Posted to Allahabad (UP) – 1986
Next posting – Allahabad. Our school was a dilapidated building of the old British Military office !! Class XI – I took Science. Another cool city.
We were given a brand new house – not lived in before – and our garden was huge – all forest ! My Parents made it into a beautiful garden – flowers in the front and vegetables at the back. The land was extremely fertile for the vegetables grew in amazingly large sizes and the flowers were just too beautiful ! We called it Indraprasta – for it was just a wild forest and we made it into a beautiful garden !
We used to go to Civil Lines – especially to have Ice creams !
I met Shailja Tandon there – and I am still in touch with her – she was another Libran and we gelled pretty well !She is in Canada right now – married with 2 kids.
We participated in Dramas there and had quite a lot of fun. There was Officer’s Institute and we used to reach there – without fail – for the movie . Once – in fact many a times – there were heavy rains and storms – but all this could not stop us to let go our entertainment – Movie a week was a must – or else our energy levels went down I think !! Very few ‘crazy as us’ Officers used to come to watch the movie under those circumstances – and as we entered – we were welcomed with lot of cheers by the very few who had come !!
There was a New Year’s Party cum Fair in the Allahabad Officer’s Institute. Mom decided to make Hot Dogs from our Unit’s side. She said for 1000 pieces and both us sisters screamed that 1000 would be too much – just make 500 – for who will eat all the left overs !?
The Fair started at around 4 pm and by 5:15pm – all our Hot Dogs were over !!The Fair continued till late night – and well…we sisters realized that Mom has more idea regarding all this !!
We called it as ‘ Sapdoo’ ! We girls loathed it !All the knitting, cooking, embroidery etc – gosh! We had been doing it since class VI – and the same things were done in various permutations and combinations – we were really sick and tired of it.
One day we all were enjoying and basking in the Sun (or sometimes we used to play our favorite game Gallery or Stapu ) when we saw our Sapdoo Madam walking towards us !! We were caught red – handed – we never thought that she’ll find us in the huge playground that we had !!
We all went up and she asked us what were we up to. God knows what came over us – we all started laughing !! its as if someone had released Nitrogen Dioxide (Laughing gas.. isn’t it?) – its still a mystery to us why all of us laughed in front of the shocked Madam !!
I am really amazed when I hear nowadays that some 11 th class girl or some 8 th class girl ran away / had affair – (physical ie) with some class boy or school boy !! We were all so different I must say. Boys were our worst enemies – I remember that we used to fight like cats and dogs for 1 or 2 marks !! I was particularly very keen on knowing who came first – it wasn’t necessary that I should come first but the first girl – the brighter girl students should get more marks – like there was Anu, Ashelesha – they were the intelligent lot – I used to in fact see her test copy first in order to confirm whether the girls’ side has come first or not !!
And now we get to read in newspapers that dirty things like MMS stuff etc. is happening in schools ! goodness how our Country had deteriorated over a period of 2 decades !! 1986 to 2006 – what a great cultural difference !! Somehow I feel that the term ‘generation gap’ is a wrongly coined term ! There is nothing like Generation Gap – – never was – there is sheer ‘ Communication gap’ – that we all have been suffering from since eons !!I cannot deny totally that such cases were completely absent during our times but they were very rarely heard of…but with time ..maybe because strict action was not taken against such cheap students (maligning the school environment) at that point of time – so such ‘ cheapness’ is done boldly nowadays !!
It was in Allahabad that I had this extremely strange feeling while I was asleep – semi awake in fact for I knew what was happening to me. I felt that my body is lying on bed but some part of me – maybe soul..spirit…astral body floated up and went higher up on the ceiling and a part of me used to be desperate to bring the floating part back to the physical body !I remember even crying out and pleading the astral body to come back and I uesd to see myself from the top – or falling down speedily – I could feel the fear of falling down as well !
I cannot really explain it – later – much later in Ambala (after College) I read in Lobsang Rampa that Astral bodies can go out of the physical body and travel in different realms – and through meditation-al methods – one can direct its astral body to go to some specific place !Well I was not doing it intentionally..so I was kind of very afraid..very very afraid. I used to chant ‘Om Namah Shivaye’ during that time – for only God could save me here I felt !! I tried telling it to others but they all said that its my stomach problem – because of which I can feel such things !! I was not convinced though.
Posted to Gangtok (1987)
Suddenly got the posting to Gangtok. Usually class XI and XII should be done in the same school – for one needs time to impress teachers , be in their good books etc. But Gangtok posting was sudden. There were chances that in the KV in Gangtok – there would be no Science ! In that case it was decided that we’ll have to either stay back in Allahabad or I would have to go to Kolkata to finish my studies in some KV in Kolkata. On the other hand we were hearing that Gantok is the most beautiful place – scenic beauty and it was the first time we had got posted to a Hilly area !In fact Allahabad was so scorching-ly hot that just after taking a bath when I used to go to the altar to light an incense stick – I used to get wet again in my own perspiration !I had told God mentally once – that if you want me to light incense sticks, you better make the climate cooler ! Maybe THEY heard my prayers !!
