I still haven’t been able to figure why Chandra Bhan Singh calls me ‘babu’. Towering over me at 6 and a half feet, with bulk to match, he is affectionately called Saral by everyone. Saral directly translates into nimble, and I can promise you he is anything but nimble. For no fault of his whatsoever. Saral bhaiya is complaining about a sudden loss in his appetite. He’s been eating 12 mangoes in one sitting but doesn’t feel hungry for ‘food’. Whatever that means.
We pass a black Mahindra classic. Everyone in the car turns to look at it till it disappears.
“Babu! Jharkhandi log ghoda bandook pata nahin kahe nahin rakte hai. Bihar mein aadmi ke paas paisa aane se bandook, ghoda dhain dhain aata hain. Jharkhand mein aisa nahin hai.”
I forgot to mention. Three guys at the back of the jeeps were carrying guns. One was definitely as ancient as a scottish blunderbuss.
“Saral! jharkhandi log shant swabhav ke hain. Kahan saala jharkhandi bandook kharidne jaaega, khana milna mushkil hain.”
“Shaant swabhav! Naxalwadi toh har jungle mein ghusa hua hai appa!”
“Oho! Naxals are a different people altogether.”
“Maloom hain babu? Burhi ke paas kuch saal pehle, force gaya tha gaon mein, nikaal ne. Tabri sarson ka kheti chal raha tha aur sab log fasal nikal rahe the.”
“sarson ka kheti! Jharkhand mein.”
“Haan! Burhi to lagbhag Bihar hi maan lijiye naa! Hajipur chapra se jada door nahi hai.”
“Toh inlog sab kya kiya ki sarson ka fasal utha liya aur force ke naak ke niche se hi nikal gaya. Sab bhaag giya.”
A roaring laughter follows the tale
“Haan! Us samay they didn’t trouble the villagers. Tab unlog sach mein people’s movement tha.”
“Hmmm... now ?”
“Now what? Now they’re terrorists.”