Mathura (UP) Days – 1984-85
The stay in Mathura was cool! Class 9 – a multiple of 3 – multiples of 3 were always cool for me – the first time ever I came First in my class was in Class III (Sunny Modern School).
Again most of the girls were Army officer’s daughters and there were many civilians as well. We obviously went to Vrindavan and other Krishna temples many a times whenever our relatives used to come over.
The Mathura peda and Rabdi still remains the best I think !I particularly remember the thick cream on the milk which I spread on soft fresh bread with sugar sprinkled on it. Purely divine.
We stayed in the Sister’s Mess for a couple of months – 3 rooms of the barrack was allotted to us. We became very pally with the sisters and often had dhosas and other South Indian dishes at the Mess. Their coffee used to be excellent and often I went to the Matron’s room to have coffee !They told us many a tales of their lives and other experiences.
We later shifted to Officer’s flat. It was convenient for my brother as well for he was in Delhi – Kirorimal College and could come often to visit us.
We used to go to the Officer’s Institute to watch movie every once a week – obviously I used to look forward to it – I took extra care to look good as well – for folks – I was 14 now – and this is the time when a girl needs to know whether boys are looking at her or not …is she looking pretty enough or not. There was tough competition of course – the girls were extremely smart and pretty and fashionable as well – being closer to Delhi – many used to come down on holidays etc. and used to flaunt their latest attires .
Anyways, here I would take the opportunity to thank all the boys of that era to have given me appreciative looks – for it must have raised my confidence level on my looks !…in Kalyug – looks are the only thing that matters I think and I would also like to thank God to let me be born to a good looking couple – because of which my genetic makeup was pretty above average. Also the fact that I must have been a by product of Love-making – for I had read in Linda Goodman that if couples truly love each other then the baby born to them belongs to higher spiritual level – for higher souls also wait to take birth in good homes under good parents. You can observe that people who shine or are bright do have good responsible parents- for in the process of love making – the aura generated – which forms a channel – is bright Golden in color which attract higher souls to take birth.
Anyways, in spite of all the competition, I still managed to draw attention towards myself – courtesy Linda Goodman and Cheiro’s guide to Hand ….the best way to start a conversation and gradually make the other person interested to get closer to you …muaahahahaha.
Some of the guys and girls arranged a Jam session – a kinda dance party where people will take some item from home and kind of we’ll have a nice get together.
Me and my sister went – actually it was because of my sister that I was called for she was in college and it was her age group people who were arranging the party. It was a kinda bonus for me.
We went and danced – distant dancing – not the dirty dancing stuff. Had grub and came back.
One blunder had happened – it was a small mistake but for my ‘Duchess sister straight from a Barbara Cartland novel ‘ , it was blasphemy!! We came to know that some boys had mixed alcohol in their soft drinks ! Well it is not all that big a deal – at least they did not misbehave with us – but for my no-nonsense sister it was the worst thing that they had done.
The next time they invited us for the party – she denied point blank ! She made some extremely lame excuse – extremely lame – and I was wondering why on Earth was she letting go of such a ‘golden opportunity’ ! I mean – it was okay to dance and enjoy life – we were not indulging in anything wrong – and no one can force anyone to do something wrong also . But my sister had her priorities very clear !
She just told me one thing – “ Should I tell Mom that you are desperate to dance with alcoholics?!”
I was flabbergasted ! it was too much the way she described the fun filled and enjoyable evening ! But I could not say anything above her – for she was the one who was invited – I just used to go with her – more or less like a Body guard.
Anyways – when the boys were returning home – we could hear them talk loudly and making fun of the girls – they were passing by our house –saying things like ‘Oh! did you see how she was falling all over me’ – did you notice her dress – so cheap it was!’ etc. I was in my sister’s room at that point of time – and could hear distinctly what they were talking about – my sister just looked my way and said – ‘See they would have been talking about us also this way – they are all the same !’
One day she brought ‘The second Lady’ from the Library. She read it and told me the story – I said I’ll read it – she immediately reacted and said – I have told you the story na – why do you have to read it ! Later I came to know through my friends that it had explicit details of adult nature – hmmm…I said – anyways there was so much work load from school that I hardly had time to read thick novels – I was still in the world of Agatha Christi and Alistair Mc lean, in class 8 th , I think I had finished all the Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys available in the Library and with my friends. There were scores of Mills and Boons lying in the house – my sister used to read it – I just read one – and I found it very pukish – ‘The unwanted bride’ was the name – it was like a z rated hindi movies story ! I read a couple of Barbara Caartland’s though for I found it very amusing to read the love stories of the Dukes and princess etc – basically the royal class – the rich and the famous people – have the most miserable love stories I think !!
Was Sidney Sheldon’s “Stranger in the mirror’ – the Toby one – who becomes a great comedian – marries an Actress who was in love with someone else – how she aborted his child to take revenge…it was YUK ! But anyways I read a couple of others as well – I liked the Doomsday Conspiracy though which, of course I read in 1995.
