Some Incidents in Hasimara :
Officer’s Institute and Parties :
It was a very small station – and there was only one school – so the children we met in the morning at school – were the same ones who used to come to the Mess – and we had lot many parties / get togethers/ birthday celebs./new years/ holi…..because it was a very small Station, there were many get togethers to ward off boredom.
We had a common discussion topic :
Teachers – He / she is khadoos –
he punished me for no reason –
she is my favorite –
he is the best teacher .
Project work – will you help me with my project work…..
He sent her a love letter – got caught – the monitor showed it to the teacher – will take care of the bugger after school hours……
He looked at me – I was wearing that pink dress – He tried to approach me – but quickly I got up and joined my parents – poor thing could not dare to come closer….
All the above things used to be common discussion topics – I just used to hear them.. sometimes gave a few advices also – to which I was snubbed quickly and I was also called a dadima (Grand mother)! Actually I used to site example from movies – ‘You see one should not do this otherwise what happened in the movie might happen to you too’ ! etc. but then since I was younger – I was told not to compare reel life with real life – as the two do not match !
We had three young Sirs in our School
Chauhan Sir, Kiran Kumar Sir and Deepak Sir (..don’t quite remember his name)
Chauhan Sir was a Physics teacher in the senior section
Because we had no Maths teacher in class V so he was given the responsibility of teaching us!
He used to teach Physics to my sister who was in class IX at that point of time.
Now he was a Senior school teacher – he couldn’t handle us Juniors very well – he was very strict and dry as far as teaching us was concerned – but the senior students just loved him – he was a favorite among them.
Anyways I got very pally with him.
Since he was a bachelor and used to live alone in the quarters – I used to take extra food for him – my mom always felt very sad for young boys staying alone – she always thought that young boys should either stay with their mothers or should get married so that his wife could take care of him – cooking his food etc.- she sees her son (Sanjay) in every young bachelor – anyways I used to take food for him – but by that time some one else had taken over teaching maths to us – so I was’nt buttering him or something – just plain fondness for him – I used to report to Sir about all the Love / hate lochas that I could hear about – I was basically his khabari (messenger) in the school !
He once had told me that in his horoscope its written that he will get married to a very rich Lady and will become extremely rich one day – he had then jokingly added that once he becomes rich – he will take us all under his wings and we all will be rich !
I actually used to look forward to his becoming rich – for I thought that then all monetary problems will be taken care of and I will go to foreign countries all at his expense and life will be so good !!
Really childhood is so ignorant !
Another Sir was there – KK Sir (Kiran Kumar Sir) – He was a total no nonsense person – very strict looking – he was the head of Physics department actually – and one day I had playfully said to Chauhan Sir that KK Sir is the most dangerous Sir in the school – he was a confirmed bachelor – well that’s what he had said I don’t know whether he has got married or not.
Chauhan Sir must have told this to him – so one day he called me in a class room full of his students – and asked me in front of all his students “So you think I am very strict eh?”
I just looked at all the smiling faces of his students – and all of them had a good laugh – he then told me that he has drawn the flowers which was made on the black board – to which I had said – “Impossible!” – you can only write Physics theorems and never draw such beautiful picture – …there was more laughter .
Another day I was walking past his class room chewing my collar – He suddenly called me in – “Aparna your mother does not give you anything to eat?..the other day I saw your chewing your hair – today you are chewing your collar – whats up?” – the entire class room was smiling – I also left smiling – and wondered that nothing is hidden for long in this world !
After that Sir became a great pal of mine !
We had 8 periods whereas the senior school had 9 periods – but the school bus used to leave with all of us together – so the last period I used to loiter around in the playground – telling/hearing the story of the latest movie released (that’s what KV school girls do almost all the time) – one day KK Sir called me over and I asked him to tell me a story – ever since then KK Sir used to tell me a story every day in the last period !
