Places like people have names. And some of them have an aura, a magic and a history that attracts you towards them. The rhythm and the phonetics of some of these names made you fall in love with such places even though you knew nothing about them. I remember growing up as a kid in the sixties being enamoured by exotic and quaint names like Dehradun, Chamba, Landsdowne, Mackleski Gunj, Dehri-on-Sone, Stratford-upon-Avon, Adis Ababa, Timbuktoo, Honalulu…
The list is long actually, but none can take the place of two words that rhyme so beautifully when juxtaposed next to each other- Jhumri Talaiya. The small town in today’s state of Jharkhand has been immortalised by Vividh Bharti and Radio Ceylon. Rather, it would be more correct to say that the music loving people immortalized their towns’ name in our national consciousness during the sixties and seventies.
Almost every song in Vividh Baharati’s Aap ki farmaish programme that was aired during that era had people from this town sending in their requests. But way back in the sixties there were many who even doubted that a town with the name Jhumri talaiya existed. The cynics said that it was a fictional town created just to keep the songs going. Gradually people realized that this small town in the then state of Bihar actually existed and was famous for its mining activities.
Apart from Mica which is mined in Jhumri Talaiya there is also a dam here under the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC). It is because of this dam that the place has a beautiful lake- talaiya. This explains half of the history behind the origin of this name. The first half- Jhumri is ascribed to a particular type of broomstick that is made in this area. A-broom–town-next-to-a-lake!! Even the English literal translation sounds beautiful isn’t it?
Apart from people with a fanatic love for Hindi film songs, mica, brooms and lakes this place is also well known for its Sainik School. The surroundings are lush green and beautiful and during the monsoons it really was a sight for sore eyes.
My visit to Jhumri Taliya, after being in love with her for almost four decades, was a short one but somehow I felt that the people who I came across were not aware of the (sound) waves this town had created in the sixties and seventies. As a tribute to this town I picked up couple of CD’s of songs from the seventies. The songs, the nostalgia, the monsoon, the ambience and the long drive back was really memorable. It was truly a childhood dream come true.
Sorry Shakespeare but there is a lot in a name especially if its Jhumri Talaiya.