I remember reading a novel – the Brazilian Boys – most probably- where it was written how Hitler tried to play with genetics as well ! The story line was such that – when the single celled zygote is formed after fertilization – at that point of time the nucleus will be extracted and replaced with the nucleus of Hitler’s body cell – and planted in the womb !!Thus the child will grow up to have all the traits of Hitler only. But environmental factors were to be taken care of as well – so a murderer was hired to kill the Fathers of those children when they reach the age of 14 – for Hitler had lost his father at that age !! I was really amazed at the Author’s psychology ! How can someone even think of such a concept !! hail Science !!
We were in Class 9 th then and about 5 months or so had passed, we did not have a proper Biology Teacher and nor were the other Science Teachers good. Many Teachers were sent but since it was not their subject – they could not teach us all that well – thus my affinity towards Science was fizzling out !I had more or less decided on my mind that Science was not my cup of tea after all and I would take up Arts!
But Gods had other plans for me – suddenly the Teachers changed – and the 3 important Teachers – Chemistry, Physics and Biology – all three of them suddenly appeared the Best to me! Especially our Biology Madam. She was a thin lady who used to wear many glass bangles – we had named her ‘Bangles Madam’ she used to write on the Board and her bangles used to jingle like no body’s business ! But boy! the way she taught – she was just awesome ! She used to get Models plus colored chalks to draw diagrams – like for example the process of Cell Division – Meiosis – with sister chromatids separating and again mingling etc. I used to be dumbfounded while she taught us. One day I was probably looking at the Board blankly – actually I was drinking each and every word of hers – when she suddenly looked my way – and said –
‘Yes ? You there – have you understood?”
I said :Yes.
She : Tell me what I taught just now.
I repeated every word as she uttered – Verbatim !
I could see the shock on her facial expression – she was not expecting such precise description ! Anyways – it was at that point of time – I could clearly see that I had made some space for myself in her Good Books !
Later whenever she taught – she often used to look my way – it sometimes became very embarrassing as well – for my friends used to comment whether she could only see me among the rest of the 35-40 students !Well – I did live up to her expectations – I got 48 out of 50 in the Biology 10 th class Board Exams – I got the highest in my class in Biology only !
Another Teacher I would like to mention here was an English Teacher – Hakim Sir – in KV Binnaguri – his English was impeccable and the way he spoke was too stylish – I used to copy his way of speech as well.
10 th class wouldn’t be such a big deal if people don’t make such a big issue about the same !!
In Mathura I used to live in a small room – all to myself – for my sister did not like the way I kept my clothes and books – so we separated and I took the small room – it had a glass book rack and since I had some million study materials – I chose that room – I decorated all the images of Gods that I had . I had bought Krishna and Radha Idols and used to give them ‘dry fruits and water’ that I had learnt from Sharma Aunty.I had many images like – Shirdi Sai Nath , Ramakrishna and Sarada Ma, Radha, Krishna, Lord Shiva, Saraswati, Ganesh…almost all of them. There were Chatterjees (he retired as General Chatterjee, AMC) both Uncle and Aunty were very religious – they wanted to present me with some idol and had come to my room and commented – What can we give her – she has them all !!
Anyways – my room used to be very messy – Sheba’s small bed was also in my room. I had to be very careful while turning the pages of my book while trying to study late night – so as to not disturb Sheba – coz’ she started to scream if disturbed and would awaken the entire locality !!Because of my messy room – my father used to call me ‘Refugee’…and I was called ‘ Refugee Tina’ by many close ones who happened to visit my house….my room !
I gave my 10 th class boards and passed as well !! Big Deal !!I passed in first division – 67%.yeah yeah – Thanks for congratulating me !
Some parrots lay eggs in the hole of a tree just near our house. Many parrots in fact had had some honeymoon kinda thing because of which there were many chicks around. Our Helper bhaiya brought some 5-6 of them. We got a cage made by the Unit’s Carpenter and started feeding them. I tried to teach them but others said that they will never learn to speak human language because they are busy talking to each other – there were so many of them after all !
After few months – the parrots started showing symptoms of ‘wanting to kick the bucket’ – like they could not keep their heads straight and appeared as if their head was broken !
We, me and my mother, took out individual parrots and messaged their necks with ‘Dolopar’ and gave them the warmth with a help of cloth heated by a candle light. They straightened – but only for 2 days. Later someone said that its lack of calcium and vitamin D – they were anyways kept in the sun in the morning – for they shrieked early in the morning waking us all up at 4 am itself !! Then they were given egg shells and calcium tablets as well…but one after the other – they started to die.
Just one survived – and only that one used to respond to our call – for the first time we could introduce some wee bit of training to a pet in the house – neither the cats nor Sheba ever took to training !
