He was 6 years old. His second school after his father got transferred from Bilaspur which then belonged to state Madhya Pradesh (now Chhattisgarh). It was his first day at his new school. Far away from his home, he wasn’t used to the alien feeling. He was small and was about to do something that will forever force him to do, only the unthinkable.
Father took him to his new school in his Jeep. He entered the main wrought iron gate of the school – Shri Tagore Vidya Mandir. Like it was his habit from his earlier school from the same town, he started looking for his class. Roamed around for a while and found it wasn’t on the ground floor. Those small feet then climbed the roughly cemented stairs. He was perplexed – why were all the others were wearing red shorts, and his were green? Never having known the concept of mediums in a school, he matched feet to feet and proudly entered his class, having found it on the first floor. He was half an hour early. He entered never having noticed the teacher who was sitting with the kids. She saw the boy with the green pants. She got up from her place and without asking a single question, slapped the boy hard on his left cheek. And then another. She yelled – ‘Baahar jaao yahaan se (Get out of the class)’!
And he promptly did so, shedding tears not because of the stinging pain on his cheek but for the sheer embarrassment that the incident had impaled in his heart. He cried, cried loudly when a maid heard him. But he didn’t notice. She yelled out at the boy for roaming around on the campus and there came another slap on the same cheek. He hadn’t yet spoken a word on the alien land and had already been assaulted thrice. He forgot the face of the teacher with the last slap but will forever remember the face of the maid – the stroke was ferocious. The boy sat on a tampered round-about, looking at that wrought iron gate that brought him into this hell. And in a fit of rage, decided to open it for he had quit. This was not how he wanted it!
He stood on his toes, slowly and silently opened the gate, got out, leaving the gate hanging limply on its hinges. He smelt freedom, still crying.
He knew his way home. Never once thinking about the distance, he started walking. Wandering around, he saw the relieving sight of the railway station. He saw the rails. He saw the ever-so-fascinating engines. Tears blurred his vision as he started crossing the web of rails never aware of the danger. Guess he never knew danger. He was so small. He was just 6 years old.
Getting across the station and into his favorite empty street, plunging trees caving in from the right and the rails on the left. He now knew what he was looking for. He was looking for a clinic where his father would bring him for treatment when he got sick. He knew that the road from this clinic, drove straight to his home. He had forgotten his tired legs, thirst, hunger – for he knew his way home now, joy bleeding from his heart. Home where his mother will greet him. He found the clinic. Finally relieved, he kept walking.
Then a miracle happened, small as the place was, a driver from his father’s office noticed the boy, took him in his Jeep and took him home.
He was then a happy wanderer!
Remember, I once announced that I’ll rewrite some of my posts. This is the first of the series!
Lets find out how others fared today –
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