Thursday, June 14, 2007

Down the memory lane

The thought that I would be making a trip to the school (albeit for 1 day only) which has produced so many bureaucrats and technocrats of this state and which has reminiscence of my early school days, quite excited me. But when I embarked upon the trip, it seemed as if the thought would remain just a thought. As soon as I reached Itanagar from Ziro, I was told that the bus on which I booked the ticket for Tinsukia has been cancelled because of the 'Bandh' at Nagaon, Sibsagar and Golaghat Districts of Assam and there was no seat available for the next day. This shattered all my excitement and I was about to decide for the trip back to Ziro when a person came for cancellation of his ticket to Deomali the next day. I thought, lady luck is smiling upon me and I immediately grabbed this opportunity and booked the ticket upto Deomali for next day.

The next afternoon (buses depart for Deomali at 2.00 p.m) when I embarked the bus, the co-passengers were discussing that another Bandh has been called at Dibrugarh district the next day. I felt like canceling the ticket then and there but nevertheless I embarked upon the journey, after all the urge to visit the school after almost 22 years prevailed on me. I just gambled that if everything goes alright i.e., if the bus doesn't break down on the way, I would be reaching Deomali well before time the Bandh becomes effective. And the gambling was a success as I reached Deomali early morning the next day, without a hitch. I booked return ticket for the evening, normally the buses depart Deomali in the afternoon, but owing to Bandh the bus was departing in the evening that day. After freshening up and having breakfast at friend's residence (only Government Inspection Bungalows are available at Deomali and it was totally booked that day) I headed for Narottam Nagar in a Taxi (during my school days, it was difficult to get Taxi from Deomali).

And here I was, after a long 22 years, back at Ramakrishna Mission School, where I spent my 3 and a ½ years of initial schooling days.

It brought back all the memories. The memory of me standing under the shed of tree, taking shelter from scorching heat and shirking away from the compulsory football game in the evening, when my fellow mates would be totally indulged in the game. The only time I would be in the game or rather pretend to be in the game was whenever teacher came for inspection.

Mahavir Stadium

I moved to the main School Building. The building looked all the same- the class rooms, assembly area etc., except that it has graduated from 2-storeyed building to 3-storeyed one and a new structure that came up adjacent to the main building. However, it reminded me of how we used to look out through the window to search for our parents in the taxis that arrived to pick up their wards after the last paper of exam. Everyone just wanted to leave hostel as soon as possible for summer break and it was like who would be leaving the hostel first. It felt bad when you were the last to leave the hostel.

Main School Building

The Assembly Area

From there I headed towards the Hostel which is some stone throw away from the School and after taking due permission of Hostel Warden Maharaj, I went round the hostel dormitories, the mess and the prayer hall where we used to offer prayer every evening. The sound of conch, the hymns ‘Khandana Bhava…..’ reverberated in my ears.

The Prayer Hall

The Dormitory

Hostel Warden's Office and Seniors Hostel

I thanked Warden Maharaj for allowing me to relive my hostel days and bade him goodbye. I walked past the auditorium which was used for screening of movies besides other school functions and all the movies (albeit only patriotic) viz., Jhansi ki Rani, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shivaji, Rana Pratap etc., screened on sundays for our entertainment through 25 mm projector (there was no television set in the hostel in those days) flashed in my memory. I remembered the queue outside the canteen to buy biscuits and snacks to be taken during the movie.

The Auditorium

I was so deep down the memory lane that I forgot that I had to catch the bus. So, I hurried to the taxi and while on the way to Deomali, it felt like I just completed my exam
s and was heading home for summer break.


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