Then later we used to open the door of the cage so that it could eat itself – some worms or whatever it wanted. There was a guava tree nearby and it used to sit there. But without fail , it came back to its cage and entered it at dusk. Later we noticed that some parrots used to pass by and one parrot used to talk to it for hours together – all the time chirping with our pet parrot. We could understand that maybe the forest parrot is counseling our pet to elope with it ! But we wanted it to happen for it had no friends and we thought our pet would be happy with a mate.
Well ! it took pretty long for the forest lover to convince our pet – it eventually flew off with its mate – towards ..brighter horizons…… But we were very happy for them.
Then Sheba came of age and we thought of mating her with some Pomeranian / Spitz breed. There were two friends – Poppy and Gufi in our neighborhood. It was amazing actually to see them both play – both were males and it was really the talk of the town …localty – that how come two males were so pally !..but a heroine had to come in between ! and that was none other than our Sheba!!
Poppy was pure white but Gufi had a brown patch on its forehead so the obvious choice was Poppy. I went personally to Aunty to bring Poppy to my house for Sheba. Well folks mating does not happen in one day so the first day we invited our son-in-law – Poppy – but he failed to impress Sheba – she just snapped him off !!
But by that time, Poppy had come to know that there was a Heroine in our house ! And probably Gufi also came to know about it – so next morning we saw Gufi peeping through the front window and Poppy at the back ! It really became difficult to control them – we actually had to ring them up to send their Helpers to take them back !!
One day in the evening, both the male came face to face and Sheba was there in the garden. Gufi and Poppy started to fight – seeing them fight …like dogs and dogs…hindi filmish – I quickly tried to pick up Sheba and bring her in – to my surprise she snapped at me and was happily watching them fight – wagging her tail !! Later I came to know that it was an animal instinct to select the one who wins the battle – in order to get a stronger progeny…genetically stronger !! I was amazed at the intelligence of the animals…females especially …only if humans – women were as intelligent & educated enough to understand the quality of a man before ‘beeping’ with him…our world would definitely have been different …(deep sigh).
Anyways, both Poppy and Gufi failed to do the needful – for Sheba was too snappy!! She bit Poppy on the nose !! and it started to bleed. We quickly asked Bhaiya to take Poppy back and gave up the idea of mating Sheba – maybe next season we thought. I used to go for a walk through that route with Reena – my class mate. I took the longer route to reach her house – for Aunty (Poppy’s Owner) would certainly have caught me and questioned about Poppy’s bleeding nose.
After a week, when things were normal – I started going the short cut route…but folks – your worst fears come true – Poppy’s Owner – Aunty caught me on my way and asked me :
She : Tina – did Sheba bite Poppy on the nose?
Me: um..no (instant lie for I was the culprit)
She: Of course ! after he came from your house, he was bleeding……you should at least have the courtesy to inform us na – we didn’t know who had bitten Poppy…it could have been a stay dog as well – we would have to take action accordingly…that was very bad on your part indeed !!
I felt miserable that day – wished I hadn’t lied !!-
Lesson : One should never lie or hide vital leads to a mystery.
Anyways – every time it was tried – it was the same game – Snappy Sheba – she was also called ‘Katkhanni’ – the one who bites ! Once in Gangtok also it was tried – the same story repeated – bleeding dog and complaining Aunty. Well I think there was a bigger picture behind after all. The kinds we are – we would have been too attached to Sheba’s pups and would never have had the heart to givethem away to someone else – thus our house would have been like the 101 Dalmatians …101 Spitz wala house…..so Sheba never gave birth to pups !
I had escaped pox. But had measles during the Class 9 summer vacations. My parents had to leave for Kolkata for something urgent so for about 2 weeks or so, we were left under the protection of Colonel Chatterjee who lived opposite our residence. One day Aunty came to pay me a viist and I was puking out whatever I was taking in. Aunty offered to feed me – as she put grub in my mouth – I was about to vomit it out – but I saw Aunty quickly put her hand under my mouth as if to catch the vomit while it falls from my mouth !! I was really surprised at her attitude – how could she put her hand and take the dirt that I puked !! Anyway – I did not puke – but that gesture of Aunty really touched me !!
Both of them are now active members of Ramakrishna Sarada Mission in Haridwar I think.
I could sense that someone was walking in our corridor with probably wearing wooden sandals for it made a noise – as if someone was walking in a ‘dragging the feet’ manner. I used to be semi awake – in fact fully aware – and I used to be pretty scared as well.
Then one day I felt that someone lifted my mosquito net and with large palms stroked my head thrice and then left – I could feel the pressure that the Dunlop gets when someone sits on it – as the entity was leaving – I dared to open my eyes – all I could decipher was an orange colored cloth. I had this feeling that it was Shirdi Sai Nath ji. But as usual no one believed me !!