It was a fine morning of 1996 when the time was stopped in the principal’s office of National School in Burdwan (Bardhaman) district of West Bengal.
Where a boy of around 7 years sat with his father waiting for the principal to come to take a verbal interview of him for getting him admission in the second standard.
Half past ten it was a loud creak of the door of the office that enthralled both of us having my breathing increased dramatically as it has to be the first interview of my life and all I knew and told by my parents was to tell my name and my father’s and mother’s names in full English sentences following what my father’s occupation was and where did he work.
So, it was the principal then seating into his chair sliding his reading glasses little downwards on his nose gazing me like an Anaconda does before swallowing large sized wild buffaloes of the amazon.
Almost on the brink of losing my consciousness by his fear I was alerted by my father to keep sitting straight. When without asking the principal any question I start giving my introduction myself trying to tackle the fear of his eyes hoping I could be spared my life if I speak all I knew in front of him leaving the impression of an intelligent boy. When I finished I looked at my father’s face and then found his expression like, “God, what were you doing boy !” without speaking. His expression was like there is no power in this universe which could let me get a seat in this school.
Well, there was a brief silence for a few minutes while he looked at my previous standard certificates and score cards. Then handing me a glass of water to drink which I almost empty in seconds asked me to wait outside the cabin and himself having conversation with my father. Both of them occasionally laughing seeing me waiting for my father to come out as soon as possible. He then rang the bell to call upon his attendant sitting outside near the doors of the cabin and he getting inside listened to some sort of instructions given by the principal pointing towards me. After a couple of minutes finally my father stands up and shakes hand with the principal having a grin on his face. Finally my father comes out and congratulates me on my admission in the school.
I kind of jumped with a brief, “yess..” outside the principal’s office. After that the attendant came to us and holding my hand said to my father that the school will be over around 3 pm and the school bus would drop me at my address where my father was to come before 4 pm to receive me as it almost took an hour for the bus to reach my address.
So finally the mission was accomplished and it was a kind of victory of Indian cricket team over Pakistan.
I knew that day that it was the “ROSHO-GOLLA” day (Rasgulla is a traditional Indian sweet, mainly in the West Bengal State of India) and I was eager to reach home as my father would celebrate this day by bringing some sweets including the roshogollas (as it was pronounced by the Bengalis) and ice cream at home in the evening after his job shift was over.
Finally dreaming of the sweets I arrived the second floor where the children shout and fly paper planes and some even throwing chalks on others in the class room. I was headed into the class room, being introduced (only my name and that I was their new class mate) by the principal’s attendant and then left as such standing there near the teacher’s desk looking into the mess created by the boys and girls and trying to figure out that am I really going to spend the whole year with these creepy creatures ??
In about half a minute when I did not move from my position, a boy stood up and came to me saying, “I am Utkarsh. Welcome to our school.” Then everyone in that classroom at once shouted aloud, “WELCOME VIKAS” and celebrated my presence by shouting out loud.
Ha ha… I was relived by then with the acceptance of mine in the new class and Utkarsh then gave me a seat on his bench. By that time the English language teacher had come and entering into the classroom her first question was, “who is the new admission here”? On which I stood and gave her my introduction. Then she started the lesson and with every single minute passing in the class I became more and more used to, to the new environment of new school and new friends. And kept looking around the classroom trying to remember the faces whom I would be meeting the next day again. Then suddenly my eyes stopped where three girls sat on the first bench continuously gazing me with the devil eyes and rage on their faces as if they were to chew me alive as soon as the class was over.
I scared of their deadly trio asked Utkarsh about them. On which his answer would instead of relieving me, made my blood run cold. He said, “they kill boys.”
I hope you can imagine what was it like for me at that moment.
Well the class was finally over and it was lunch time. While Utkarsh pulled me out of the bench asking me to go to the water tap washing our hands before we eat, one of those girls came to me and started speaking, “I am Karuna, they are my friends Arti and Abhilasha. I just wanted to let you know that no one in this class mess with us.” Trying to get off her attention I bend my neck in the other direction where the remaining two would already be waving me with a devilish smile. Then she returned to her bench engaging with her gang. In that time I was horrified of my future in that school.
