01 August, 2021

Shahjahanpur Diary

"For all the tall claims of people, I had the example of Charlie Chaplin to prove that you don’t need an extra foot to gain stature in your chosen field," recalls actor Rajpal Yadav.

Shahjahanpur Diary
Home’s A Pilgrimage

Holi is almost upon us and that means it’s time for my annual pilgrimage to Khaira, my village in Shahjahanpur district, UP. I may have done the whole saat samundar paar routine in the past two decades but the yearning for home around this time of year is too strong, like that of a fauji eagerly awaiting his annual leave. I see myself returning to Khaira on the slightest pretext, to share the joys and sorrows of my family and friends from my langot days. It helps me stay grounded and cope with the vicissitudes of life.

Cut to: school days. You have me working in the fields, sowing paddy saplings during summer vacations at Rs 15 a day, just about enough to buy my textbooks. Call it child labour, if you please, but I never took the work as a burden. An innate desire to do something independently, even in those days, has always brought me joy. My father, a small farmer, did not have enough resources to feed a...

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