Another Sir was there – he used to teach us Science – very serious – I never joked or laughed with him like I did with KK Sir and Chauhan Sir but we used the call the three of them – Amar – Akbar – Anthony ! – Deepak Sir had a sister who was physically handicapped – she used to be on the wheel chair but used to come to school – I used to wonder how can it happen in the same family where Sir was so good looking and tall whereas his sister was abnormal – but he used to be very caring towards his sister – he used to look after her very well .
One Maths Lady Teacher joined – Lata Madam – she was very good- she really taught us very well.
Then there was an English lady teacher we had – Deepa madam – she was a Tea Garden Manager’s daughter – we had gone to attend her birthday Party. She used to wear very plunging deep necks and her ‘milky white’ cleavage was seen amply ! I used to wonder how come the Principal said nothing to her and allowed her to wear such revealing outfits ..in front of innocent children like us !! To be very frank – although in class 6, all of us used to be very scandalized with her dressing sense !
I never ..I mean – hardly ever did my own Project work myself ! My sister did them all for me. And I never got caught also – except once ..as follows :
We were asked to make a Dictionary (English Project Work) from the important spellings/words from our English Text Book. 3 days were left for the school to reopen. My sister had finished all her works, Projects etc. whereas I was playing all the time. While she was getting ready and packing her bags I started to look up for important words from the text book. Last day came – I had reached till the letter ‘K’ ! My ‘kar kamal’ (lotus hands) were beginning to ache. My sister turned a blind eye. She had asked and had reminded me to finish my homework ..but at that point of time I had turned a deaf ear ! My Mother saw me crying so she requested my sister to complete the project work.
After 10 days or so – of submitting the Project – I got back my copy. Deepika Madam (another English Teacher we had – who resembled actress Dipti Navel a lot – and she was very attractive as well) correct till the letter ‘ k’ and gave me marks based on that only. I showed the copy to my sister and she commented that ‘She was the perfect teacher and hoped that all Teachers become like her’ !! but I kept my fingers crossed !!
Afzal Bhaiya was very keen on raising hens as well as looking after the Kitchen Garden. We lived in a Mess turned into a house actually – so it was huge and spacious with partition made of wood and cloth. And we had huge premises – totally jungle – so the mess was cleared up and used for some good purpose. So he bought a cock and a hen from the hart. Since Afzal Bhaiya was from a village – he knew exactly what to feed the cock – and he made it into a fighter cock! He was fed garlic and onions etc. to make him stronger and awaken his ‘killer’ instincts!
They became proud parents of 12 chicks – they all grew up and laid eggs .I used to go and see the chicks. The Mother Hen used to call them all under her wings ! She probably thought that I will harm them !!Our cats used to loiter freely and did not even bother about the chicks. Why would they – they were sumptuously fed – so they did not have to hunt for food.
But the fact that the cock was a fighter cock – it became very difficult to manage him. He used to attack anyone who visited the kitchen garden. One day he attacked me and I ran and cried a whole lot. It was sold after that.
One Kapoor Aunty , who used to teach us Geography, had a daughter who had come to our residence – she was very small and it was afternoon time. She came up in our balcony but was attacked by our cock. It was a traumatic incident for her – so the next day Mrs. Kapoor had come complaining about the cock and she asked us to dispose it away. My Mother said that that what if some street dog had given it a traumatic experience – whom would she have asked to dispose it off ! – and she lost the argument with my Mother.
That day in school – some other girls were talking but she called me and punished me instead. Well she took her revenge ! I told my Mother this – but well- nothing could be done about it !! Later of course the cock was sold away. And we also know that one Ashrafi Bahiya – who had been attacked by him – bought it and ate it up to take revenge !!
Conclusion : People don’t leave the slightest chance to take revenge.
Worst thing that happens to any kid brought to the World I think !
Afzal Bhaiya used all tricks to wake me up but I remained stuck to my bed. Only when 20 mins or so was left for the School Bus to arrive, did I get up reluctantly and get ready for School. Afzal Bahiya used to feed me once then rush to feed my brother – simultaneously he used to feed us both.
