Era: 1980 – 1983
School – Kendriya Vidyalaya Hasimara
Classes – V, VI, VII
My father got posted and he took Command in a Field Hospital.
We were in Dehra Dun at that point of time.
When we heard of Hasimara – people around us started telling us that it’s a remote village in some corner of WB (West Bengal) and one has to cover miles in order to reach civilization – Siliguri !
We were pretty disheartened to hear this – from Delhi to Dehra Dun – to a remote village…how would we manage – well I used to hear my siblings worry about it – I was just 10 so it made no difference to me where ever we were.
Hasimara was certainly a remote area – while we were watching the empty roads from the open jeep – the Harts (Market place) were looking ridiculous – imagine Connaught Place to Hasimara Hart – what a difference !!
But our reception was Good.
Many officers were standing to receive us.
We went into a huge mess and we were offered Soft drinks and snacks – I had started liking this treatment already.
We had to stay in a barrack like room for a month or two since the Commanding Officer – most probably Col. Goswami – hadn’t shifted .
I particularly remember their name since they had 2 huge pampered dogs and a calf right in their house (calf tied with the rope in the house !!)
I was very afraid of the dogs !
And aunty told us that the calf had torn her petticoats thinking that she is her Maa (Baa) standing !! – They never had any kids so I guess people become kind of crazy in absence of offspring !
Then aunty told us that if they were late from a party – their beds used to be occupied by their dogs and they refused to budge – so they had to sleep on the chair – sofa somehow as they had not got the guts to awaken the dogs and disturb their sleep !!
Well some Dog lovers they were !
Anyways there were others as well – mostly Raos – all Raos in fact – we had in the same enclosure – Capt. Rao, Major Rao, Lt. Rao
They had taught Mom the nitty gritties of making South Indian Dishes – Dhosas & idlies.
There was one Kapoor Aunty also who was our teacher as well.
Well well well…… here I must confess that I was an “andho Main Kani Rani” (In the country of the blind …).
You see I had been in an English Medium School till 1980 – so my Basics were more or less okay – but in Kendriya Vidyalaya – there are students from all categories – jawans, JCOs, Airforce Airmen etc. their English was atrocious – only the Officer’s children could speak good English and write as well ..but the rest somehow managed – I was famous in my school in No time – courtesy English !…also I used to look like Zeenat Aman (according to my friends) at that point of time – and Qurbani had just been released…folks – you can well understand….
I started with saying the pledge ‘ India is my Country’ – since I had a very high vocal pitch – the assembly ground used to reverberate with my voice even without the mike – so in case there was some current / electricity/ battery problem – I used to be called to say the pledge.
I had become so famous for this that I used to be teased – and students from different classes used to say that ‘boss you have made every one your brother – No Indian can marry you now !!’- I used to reply – then fine my hubby will come from abroad !