Category: hostel

Magic in my life!

The Magic Faraway Tree (novel)
Image via Wikipedia

I was in class 4th when I had joined the hostel, you must have read about it in my earlier post ‘meeting my loneliness’. This post is not about my escapades in the hostel. Its about my awakening to the world of  reading, to the world of fantasy and imagination, a world which has been exclusively mine.

Before I had joined the hostel I was unaware of what a library looked like. Strange? Yes, it startles me too when I see the kids now, smaller than what I was then, reading books I read much later. I was a part of a joint family where reading was never encouraged, had never seen anyone reading, except the news paper. So the first day I had walked into the library I was a Virgin to the world of literature. We had a big library with a great collection of books. From the classics to the new world, we had one of the best collection of hindi fiction I have ever come across. Later found that the library was a different world inside the school campus.

I wanted to share the first book I read in my life. A book which I cherish more than any other even today. It was randomly picked by me from the kids section of the library. ‘The Enchanted Wood‘ by Enid Blyton. The Enchanted wood was a series which also had ‘The magic faraway tree‘, ‘The folk of the faraway tree‘ and ‘Up the faraway tree’. The story was so enchanting that it forced me to continue my journey of literary enlightment.

It was about 3 siblings Joe, Beth and Frannie, who had moved to the country side near the woods with their parents. During one of their scouts into the woods  they come across a tree which was so tall that the top branches led to the clouds. They discover that it was the magic faraway tree which was the home to the magical beings like  fairies, pixies and goblins. There was Mr. Moonface who had a face like a moon, Silky the little fairy who was the sweetest most adorable character I have come across,  Dame washalot who would keep washing clothes and throw the water down the tree, the Saucepan Man he wore saucepans, Mr. Watzisname, the Angry Pixie. The top of the tree had a ladder which would lead to the clouds which had magical lands, these magical worlds would keep changing as the clouds would move. There was the land of magic and the land of tipsy turvy, the land of birthdays and the land of goodies, the best was the land of take-what-you-want (the names tells you all). The children would climb the tree whenever they got the permission to get into the woods and would go on an adventure with their magical friends in the magical lands on the cloud.

Whoa!! even writing about it makes me dream, I consider Enid Blyton was the most gifted children author of all times, with an imagination as wild as a child‘s she knew how to make imaginations come alive, simply brilliant. She can give J.K. Rowling a run for her pen anyday. The Enchanted Wood series are the books which I have read like a zillion times and each time I have read it was as vivid as the first time. Its one of those rare books which relaxes me and rekindles the  feelings of creativity and imagination, even in the bluest moment. Its such a fascinating story which for me has been a journey on its own. Had it not been for these books I, reading might not have been a part of my life. I am truly indebted to Enid Blyton for writing such wonderful books which are unspoken masterpieces. I would firmly recommend all you people who like fantasy tingling you and driving through a lane created by you at your own pace, its a must read. If not you then do gift it to your children and children around you.

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EXPLORING THE UNEXPLORED !!

Writing about the glorious past of my life and trying to be short is an impossible task. Still trying to be as short as I can, and this is the shortest I can be in sharing the phase of my life which taught me about life. So in continuation to ‘Meeting my loneliness’, its time to share when I explored the unexplored. I know its a bit long, couldnt make it any shorter, but I am sure you all would enjoy every bit of it.

I had made friends and got down to being busy with the endless schedule of the school, the loneliness had disappeared. Things were all happy and nice. I was learning how to do things on my own, without the comfort of mom. Was washing my clothes, cleaning my room, polishing my shoes, attending a morning 4 to 9 routine. Learnt reading books, got better in yoga, went to the doctor on my own, so a lot of firsts were happening and I was enjoying life. Mom, dad and dodo would visit me often and I would always see them off with a happy smile. A year had passed, I was more used to the life in the school than with my family by now. Mom told me that soon Dodo would also be joining me and I need to play the role of big brother more than I have done before. The day they came to drop Dodo, he was happy for the fact that he would be finally living with me, and I was sad for the fact that no one would be there to take care of Mom and Dad. I cried for the last time.

They say rules are meant to be broken; I broke rules and learnt that blasting and shattering the rules gave more sadistic pleasure than breaking. Had started to bunk classes, sneaking to the out of bound domains, stealing fruits from the orchard, breads from the bakery, bunking sleep, and a lot more. Learnt about the theories of life and death, sex and self pleasure. Was shocked to know how birth took place, and for the first and the last time thought I was lucky to be a man.  Had discovered the pleasure magazines, was reading Sidney Sheldons and Eric Segal than Enid Blyton. That was me enjoying my growing from a boy to a man. Was told man because I was now enjoying the so-called adult domain.

Four years had passed, by now I had taken part in the literary activities, was debating and reciting, was acting and teaching, yes teaching as I had been made the captain of the school yoga team, was told that I was the youngest to achieve this. Was made the prefect of my house, well it was something prestigious, the juniors were always scared and the batchmates envious as the I enjoyed some privileges and had a sort of prefectory immunity.

Had reached class 8th and moved to the senior hostel. We had one junior hostel and three senior hostels. Though I had moved to the senior hostel but became a junior. The ragging phase in the hostel life was about to start. I had always been in good books of the teachers, they all thought me to be the kind of model student, did fairly well in studies as well as the other activities, this status always helped me in my escape route when I did the wrong. The ragging had started, works of the seniors were being delegated to us, from doing their homework and practical works, to getting water and washing their clothes. Then a shocking thing happened, one night I was woken up from my sleep by a senior and asked to follow him to his room. Was asked to kiss him and touch him, felt like the moment before the rape, had to hit him and escape to hiding, this is when I got to know that homosexuality was existing in this all boys school. I was beaten up the next day for not doing what I was asked for, but I was happy for the beating as I didn’t have to kiss and touch that ugly bastard.

