries ! People always try to tease me. What do they think ? Am I going to believe every thing say ? If they are not teasing me then they try to know what my thoughts are about. or how much I can think, do I think like theme big people ? I remember after my fourth birthday last year I was walking with Amma towards the market in Mallapally and we met Aunty Jaya she asked me Which is your real home [Kerala or Jharkhand]? I looked at her and said my mothers stomach is my real home ! I spent a lot of time with Aunty Geneva, I really enjoyed her presence in the house . She taught me two songs Old Mac Donald and This is the way we wash our hands We would do paintings together and what ever I made she liked . We sang a lot . It was still on my mind what they had teased me about . one night Amma was preparing a meal and Daddy was

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alone with me putting me to sleep on the bed . I told him what Rani Didi and Maajhi had said Daddy laughed . he said it was not true and that I should not believe every thing that people say . He said that Amma , Daddy and Sengel . we are a family and will always be so . He said that here the people like to joke about people getting married . He also said that people joke about my marriage even thought I am so small Yes , I could like Aunty Geneva much more. One of those days Mangal Chacha and Shanta Chachi came and we all went to Kiriburu to show Aunty Geneva the jungle and the mines . we went to the highest point on the Bonai mountains and I could touch the sky with my hands ! Amma could not come with us so !must tell Amma about this . we went to a big office and there was a big man sitting on a big table and he was telling Aunty Geneva about the mines . I sow some silver coloured strange looking things on the cupboard. I asked Daddy what ever those things . Daddy said that these were prizes the workers in the mines got for playing football . I asked him again why should you get something for playing ? Daddy said because some people are stupid , they need such stupid things . when Daddy could not answer some of my questions this is how he would answer . I still could not relate playing with getting those shinny things ! The next day we were to take Aunty Geneva to Gua Mines to my Daddys Didis house I called her Phuphu . Amma was not able to come with us but she asked me if I really liked going to Phuphu s house . I told Amma I like Phuphu so much , then will I not like her house ? we went to Gua and I was happy to see my Phuphu and we took photos of all of us . she gave us nice sweets and we returned to Duccasai . One day Aunty Geneva , Rani Didi and my self all went in to the forest . we brought wild flowers home and Aunty Geneva made a garland of them and took a nice picture of me . She took so many photos of me . I was happy she took one with me carrying my school bag , because I wanted my papa to see it . then she gave me her camera and I took some photos , it was the first time that I was using a camera ! Yes , I will wait till I see how the pictures come ! Aunty Geneva told me that Paul the son of one of her friends sent me a Jean pant , which she left in Bangalore . then Amma and Daddy suggested that I too send Paul a present . I had a book about making Indian Toys and Daddy wrote on a paper Dear Paul from Sengle Buru I copied this on the book .O! I it ! I hope Paul likes this

present . Then Aunty Geneva helped me to make a small painting on a card for Aunty Alison and I drew our jeep and house and wrote my name on it . Aunty Alison will be happy to see that I have grown ! The next day we celebrated haero parob (sowing festival ) every one from Duccasai came to our house and we all sat and drank diang together . I went and called all my friends and gave them diang Bumba too came and I always feel happy to sit all together and drink and the women getting drunk . Risa gets drunk and then she puts her arms around Daddy and she calls Daddy O! father of my daughter , come and dance with me .Every one likes to see Risa joking with Daddy , because these days Daddy does not joke or laugh much and is serious most so the time .He is always thinking about some thing or the other and it is good that sometimes he sits s and gets joked by Risa . Risa and Gura now look after Bumba . Bumbas mother died some years ago and they now live in one house . They are also building their own house behind their old one . I hope the elephant does not come and break it this time.

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