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A tale of two writers: A waiter and chaiwala

Tuesday September 27, 2011 12:44:35 PM, Shahnawaz Akhtar, IANS

Bhopal: One makes tea, the other serves it. Both work in the same canteen. But that is not where the similarity ends. Both are writers, with several of their novels already in the market.

Meet Nandkishore Kushwaha, a waiter, and Kuwar Dheer Bahadur Singh, a middle-aged half-cook. Both work at the canteen of Bharat Bhavan, a multi-cultural activity centre in Bhopal.

While Nandkishore, 31, has a masters degree in sociology, Kuwar Dheer Bahadur, 40, is just a Class 8 pass. At the Bharat Bhavan canteen, Nandkishore is known as Nandu and Kuwar Dheer Bahadur as Chacha.

Nandu and Chacha have been working in the canteen for six months and two years respectively. But this short period has been immensely helpful as both have been able to release their long-written books after meeting artists and writers visiting the centre.

Nandkishore, hailing from Narsinghpur's Manakwar village, is the son of a farmer. The young writer, who already has a book "Aakhri Panchayat" under his belly, recently came out with "Gramin Vikash Ki Nayi Sambhavna".

He mostly writes about rural issues.

"I have grown up in a rural atmosphere. Its surroundings and the problems people face day to day have made me think a lot. My books are based on rural culture and its importance in Indian society," Nandkishore, whose forthcoming book is called "Aakhri Pidhi", told IANS.

"Earlier, I used to write poems and short stories. My writing has been appreciated by several writers and artists. Some artists like Sanjay Mehta, Alok Chatterjee and Rajesh Joshi have encouraged me," said Nandkishore, who has been writing for the last five years.

The writer says his work has even been praised by people in the government.

"My researched works have been praised by several ministers and these could help the government in understanding rural conditions, but no one has come forward to support me so far," he rues.

While Nandkishore's writing reflects the rural life of India, Kuwar Dheer Bahadur mostly scribbles on his experiences.

He was born in a respected and economically sound family of Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh. His life took a sudden U-turn when his family came under the cloud of financial woes.

He had to leave his native village and come to Bhopal. For the last 10 years, the 40-year-old bachelor has been surviving on odd jobs.

Bachelor? Yes, the long-time love left him when new-found poverty embraced him.

It is experiences like these that made him to pen down "Rishta Aur Adalat" (story), "Jamindar Bijraj Singh" (drama) and "Samay Aur Daulat" and "Dil Churakar Toda", both novels.

"The movie 'Nikah' inspired me to write. In the film, a man loves a girl, who marries some rich nawab. The man becomes the editor of a magazine and one day the girl comes to him for a job. The story inspired me to write," Kuwar Dheer Bahadur told IANS.

His forthcoming novel "Haque" is his autobiography.

Nandu and Chacha say they help each other in their writings.

"After our day ends, we discuss our writings at night. We not only share our feelings but also try to write that down," said Kuwar Dheer Bahadur, who has been writing for 14 years.

The canteen owner, Narendra Maithil, has high regard for the duo.

"Chacha and Nandu are not only hardworking, they also want to make it big in life. Sometimes they want to end work early or need monetary help; I try to help them in every manner," Maithil said.

(Shahnawaz Akhtar can be contacted at





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