Only my sister used to get ready and eat on time and stand at the gate even before the bus arrived ! Its so strange that such contradictory Characters are born through the same pair of parents !!
Gods started getting flowers through me early in the Morning – seasonally though.
We had a big ‘Mogra’ (sweet smelling flowers) plant in our garden. The South Indians usually make a gajra (small garland for hair) to put it on hair. As you know that we were surrounded with South Indians so one of the neighborhood girls – Munni – younger to me – came to pluck flowers and take it all with her ! I asked Afzal Bhaiya whatever happened to all the flowers – I had seen the buds last evening.
He told me that Munni takes it all for her hair etc.! I could not stand that. I asked him to wake me up early so that I can take my garden flowers myself. So this way Afzal Bahiya found a solid incentive to wake me up. HE used to place the bed tea (Yes, I had started having bed tea since class 5 itself) and say “Munni will be taking away all flowers” ..and I used to jump out of my bed – take a basket , collect all the flowers and decorate my Gods and the Gods in my Parents’ room as well !So silly of me …or was it Gods’ way to get some flowers through me …who knows…there is always a bigger picture!
A very small grey colored kitten entered our house. As sweet as can be – deep blue eyes. I took an instant liking for her and begged my Mother to let her stay inside as it was cold outside. My mother let her stay. We named her Neelu. (Point to be noted – Yes cats and hens co-existed in our farm – Kid Mc Tina had a farm – E-I-E-I-O)…Tina is my pet name btw.
I loved playing with her. We even had a poem in our text book –
I love my little pussy
Her coat is so warm
And if I do not hurt her
She will do me no harm
So I will not pull her tail
Or drive her away
But Pussy and I
very gently will play
She will sit by my side
And I’ll give her food
She’ll like me because
I am gentle and good.
Whew! I think this is the only poem I could by-heart and remember in my entire school – hood !!probably because I could identify my life with this poem.
In fact in the School Assembly I was (sometimes) either asked to say the pledge or the poem – I only knew 2 poems. ‘Little Birdie’ and this pussy cat one. (what does little birdie say – that one). Often some seniors who knew me – courtesy my siblings – used to pull my leg saying how many times will we hear this poem?!
Anyways – back to Neelu. Neelu got married. I distinctly remember that Neelu’s Mother (we named her Chini Budi – she resembled a Chinese Lady very fair in grey itself) sat with Neelu and two other cats (tomcats I guessed) were sitting on the steps and were seen discussing something.I had never seen those cats ever and I wondered who they were.
After 2 months or so my Mother suddenly saw Neelu and said – Oh! God – I think she is pregnant. I said how come she knows – then she told me 3 symptoms :
Swollen stomach with something moving inside.
Thus I guessed that the two alien cats were the tomcats after all and Neelu’s wedding took place. When I told this to my friends, no body believed me ! Another friend, upon hearing this, cooked up an instant story that she also had seen crows getting married. She said that they were all sitting on the electric pole wire and some crows were coming and dropping petals from their beaks on a couple! At that point of time I even believed it ….but later I guessed that she was lying after all.
I saw her entire pregnancy. When she was about to deliver, I took her to the cook house of he Mess (where in one room our Helpers used to sleep and other two huge rooms were empty – Kind of store room where our old books and packing materials were kept. My Mother had suggested me on watching Neelu becoming restless. Neelu entered in one of the packing cases and probably delivered there in the darkness. I came the next morning and Afzal Bhaiya showed me with a torch light – the heads of 3 little kittens. Their eyes were closed.
My mother asked them to bring ‘Saboodana’ from the canteen for it helps in milk formation. Neelu was very much pampered now as she was a Mother and feeding her kittens! Everyday before going to school ,after coming from school, in the evening – in fact whenever I got time I went to the Cook house with a torch light to see the kittens. Their eyes opened and I think after Neelu, I was the happiest.
