by Promod Puri
Back in 1972, when I immigrated to Canada and made my first home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that I happened to know a very helpful and friendly person by the name of C. R. Bector.
He was a distinguished professor of mathematics at the University of Manitoba. And out of respect, as being elder to me and having an academic professional status, I along with other close acquaintances used to address him as Doctor Sahib or Doctor Bector. He was not a medical doctor but had a Ph.D. degree in his extensive portfolio of degrees.
C.R. Bector, although to most of us in the Indo-Canadian community sounded more like an English name, especially the surname, but Doctor Sahib, who is retired now, hails from Punjab. He was a popular personality in Winnipeg, simply because of his informal, lively and sociable temperament.
However, for me, the enticing thing about him is that his real name is Chajju Ram. It is really an old-fashioned North Indian name as we seldom come across with that namesake.
And the first name Chajju immediately strikes on the famous Indian proverb “jo sukh chajju ke chobare, na balakh na bukhare. Translation: east or west home is the best.
The name Chajju certainly gives a lot of credentials to the importance of the home as it is part of the life’s triangle, rather I would say the most sought-after trinity which is “roti, kapdra aur Makaan”, meaning food, clothing, and shelter.
The fact is anybody with a home, in reality, owns his or her little sovereign kingdom or queen-dom. It is one of those virtues of life which one aspires to have it. Life begins at home and revolves around home to enjoy the bliss of having that pride possession.
Home is not merely a physical dwelling of walls, windows, and doors, floors, and roofs. It is not just a rest spot either. Rather a cozy place of peace and tranquility in the midst of family or friends’ lively togetherness and entertainment. Home is a place of absolute independence within acceptable social norms.
Home sweet home is a simple expression carrying deep feelings of warmth and comfort which one yearns for.
If the home does not give all that is expected then it is a house, and for that reason, homesickness can be endured but not the house arrest.
Home is the place of everlasting nostalgia of living with parents, brothers, sisters and dear ones. The childhood anecdotes of little fights and laughs, the home-cooked food, books and beds, the school homework, and a lot more are part of the fond memories. The physical remembrance of each and every household item is also a sentimental and sweet relaxation.
Moreover, home is where we accumulate our cultural values, connect with our heritage and acquire family’s social, linguistic and religious identities. Home is that place of security and independence where with elated feelings one can unwind, recline and relax.
Seventeenth-century English poet James Thompson has exquisitely expressed his perception of home:
“Home is the resort
Of love, of joy, of peace, and plenty; where
Supporting and supported, polished friends
And dear relations mingle into bliss”.
But that bliss is deprived to millions of homeless people all over the world sheltering under the open sky at the mercy of Mother Nature. It is this sad aspect of humanity which is visibly invisible as life goes by especially in busy metropolises.
“Chajju ka chubara” is indeed a bliss of comfort and peace for most of us. And my friend C.R. Bector’s place was an embodiment of these virtues especially during harsh winter months of Winnipeg.