Chhattisgarh state was formed in November 2000 bifurcating M.P. Consequently formation of separate telecom circle. Necessary to tour the new state. Started from Delhi on 17th December 2000, reached Champa Railway Station next day.(Though written Champa, people there call it Chappa. A big station.). Coms. S.R.Nayak, Circle Secretary, M.P., S.C.Bhattacharya, GS ITEU and many other leaders at the station. As usual it was journey in a vehicle, stopping for meetings at important places. First at Korba. Then to Ambikapur, many km away.
Vehicle passing through forest after forest. Chhattisgarh full of thick forests. During journey through the forests of Raighar, the driver, a young man, asked me whether want to see the place where Kalidasa wrote and staged his first drama. I was interested and told him ‘yes’. Every body interested, though already late for next meeting. None of us had seen the place. Driver knew the place well and took us through a very small side road for about 2-3 km. It was thick forest full of tall trees, as also many huge rocks. We went up on a very big rock climbing man made steps and got to the top. A small theatre carved out of rock, where some 20 people could sit. Stage also. Room inside the cave, probably to stay. Driver told us that it was here where Kalidasa stayed and wrote his first drama and staged in front of celebrities. The saying is that the King, Vikramaditya, invited him to Ujjain, where he wrote many dramas and staged under the patronage of the king, as part of ‘Navaratna’ celebrities. Later, I was told that every year, Kalidasa Jayanti is organised and inauguration will be in this place. When we went there 20 years back, it was isolated and there was not a single person there. But now it seems that the place has become popular with many tourists.
We returned to the main road, a fast drive, managed to reach Ambikapur, of course late. Comrades were waiting patiently and the meeting was held. During the next few days meetings at Raigharh, Bilaspur, Raipur, Bhilai, Jabalpur and so on, returning to Delhi by train on 22nd. Failed to get reservation, but got RAC in the train as a consolation.