My siblings then suggested me their names. 2 males and one female. So they were named – Bunty, Pinky, Rocky. At that point of time 2 movies were released – Love Story and Rocky. And so the Kittens were named after the Lead Actors and Actresses !…basically after Kumar Gaurav, Vijeta Pandit and Sanjay Dutta !!
Later I noticed that the tomcats used to leave the home base and had started having food in the Langar. They seldom came homewards – whereas the female cats used to stay at our residence. During kittenhood though, they all played and slept on my lap while I used to do my homework.
My sister as was never fond of these pets. She never used to fondle or caress them. Nor my brother. I think that the kittens realized this so they purposely slept on my sister’s bed when she was away at school. I used to quickly shift them to my bed whenever I saw the school bus arriving….supposing I had bunked the school on some particular day.
Anyways, Neelu kept reproducing and so the number of kittens – later cats also increased in our house – Bunty, Pinky, Rocky, Vasu, Sapna, Renuka (Ek Duje ke liye),Tony, Dolly (Teri Kasam), Maya, Dev, Ravi (Star).
Chini Budi gave birth to another tomcat – but only one survived as Chini Budi (Neelu’s Mother) hardly stayed with us – just occasionally she came to have food – so even if she produced 3 kittens, only one survived – for in the forest where she must be delivering, the Jackals and hyenas eat up the new borns. But in case of Neelu, she used to deliver in the safety of home so all her kittens survived. This time chini budi could save a tomcat (son) – she had observed that Neelu is well taken care of – so she brought Robin (tomcat – Neelu’s brother and MAMA of the other kittens) to our house. I think Robin was the only tomcat who was intelligent enough to stay in the comfort of the home – he stayed and ate with the other cats. He was fairer than Neelu…I wondered whether they had the same father…or ……whether Chini budi had done some ‘desperate house-wife-ism’ !!
One day I must have fought with my sister so I could not approach her to make my Project. It was a geography Project where I had to make the Map of India. I managed to make it –and it looked its ugliest worst.
Well it so happened that I used to play with Neelu with the Chart Paper and so while I was away at school – she got up on my study table and scratched and tore it apart..thinking that it was her plaything lying on my table !!
I came home and started crying as the next day was the Project submission day. My Mother then requested my sister to make the Project . She made it so beautifully ! I think even Gods had got afraid with the Map of India that I made so they chose Neelu to destroy the map made by me !!
My siblings had managed school studies on their own – had managed it pretty ell in fact – they all passed with good results. But I had to introduce some difference to the usual I suppose. I was doing miserably in maths. I just got 3/10 or maximum 4/10 …and there were high chances that I would fail!!
Hasimara is a small Field area – no tuitions concept available. So my father requested the Unit’s Master – the one recruited for the Jawans to teach me maths. Other kids in our enclosure used to go to him in the evening for 1 hour – but Masterjee was requested to come to our house at 4pm and teach till 5pm – one full hour.
My afternoon siesta went for a toss. I purposely slept on the sofa – and pretended to be asleep when Masterjee arrived. Lets say he came at 4pm (sharp – Military time), I used to get up reluctantly at 4:15 – thinking that I have saved 15 minutes…but I was wrong – he was a maths teacher after all – on those days he taught me till 5:15 pm!!- when I looked at the watch – he pointed out that we started late so no point looking at the time.But then my algebra improved hell of a lot – I started getting good marks in maths after that – so I guessed tuitions help after all.
Every Friday we used to go to the Unit’s mandir (temple). We listened to bhajans etc. and all of us (kids) used to wait patiently for the prasad. I specially liked a ‘sweetened brown wheat flour’ called pinjari.
I used to stand in the line again and again to take the prasad. One day our cook bhaiya (Ram Sundar Bhaiya) observed that I was going on taking that prasad. He might have felt embarrassed for others must have pointed out to him whether I am not given enough food to eat etc. so he called me & asked me why exactly I was retaking the prasad shamelessly. I told him of my affinity towards Pinjari. From then onwards, he made pinjari for me at home – and I loved it. I used to carry it at tiffin and it used to be one of my favorite tiffin items.