Class 9th was the time when we knew that we were getting close to power. Yes, power because we were heading towards class 10th, which was the dominant and breaking free phase of every boarders life. In the last semester of class 9th the students of 10th and 12th clashed after being instigated by the lie of one of my class mate, some of them were hospitalised, police was called and the school was declared closed sine die. Learnt that one lie can actually affect the life of 800 others.

Finally reached class 10th, the time we all had waited for from the day we had joined the school. Walked into the school after the summer vacations with the heads high, collar up, eyes open and ears closed. Was greeted by the juniors as sir and the teachers would not raise their voices (I know it sounds too filmy but that’s how it was), and a big change was that I had money in my pockets for the first time in my life, we never needed money before as everything for prepaid.  We were now doing things at our own wish and time, the school time-table was a piece of shit and it we had our own time-table which the school would follow. It was a Sunday, me and a friend had sneaked out of the school campus after beating and threatening the security guard who had tried to stop us, we headed to the city to buy a cake for a friend’s birthday. I saw my first porn movie in a stinky theatre, later realised where the stink came from. On our way back to the school we saw a wine store and thought of picking some beers, afterall we were adults now. Picked 4 bottles of beer, which had turned hot by the time we got back, drank alcohol (hot beer) for the first time hiding in the toilet,  thought I can never drink it again, good I didn’t follow my thoughts, else would have never experienced the meaning of the quote “the world looks more beautiful when you are high”.

By the time I was about to finish my hostel life I had smoked my first cigarette, learnt reading books, tried my hands in painting, had excelled in yoga, sneaked out to the highway dhabas to eat and drink, sneaked in VCR players to watch porn movies in the hostel, beaten up some teachers, kicked some asses, made bed under my bed to escape from attending classes, featured on the list of blacklisted students of the school, gave a shock to the Principal by being on this list, I stood confident and independent, able to handle anything in life, and many many more things which were the firsts of my life and which had paved the way to my glorious future.

We were in the last day of the school and the feeling of going back to home was the same as I had felt the first day I came to the hostel. I was sad yet happy and I was all set for exploring the new part of my life. I knew that the friends I have lived day and night with for 7 years would go invisible forever, didn’t have the social networking sites to keep in touch with them. But then I was excited to see the world out of the bounds of hostel, which was so far inexistent in my life. I still cherish every moment I have lived in the hostel and truly thank my parents to have been strong and sent me there. What I am today is all because of these 7 years of adventurous life.

MEETING MY LONELINESS…

I had been thinking of what to write, and finally after a lot of tussle with my thoughts I decided to share the phase of my life which paved way to what I am today. It’s too difficult to share it in such a short space, can actually write a book on it, so I would be brief and would write it in two parts as I don’t want you all to go through the pain of reading it all at once :).

Was seven when Mom and Dad took me on a drive to a school which was in the outskirts of Ranchi, it had a massive campus, dad had told me its spread on 200 acres of land which I definitely didn’t understand at that time. I just liked the fact that it had huge playgrounds and lots of kids playing. Later realised that Mom and Dad were preparing me for my life changing experience.

1991:     I was 9, looked 6, was driven down to the same school again, everything was same as the last time except that I was wearing the school uniform as I had seen the kids wearing and had a big steel trunk loaded with clothes and things. I was exhilarated and happy about the fact that I would be staying at a place which had so many kids and I can make lots of friends and play all as much I wanted. The idea of being away from the family had not struck me yet. Reached school, I was given a roll number, 842, this was going to be my name for the next 7 years, yes we were called by our roll numbers and not by names. Infact I didn’t even know the names of some of my friends by the time we had passed out of the school. I was shown the room, it had 3 beds and wardrobes, there were no door and windows, it was just open spaces. They said it was not there to check the students from doing anything wrong. Wondered what wrong could I do? Yes I was at my innocent best at that time, unfazed by the good and bad, I was all good and bad didn’t exist for me. I was introduced to my housemaster Mr. Mankad, who was also the school yoga teacher, was the beginning of an informal relationship as I was eventually set to lead the school Yoga team. Mom had organised my wardrobe, made my bed, gave me the last most advises, and it was time for them to leave. I saw them off with a smile; mom had red eyes and was trying to be silent, Dad and Dodo (that’s my bro) looked sad, and were forcing themselves to smile, they left and I kept looking at the car till it had disappeared. I got back to my room, relaxed, met some guys from my batch, had dinner, slept. This was my first day of living alone and away from my family.

Woke up at 3 in the morning and for the first time in life felt what loneliness was, for the first time felt what luxury of being at home was and how much I loved my family. I had tears in my eyes and felt breathless, wanted to cry aloud but couldn’t. I wanted to run back home but knew it was impossible, so wished I could lock myself away from the eyes of everyone, I wished I was invisible and unheard. I didn’t feel like even going out of my room, but had to get into the school routine, which added to the pain. In the afternoon mom, dad and dodo gave me a surprise visit, brought me smile with tears. Later got to know that my room-mate had told the housemaster about my crying, so Mr. Mankad had called my Dad to inform that I was being a cry baby, and they should come and see me. Mom and Dad asked me to be strong and learn things and make friends and asked me never to cry again as they were always around. That was the second last time I cried for being away from home and started the journey of endless adventure and learning and the inception of my new life.