Down the rabbit hole of Internet: A train robbery and Satyajit Ray’s movie
Today I went down a rabbit hole of the internet and dug up some useless gems! I had chanced upon a news item on the feed of a rail enthusiast. The news described that the previous night a train dacoity took place near Daltonganj in Jharkhand on board the Sambalpur Jammu Tawi Express. Now, as any other fan of Sholay, I am a great sucker for train dacoities. So I Googled train dacoity - and I was surprised by the number and frequency of train dacoities on Indian Railways. I had thought they were a thing of past but no fewer than four news reports in last few months! Anyways, I dug up a few about the latest one - and one place name caught my attention - the nearest station where the dacoity took place - Chhipadohar.
On social media I found four handles which had the name Chhipadohar and about 50 odd posts geotagged to it! Seems no place is too remote for the convoluted rabbit hole of the dungeons of internet. The posts were about football matches and random awkward selfies on ramshackle motorcycles on dusty roads and against crumbling unplastered brick walls.
I delved deeper and discovered that Chhipadohar was the place where Satyajit Ray had shot his classic Aranye din ratri. There were several posts about Simi Grewal (a surprise for me that Ray had cast her in a Bengali movie!) reminiscing about the sights and smells of Chhipadohar. And, in 2006 Chhipadohar was the site of a maoist attack that killed two police personnel.
I switched the google maps to satellite view and saw a huge expanse of impenetrable green holding the tiny railway station of Chipadohar in its pincer grasp. From satellite one can see how densely forested and isolated it remains even if the internet has penetrated its dusty streets and overgrown football ground. A perfect site for shooting Satyajit Ray’s dystopian magnum opus and for train dacoities!