Monday, March 2, 2009


Late 1980s.

Indian education system usually starts with a grade called LKG (Lower Kindergarten), but this kid’s (to keep it simple – let me use the name ram) started with another one before that PGC (Pregarten class) . He might be around five when his parents sent him to this school; not a boarding school but it’s kind of a betterment to it.

Ram is all happy buying stuff for the new school – books, clothes, bed sheets ...etc; everything new, well pressed and covered. Informing everyone about the new school, he never realized that he is going to be away all alone from his parents until that evening when his parents left him in the school’s hostel. Thought he was reluctant to go to the hostel initially he had to surrender to the new people there. Cried, cried and tired he fell asleep in his bed that night. Waking up next morning it occurred to him for a moment that he was still dreaming and that new voice of the hostel caretaker brought him to reality. He began digesting the harsh realities and days passed by. He slowly started getting used to the school life. Right from the Karate sessions early in the morning to the late night caretaker’s repeated moaning “No bed-wetting” kept him on his toes, though he could hardly keep up on the later which eventually made him famous in the hostel. He liked his teacher s and started picking up well with his studies and also made some good friends.

Discipline is of utmost priority in that school and that principal is well known all around for his tough and strict rules inside and outside the class. He is very keen on making sure that the students are always in the pink of their health and never allowed anyone to miss the morning exercises. Though his intentions are good, kids always kept away from him fearing his giant structure and grunt voice. One another thing which kept the kids away from him were the dogs which always accompanied him wherever he went. These were let free during the nights with the gates closed.

A letter to parents every fortnight used to raise hopes in him without him knowing that he really can’t write all his feelings on his own, coz it used to be a kind of dictation by his teachers. Parents might have been happy to see a letter from their kid (in his own writing) but not vice versa. The only other things that kept him happy are the news about the holidays for which kids can go home and the parents meet where parents come to school and get to meet their kids. These two are the most universal things in that hostel for which all the other kids are also happy. Every parents meet used to be fun for the kids for variety of reasons – they get to meet their parents, tell them many things (of course our hero always said that he wanted to come back home), new clothes, sweets… etc. Every time his parents left the school after the parents meet he always felt that he was thrown back into the black hole.

Though he used to fare well in the exams, progress/grade report never excited him, but the holidays that followed them are the only ones for which he used to jump in joy. Once, after the first quarter exams were over Ram left for home with his father for a ten day holiday. All excited he packed as much stuff as he can hoping that he would never return to this monotonous world again. Way home, sitting by the window side next to his father, he saw each and everything without an eye wink as if it was a whole new world he has never been into. All the holidays were fun playing with all his friends and enjoying with his family and in no time he was on that day when he has to leave for the school. With all his friends all around and their schools yet to open he did not want to come back to school. Seeing his mother packing all his stuff for the school he started throwing up and crying at his peak voice. It was his mother’s turn to make so many promises to him like those - to buy him a new bi-cycle, new toys and games when is back next time and such and finally succeeded in her attempts. He had to start his way back half-hearted.

Back in the black hole, he threw his stuff on bed and came back to stay with his parents. When it was time for his parents to bid him good bye he started throwing up gain and crying all over places. This time it was not softer way like his mother, the hostel care taker and unfortunately his principal were to console (rather take into control) him in their style. He had to surrender before the giant structure and bid good bye to them with wiped face. Thought he kept the principal happy for the moment, he decided to see his parents again and go back home.

Lying in his bed crying he was still thinking of meeting his parents. The bell rang and it was time for dinner, all the kids started towards the dining room. Ram thought that this is the moment he is waiting for and jumped into the toilet and closed the door behind him. He waited to hear the last footsteps of his hostel caretaker to make sure that he was the only one left out in the hostel. He collected all his coins (pocket money) his mother gave him when he was back at home. Wasting no time he reached the hostel gate and to his astonishment the gates were open. He turned back to see if there was someone coming towards the gate and seeing a truck being unloaded far away at the kitchen he said thanks to the truck within himself at least a hundred times. Though half-way through in no time, he almost lost his heart at the sight of the dogs making rounds in the big open ground before the main gate. Getting through the huge main gate almost 50 feet away was a herculean task before him. Not knowing what is going to happen he laid down, crawled and crawled towards the main gate and made sure that he did not catch the dogs eyes during the course. Paying no attention to the badly bruised elbows he reached the gate and found that it was closed. For a moment his brain turned blank. Fortunately the gates were high enough from the ground for him to get to other side from below them. He continued crawling one foot more and is all free now. .. A bird out of its cage.