I hated the idea of going to kolkata ! Our kolkata house had not been renovated fully – we still had the Indian style bathroom – and moreover out of 24 hours , 12 hours we used to have load shedding – at least whenever I went to Kolkata – there was this eternally goofed up Transformer that blew off every now and then !!! and I was just praying to God to help me out !
At that point of time, the Gangtok KV School was joined with another school – some Deorali and the school was really small – When I heard the news that this small KV does not have Arts but has Science – I was really amazed ! Just the opposite should have happened – smaller space, hilly Region – lesser facilities – thus Arts would have been more convenient for the school Authorities – no need for any Laboratories etc !! But in the small space we had fully equipped Laboratories and Science was the only stream available – neither Arts nor Commerce !!Now tell me folks – will I not believe in God just blindly?!
You see folks – whenever there was the slightest of rain – I used to bunk school – saying it’s a rainy day – I cannot go – for I hated wet socks or having to walk on the wet mud – it was better to spend the day on the bed – with occasional doses of Tea and other snacks! This way I had been enjoying life. But in Gangtok – well, it rained everyday – it was Cold – always – we used to wear sweaters in May ..June as well – So? Daily I could not bunk classes ! plus I had missed 1 month of the classes already – for they had Winter vacations – no Summer vacations – and I had already enjoyed the Summer vacations – this was probably the only ‘happiness’ that kept me going – having enjoyed Summer vacations already – and will soon be enjoying winter vacations !
SO ! New School – new friends – I met Kakoli Mondol (Pooja) in Gangtok – she later shifted to Kolkata – where I again met her again in Lady brabourne college and we took up Zoology Hons !
Our relatives came – we went many a times to Jhangu lake and Nathula – then North Sikkim….yeah ! we had a good time there .
The first day in the school – in my class – all the girls (even boys must have been excited – I didn’t notice them) were very excited – for a new comer was joining and their class teacher (also our Chemistry Sir) had told them that a new girl will be joining – she is coming from Allahabad. Later my friends told me that all the boys had said – Okay – Lady Amitabh Bacchan is coming from Allahabad !! Lets see how she will be !
They had all planned to rag me !! So first I entered the right class but they directed me to Class XI – but then I had met a Class XI girl in the School bus itself (a 3 Ton made into a school bus with wooden benches tied to each other ) so she redirected me to the right class again.
Then the girls started asking me my name etc. When I asked them their names – they started taking the names of Goddess ! Hi! I am Saraswati, I am Laxmi, She is Kali (referring to Kakoli- since she was also a Bengali – they said – She is Kali kalkatte` wali !) – this way they started to tease me. Anyways later I became very pally – since I am a number 5 (5 th October born) and we people can mingle really well with people and adapt really fast – since our element is Quick Silver – Mercury.
I performed very well in my 12 th class boards (a multiple of 3 folks-3×4=12) – because of too much practice – Practice does make a man perfect – in my case it made a ‘ Refugee’ perfect ! We had Physics test on Monday, Chemistry test on Tuesday and Biology test on Wednesday !! I had taken Hindi so I escaped the Maths test which other students might be having to face !!But it did help in the long run – I got 86% in my XII class boards !!I mean it was too unimaginable for me and of course my parents & siblings – they were shocked at my performance.I believe when my father got a call from the Principal of KV Gangtok that ‘Your daughter has stood First in school’ – my father had literally kept his fingers crossed till the time he got the result in hand !! He had thought that maybe by mistake the Principal had rung him up and the misunderstanding will soon be sorted out !!
I was with Mom here in Kolkata – for we had to look for colleges plus Mom was doing the renovation work as well. She had specificallly asked my father to be away from the scene – for the first time when they had decided to do the renovation – the Contractor had given him the time of 11 am. So my father was ready by 10:45 having had breakfast etc. waiting for the Contractor. He didn’t turn up at 11…nor at 12..neither at 1pm …nor at 2 pm but at around 3 pm – when my Father was having his Lunch ! He had screamed so loudly that our neighbors (most of them are our relatives) had rushed out of their homes and had cooled him dowm. Later someone had told mom that if they are screamed at like this then their entire community will boycott you people – and your dream of renovating your house will remain a dream forever – thus Mom took over the maximum renovation responsibility and she was the one who later came to proceed with what was left over.
I had come down to Kolkata – for it was decided that I will stay in some hostel here for my father would be retiring or would be posted out of Gangtok – so Gangtok college was out of question. This time I had to come to Kolkata !