Tuesday, July 31, 2007

trafalger conquered

Raghunath mama decided to take us all around London on his new Volvo. I knew it would be a pleasant trip with my small cousins around. Already the weekend was a hit. I had just returned from mysterious Stonehenge located near Salisbury and now it was mama ji ready to entertain me. It was going to be a perfect Sunday.

The first place we visited was Tower of London. It had the famous Kohinoor diamond in it. London bridge was quite a view across the Tower. We moved to St. Paul's Cathedral which is a huge structure. I had already visited it once with Naveen.

We moved to Trafalger Square. I could see a tall structure towards the end in the direction we were moving. As we moved closer I could hear a familiar musical note. Mama ji parked the car at some distance and we walked closer to the square. When I reached there, I could not believe my eyes.

The place was thriving with a crowd most of whom were Indians. I now realised what I heard earlier was a chorus singing "Hare Rama Hare Krishna". There was a tall structure right at the centre of Trafalger Square which resembled Jagannath Temple of Puri. A stall nearby was distributing Sabji Rice for free. British women in sari were looking hot. Still my mind was in a shock. Am I in the middle of London?

Nana ji used to tell me that Indian polulation is a strong community within UK. I had a clear evidence that it was much more than that. It was not Indians but Britons singing in chorus. It was not Indians but Britons who were dancing to the tunes of the chorus. We had conquered the Trafalger in a true sense that day.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Autobiography: Entry 1

Papa started searching for an auto. We were already late. It was an evening of February, 1989 and dark. We were standing at Digha More. Finally we got an auto and reached the gates of St. Michael's High School. I clearly remember how nervous Papa and Ma were. Papa kept telling us that it does not matter what the results would be. Somehow I knew that it did matter a lot to him.

We walked the distance to the head office in a hurry. There was not a single soul around. Papa went inside the building to see if my name was in the list. St. Michael's had a reputation in Patna and admissions in Grade 1 was very tough. It was equivalent to any enterance exam nowadays since only 150 fortunate children got through each year.

Papa came out smiling. I was there in the list. He told Ma I am there in the list. Ma was happy. I was also happy because both of them decided to go to Hanuman Mandir. I loved those Besan ke Laddu that we used to buy as prasad.

I realized very late in life that it is a luxury to study in the same school for such a long duration. I was in St. Michael's till Tenth and I still boast of those remarkable school days. I hardly remember the time spent at home but I have distinct memories of school days right from class one. My initial years were very lonely. Kunal Verma was my only friend apart from Tushar who was a family friend. Slowly I became a part of different groups. I found two great friends in Kishore and Ankur. Adi joined us later. When I left St. Michael's in 1998, I had a treasure-full of friends and memories of happy days spent in peace.