Free from all the clutches he ran and ran until he realized that he doesn’t know where to go and how to go. The only thing he could remember is the color of the bus in which he went home and that all such buses start from one place; the bus station. Not knowing where he is going he ran, ran and ran to make sure he is far away from the school. He ran behind each and every bus thinking that it was going to the bus station.

Its bed time here in the hostel and the hostel care taker is on his rounds to make sure all the kids are sleeping. Not finding Ram in all the places he could search for his heart started beating faster. With no option left he had informed the giant macho, the principal. He alerted all the care takers and had them search in and out of the entire school to find him nowhere. He started out into the town with some of them along, with one in each and every possible direction.

Ram on the other hand yet to find his way to the bus station was still running around every bus he saw on his way. The day entered into its fourth quarter and it started getting darker and darker. He sat once in a while when we was tired and inspite of being hungry never spent a single pie fearing that he will not make it to home with the left out money and continued towards the bus station.

Finding him nowhere, the principal called up Ram’s parents to let them know about the news and verify if the kid reached home by any chance. Now, throwing back all the panic, his parents joined the search hunt. They searched all nearby places known to ram, enquired at all his friend’s house and started on their way to school. The clock’s ticking 10 and finding no clues, the principal informed the matter to police. It’s the third group on their way in the hunt.

The day is almost about to change in an hour and all of a sudden he started seeing many buses and all of them stopped at one spot and at that very sight of so many buses in one place his happiness had no bounds and started jumping in joy. Yes, it is his first destination and now one last task to get into the right bus will take him to the final one. Not knowing which one to board he started looking all over the station but couldn’t figure out the correct one. In the meanwhile, the police had finished their inspection at the railway station and other places in one corner of the town and started on their way to the bus station. Finally, after managing to enquire people around, Ram found out the place where the buses stop to reach his home. Though disappointed seeing that place being empty, he sat at one corner of the platform waiting for the next bus to arrive. In no time, the police were in the bus station and found their target and principal arrived at the scene within minutes.

On seeing him Ram started running away and all his attempts to escape turned out futile. The principal bought some food for him and the first thing he promised Ram is to send him home and informed him that his parents are on their way. He himself cleaned up the bleeding elbows and asked Ram to have the food first and finally after repeated attempts of persuasion he took one biscuit from the packet to eat. That very moment when he said you can go home took him by surprise. Everyone left the scene and principal informed Ram that his parents are in the school waiting for him.

Ram broke into tears at the very sight of his parents and ran towards his mother and hid behind her afraid that the principal would again take control of him. The principal requested them to stay back in the school for that night. Ram did not sleep that night and wished that night stayed long and never ended. Shattering all his hopes, sun was on its duty on time and principal came to meet the parents. He requested ram to have breakfast, but as usual ram did not leave the room until his mother accompanied to the dining room. The principal conveyed his apologies to Ram’s father and he promised them he would take care of Ram and such incidents would never happen again and also that they can come after the upcoming mid-exams and take ram home for holidays. They reached the dining hall and the principal told Ram that his parents are leaving to some place on work and will pick him on their way back home. Convinced by his parents words Ram decided to stay back and promised them that he will not leave the school again.

This very incident changed the principal a lot. The very next day he brought so many new toys for the school and the kids’ daily time table was changed to have games in the second half of the day. He started playing with the kids and made them pet the dogs. Ram along with other kids started liking this and never felt afraid of the dogs again. In fact, all the dogs became their friends and they started petting them when they came across their way. The principal used to play a lot with Ram and also attended their classes and sat next to him just like another kid. This brought change in Ram also and he too started liking the school and especially his principal. The best thing he liked was playing games with his principal. Days passed by and he completed his exams. To his surprise, Ram went home that day with his principal. Upon his parents request the principal stayed back that day. Ram introduced all his friends to his principal and as usual got immersed in games with them. The principal explained the whole change in the school and Ram’s behavior and informed that he now likes school as much as them. It was time for the principal to leave the next day; Ram promised that he will be back in the school soon and will never cry again when his parents drop him in the school. Hearing these words from Ram, the principal for a moment felt that he was on the top of universe. He left back happily carrying all these moments.

This very incident brought so much of change in Ram’s behavior too and he never ever cried again going to school or in the school and he thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment he spent in that school…

I didn't expect to get this...this long ...:(