Time passed and I slowly became everyone’s favourite in my class and even in the school as almost everyone would know me as the “THIN CUTE BOY FROM SWASTIPALLI” the latter being the name of the place where I lived.
It was me who often took part in events, mostly speeches on some topic unlike the other ones who would be interested more in dancing or singing. And slowly my growing popularity in the school made some of my foes rethink about me among whom MALANCHO MUKHERGEE was one other than the KILLERS. But let me talk about killers only.
Ahh.. yes it were then the KILLERS who came one day to me on the terrace where me, Utkarsh and Suneel were having our lunch together. It was at that time Abhilasha or Arti I guess, who started telling us that they were sorry for their behaviour with me. But as I was a cute boy 😉 I was ever ready to forgive everyone and accept their friendship. It was now all six of us who would have fun most of the time in the school and the class. And many would be jealous of our friendship. But you know still in that friendship we boys were tortured by the girls. They used to keep grown nails which they used to scratch our faces and arms when ever they wished to have some fun over us. Mostly we used to play TOM AND JERRY or CHOR POLICE ( thief and the police) games where they obviously be the police women as they enjoyed beating us and we the thieves. They used to give us a 10 seconds time to get going and hide and we were just running to save ourselves because these police women did nothing when they found us but ask us to pick our shirt sleeves up and pinch us with all their will to make us cry just standing and experiencing the punishment given by them.
It was the day when our next day was going to be a holiday on the occasion of “RAKHI” (festival of brothers and sisters) and we were given free time to celebrate this festival a day before in our school. So these girls brought rakhis for us three, as they knew that none of us had a real sister of us and we boys enjoyed their presence as being their brothers (in childhood we used to have the purest of our hearts). So finally Karuna came to me with three rakhis and tied one on my wrist and the other two on Utkarsh’s and Sunil’s wrists. It is a beautiful tradition in our culture that when sister ties a rakhi on her brother’s wrist the brother in turn would present her some gifts or money and promise her to take care of and protect her throughout his life. So I was, as I said ever ready and always prepared, so before leaving for the school that morning brought three Ball pens which had a light violet ink being popular at that time and left a fragrance where it wrote. So I presented one to Karuna and the remaining two to Arti and Abhilasha as they tied their rakhis one by one on my wrist. Utkarsh and Sunil stood a little distance apart being sad on the fact that they could not buy anything for their new sisters. But Karuna being a caring and wise girl felt their sadness and then opening their bags one by one put out all the pens and pencils and sharpners and rubbers and color pens what she could find in those and distributed among the girls saying to them, “happy now ?”. And both of them then satisfied gave a smile to them. All our classmates were seeing all this happening in front of them and being happy too on our love as friends earlier and then as brothers and sisters.
And then a day came when I had to shift permanently to my birthplace in Uttar Pradesh(UP) with my family. As it was a sudden plan made by my parents so I could not even say Good Bye to them.
Then after being there at my paternal home for just a year, we again shifted from UP to Haryana in 2000 as my father has found some better job there.
Here I found new friends, new people, a new environment, and a different culture compared to that of WB, but I still kept missing those friends and the killers.
But you know God gives us what we really need. So here I found a new gang of “Killers” again equally crazy as those killers used to be, equally innocent and equally understanding and caring gang of Killers that I missed a lot.
Though today the kind of bond with the killers is a bit different but the care and concern, the love and affection remains the same.
I thought of writing about them on the FRIENDSHIP DAY but could manage to write now on the next day missing the occasion by just 2 hours and 13 minutes. Still I dedicate this to the killers themselves and hope this bond remains intact among them for the whole of their lives and wish the “killers” be always together.
Remember the killers are always a gang of three and they keep following me.
(all the images used in this post are taken from internet with due respect to the owners of the images not imposing any kind of claim or ownership over/on them.)