Sunday, June 21, 2009

Journey to Kolkata (Entry dated 09/06/2008 )

Last week I concluded my days in North Eastern part of the country and landed in West Bengal. Well that actually doesn't end my relationship with North East as such, as Agartala being my mother's hometown, my dida, mashis, mamas have been staying there and are still there. So that is one connection that still exists, and will always will. There are beautiful memories of childhood associated with Agartala....of the garden, huge varieties of flowers.....getting up in the misty mornings accompanying my dida with a miniature flower basket ...plucking the colourful flowers..and then my dida in the her pristine white saree with her freshly washed long hair, chanting the mantras in the puja room – lit up with a diya and fragrance of agarbattis wafting in the air…..these were the times where u feel nearest to god…..though I was too young to realize this at that time….

Normally we try and capture all our memories through cameras and camcorders, and keep it neatly arranged in cupboards to pull put and savour in leisure…But the real photographs and videos are the ones which are embedded in our memory, it only requires us to close out eyes & take our mind back….It is all so clear and sparkling….DVD quality or even better………..This was one of those memories……all so new and fresh to the last detail….after so many years…..though it has been more than 12 years she is no longer with us…..

Now to Khardah – the northern suburb of Kolkata where my father spent most of his growing up years, after being uprooted from Noakhali district of East Bengal. My grandfather (dadu) and his elder brother had come and settled in Khardah, and they were both led very respectable careers as teachers. Dadu had 4 brothers as 2 sisters and he was the youngest. The 3 elder brothers settled down in Deogarh in Bihar with their families, after being forced to move out of the ancestral home….My father, spent few his early years in Deogarh also, under the affectionate care of jethimas and jethus, and having fun with cousins….

Later, he moved to Khardah, and continued his schooling, college , university and career….More about his growing up years later … I have learnt from him over the years….

So, from Howrah station we reached KhardahDadur Bari – the two-storey house tucked away in Khardah – near the landmark “Paragon Ground”, a refreshing green patch used by local children and youth for sports and recreation. This ground has withstood the test of time and exists till date!!

Then started the search for admission to school....I was in Class -3 and in the middle of the term. Folks, I shared with you my school life in Dimapur earlier. The reason of the collective delight of my parents when Kendriya Vidyalaya(KV) was coming up in Dimapur and more so when I succeeded in getting through the admission tests after rigorous Hindi training sessions !!! Now since My father had got a transfer in mid-term of school session, they were comfortable with the thought that I would surely get admission in one of the many KVs in and around Kolkata....But the challenge here was to secure admission in a school nearby so as to avoid too much travel....

The running around started - to KV Sangathan office in Kolkata for admission. Admission was offered in Fort William school which was around 20 km away from home and would have made traveling a nightmare ........Kolkata traffic was bad those days also, with limited and infrequent buses in that direction.......After some more haggling, urging, negotiating and moving back and forth - Success finally!!!!!! Admission to Air Force Central School in Barrackpore was confirmed, as desired....And one fine day my admission was over and I joined Class 3 - B, the class teacher being Bandana Madam.

It was a big school, with every class having 4 sections..........big playground, lot of open spaces around. And the most exciting part was that it was in the middle of Air Force Station and hence we could enjoy views of Air Force Planes taking off and landing pretty frequently....

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