Monday, February 27, 2006

People I Remember

While we were growing up, we were protected, sheltered and safe in our parents nests, a lot of tragedies passed us by but the optimism of youth made us look forward to better things and better times ahead and our parents probably made sure that we did not get affected, but there are two people who still take me back to the very early school days.

Rohit Mathur

Rohit was a fellow back bencher in class 5 who sat next to me. We were thankful to be slightly away from Ms Sahay's watchful eye and at times we could whisper and copy work. Rohit loved to play football and often used to stay back after school for practice sessions. Apparently it seemed he had two good friends, Virender and Deepak. One day during the morning assembly, the principal gravely announced that Rohit was hospitalized as he was injured by a ball which hit him on the back of his head and asked us all to pray for him. Two days later, he announced that Rohit was no more and we should all stand and observe a 2 minute silence. At that time we all went through it in a daze but I can still recall how acutely empty the seat next to me felt and now that I look back, Deepak (Rohit's friend) retreated into a quiet shell and never quite came out of it. His other friend Virender went on to become a person who was frequently suspended for his various misdeeds. I am still scared of balls; I freeze everytime one is thrown at me...

Kalpana Dhingra

She was another of my neighbors in class. I can remember her from class 3 but I got to know her better only in class 4. She was the bright one, all teachers favored her, her copy was used as show piece and her handwriting was the best. She also had these huge braces on her feet, she could not walk without help but we never noticed, to us she was just Kalpana. At times we took turns to stay with her during recess instead of going out to play so she had company and at times we would take her to the washroom. Children unknowingly can be harsh, because of her many disabilities she did not have too many friends. Whoever she talked about at home were graciously invited to spend a day at their home. Kalpana's Mother took greatest care of us and I had some of the most delicious food there. I vaguely realized that somehow there was an air of fatality around, she had some sort of a degenerative illness which sapped her strength each day. We lost touch after class 5 but I used to hear things from here and there. One day I read in the papers that a blind girl named Kalpana had passed the class 10 exams with flying colors, I was due to give my class 12 exams; I guess she was brighter than all of us put together only her body betrayed her...

1 comment:

deep said...

Very touching... Made me nostalgic, and took me places in my own past I had long forgotten...