Like all young guns I also had my first day in school. Nothing amusing about it but its something that’s very special to me.
I remember the day when my parents arranged a small get together inviting only close relatives for my “khalli” (please suggest an English equivalent for this ceremony) ceremony. I was about 4 years old naughty, inquisitive, curious, and twinkle in the eyes sort of kid. I could easily feel the warmth and affection almost everybody used to give me, irrespective of the proximity of the relationship.
The ceremony was scheduled to start at about 8 am, but it started at 8 am IST, i.e. at 10 am. We had to wait for everybody who was invited to be present for the occasion. For me, it was a brand new day for mischief. I can still see myself dressed in that white “kurta – dhoti” outfit. My mother, however, kept on warning me not to go anywhere near the place where the family priest was about to setup things for the ceremony. But, my curiousness knew no bounds. I started playing with the fruits, and sweets, and other stuff lying there. I had to be transported to a safer far-off place, it was difficult but the task was assigned to my elder brother so he did it with perfection.
When it all started, my father placed me on his lap and performed the rituals. I was then asked to write something on a slate. I enjoyed making the map of the world, and all the groovy mid 70’s design comprising of circles and dots and curves. My father had to intervene and then he brought some order to chaos on the slate. The ceremony was complete.
The decision was almost unanimous to port me to the same school where my elder siblings were ported. I was always told that they were simply outstanding as far as studies went, and that they always stood first in their class. That was to motivate me to do better. I used to think the same until I reached 7th or 8th standard that they were like me! At that point in time it was the biggest revelation of all times for me.
I first went on to the school Principal’s office along with my parents for admission and some kind of parent teacher meeting. The Principal was actually the director of the school, and after being a mute witness of my activities in his office he declared that I am “abnormal”. All I did was that I touched some shield kind of a thing in his office and it fell down along with some other things. But I didn’t break anything! After returning from school my parents declared the principal “abnormal” after some mutual discussion.
The day has finally arrived, I don’t remember the date but it was the year 1985, after the assassination of Indira Gandhi – I remember this because I saw people going crazy and ransacking some shops owned by Sikhs in my locality. Not a very good thing to remember, but that’s how the brain works. My elder brother and my mother went to school with me and gave me a lot of biscuits and precious advice that went over my ears and whatever oozed in went over my head.
I was good as long as they were present, but as soon as they started to leave I went crazy. I was crying as if it was the end of the world for me. I remember that moment and I can tell you that I can still feel it, it was not good, and I felt very bad. I don’t like people leaving me, I go mad, and I feel devastated. My classroom was at the first floor, and after crying my heart out I just ran out of the class. I was just a kid then, a small kid wearing half sleeves and half pant, and I ran, I toppled a few times but I didn’t care, I went down the stairs and then ran towards the main gate – which was quite far because the school had a large playing area. I finally stopped at the closed gate, and I couldn’t do anything after that, that was the end of my struggle - and that marked a new phase in my life.
It’s been destined that I find it very difficult to transition from one phase of my life to another. I don’t know if it’s with me or with everybody. You might think why do I remember all of this all of a sudden? Actually, my son is about to go to playgroup starting this June. I will try my best to ensure that his transitions are smooth. But, then my parents also tried the same. There are some things that an individual must go through and that are how he learns the intricacies of life. I guess its Sonit’s turn to take on the world. I wish him all the best. I love him more than anything else in this world, he is the center of my universe, and he is making a transition now.
Sonit can be reached at Sonit.Sahay@gmail.com