Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Childhood in my memory - part 1

A Village on the top of mountain:
I think of a childhood partially lived at home and then at the boarding school and I share it occasionally with  friends. Living in that school was own choice of a child of age 10 because, he was not interested in learning at a school which, was at a walking distance of about 2 kms from his home, at the base of the mountain. Reaching home at his village at the top of mountain, at 4:00 PM in the evening and leaving for school at 7:00 AM was the daily routine.
He never loved when his mom told him to live at home while she went outside to collect the grass for the animals from the small grass valleys on the nearby mountains. He cried and thought that his cries will be successful to make them carry him along with them because, he loved to wander at different places. 
Some days he didn't love to bath because the soap was itchy to his eyes and he loved to sit in front of fire afterwards until water drops were on his body skin. He feared some ghosts hiding inside the room of  home.
He loved Sun and loved to wander over the mountains in the day but,  his mother thought he was small yet and would not be able to walk with her. After living a childhood with his cousin sisters and an elder brother and few others from the village whom he never really liked much because, he already had tried smoking and was introduced to masturbation. 
So, somehow he believed that these all things make a child into a man. What a tragic thing was going on, he was confused with the idea of a true man, he must have been introduced to the great leaders and somehow he was introduced to ignorance. Deep down, his soul denied all this, he knew that this was not right, he had to find the right.
This was a child who was having certain dangerous beliefs which could have ruined his life and who knows, of others too. Childhood is a very delicate state of a human mind and once, scars gets their place in, it is very difficult to live a normal life.
There was no man made toilet facilities at that time in the villages so, one has to go to the open areas away from the village. Once he broke his arm by falling from somewhere and  penalized his mother, she already had so much other work to do.
She herself had seen a limited geographical world,  this village and her childhood village to be precise. Still a mother has no option but to do whatever she can, she went to the nearby town and managed to get the plaster on the arm. That is mother. 
His father use to have only about 2 months holidays in a year, other months he offered his services to Indian Para-military. 
While she spoke of her girl child who was no more in this world, tears rolled down from her eyes and although he never saw his sister, he felt a part of the feelings too. After weeping, she would tell her listener that she got a little engaged with him, because he was born afterwards. He had seen this session of weeping and telling the same line about him, many times. He never wanted his mother to cry so, while his own eyes watered but always hiding them, he would ask her not to cry
Preparations for a change:

Somehow this is not what he wanted in life so, was happy to announce that he is leaving the home to go to study in a better school. With the help of the head-master at school, he filled the entrance form for Jawahar Navodaya School Mandi.

He feared of the rejection by his parents, of his demand to go to the boarding school because he thought that once he is away from home, he is going to get a lot of freedom, because there will be no brother and mother who can show authority over his own actions. He was thrilled with the thought of freedom. Freedom from the boring routines and the threat of his father yelling at him, and making him do the things in his own way. He feared to lose the un-attained freedom.
Freedom from a childhood which he loved from few reasons, but almost hated due to certain reasons. He knew his parents loved him, but he hated the path of fear. He never loved to be fear driven, which he felt when he thought of the punishment which he might get if he do not follow certain rules or order. May be his parents never would have thought it to be this much difficult for him, but it was. He had become aggressive with his own behavior.
He had already lived a life of almost 10 years in which, he loved to be the topper of his class and he loved his parents to give him 10 rupees to treat every person met on the day in the village with a candy on the day of final annual results on 31st march. Up to 4th standards every year, he followed that candy sharing rountine as an annual ritual on 31st March because he loved to be topper of a class of 5 chldren who were from the same village.
He sang a 2 lined poem with other children when the day(31st March) neared every year, which goes like this :
"31 March ka din aayega,
koi hansega koi royega" (March 31st will come, some will laugh(happy) and some will cry)
Of course he always laughed, and shared the candies with the people of the village. This lovely academic past and the teaching of his school headmaster who, offered free coaching at his home which was in the other village and so, with the residential support of his far related sister he got prepared for the examination. The year was 1998 when he went to give the exam at  GSSS Chauntra.

Finally! the result came and it was positive.
Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya - A child's home 
He was confused and shy to share anything with his new friends at the new place. He started living in a hostel, named as Shivalik Hostel, which was occupied with the children of his own age and children of age 16.
Children of age 16 appeared to him as his triple in his over all body size and among all these giants(as appeared to him), there was Ravi, who was basically from a nearby village of his home village. This 11th standard commerce student was welcomed him along with his parents, and promised that he is going to take care of him.
Living in the hostel was not an easy job for everyone, and for him also, because he never liked to see them cry for their parents, or over some issue with seniors which was occasional in the hostel. There were some issues, like juniors were forced to wash their cloths by their seniors forcefully. Some children were brave enough to tell it to their parents.
He was not worried much about such issues until the end of class 7, because this was the year when Ravi passed out from the school. He wrestled with some of his classmates as a famous show to some of his seniors, but never a serious fight. He warned his seniors with the name of Ravi, who already had slapped someone whom he reported to be disturbing me.
He had a habit of wandering here and there so Ravi had nick-named his as "Chiru" which means a bird. However he never learned the reason behind the name, so he hated the name. But he never opposed his seniors to call him by the name especially Ravi, because he was protective and was acting as an elder brother. He loved his real name "Sanju" and loved when they called him by that name. Some of the hostel mates learned about this and they called him by his real name only, and he always was sincere enough to return the good behavior.
He never thought that this was going to be like this, a place where there were more routines than, he could ever have imagined. There was a ring of bell for every action throughout the day. Morning was not at 7:00AM but at 5:00AM in summer and at 5:30AM or 6:00AM in the winters. Eyes never opened in the arms of the mother, but they were opened by the cold air which ran in the opposite direction with the same speed and sometimes faster with which he moved along with other 400 to 500 students of the school.
There were the facilities of the bathroom and toilets attached to the dormitories where lived almost 80 students in each one of the four. They were named by the name of the mountains "Shivalik", "Aravali", "Udaigiri" and "Neelgiri".
The school was very near to the Beas river which originates from Parvati and then follows a very dangerous path of deep valleys. Finally it went to the lower destinations through the back side of the school. 
To be contd....