An ode to my second mother – Saoli Ma’am

It is said that behind every successful man lies a woman. This woman can be a mother, a sister, a wife or simply a friend or a colleague. But, if someone tells me to rank them in terms of importance, I would straightaway put mothers at the top of the list. There is no doubt that a mother deserves the first credit for a man’s success, for she brings him to this world, nurtures him using every ounce of care and affection, protects him and teaches him to stand tall in the society. Whoa! Mothers are all-rounders. In fact, a mother is the superwoman in every man’s life.

I consider myself truly blessed for I have not one mother, but two! No, this is not some typical Bollywood story where the actor has a birth mother but he is raised by someone else. My story is different in the sense that I had been brought up by two mothers simultaneously in different environments. Continue reading

Remembering school days, remembering Teachers’ Day!

Teachers' DayI have had several memorable events in my life; some good, some bad, but none give me an euphoric sense of nostalgia as the Teachers’ Day. For me, this day celebrated on 5th September every year has been and still is the most awaited day in the calendar. And like every year, it leaves me with a surreal sense of bliss and peace, which cannot be fathomed by words.

Just a  few minutes back, I had a heart-to-heart conversation with one of my school teachers and the moment I ended the conversation, my mind revisited old memories of the all the Teachers’ Day celebrations in my alma-mater Delhi Public School, Duliajan. I got a lump in my throat as DPS Duliajan is second home for me and all the teachers in it are like family. Although I am a college student now and celebrate this day with the professors, yet I terribly miss the Teachers’ Day celebrations at school. Following are the reasons why:

1. The Teachers’ Day cards: Back in school days, it was a customary tradition to gift cards to the teachers on the occasion of Teachers’ Day. Don’t consider it bragging or demeaning anyone if I say that almost 98% of the students in school used to gift purchased cards (mostly Archies) while I used to make them with my own hands. Initially I gifted hand-made cards to only my subject teachers and other favourite ones. But, with every passing year, I turned an expert in this trade and not once, not twice but three years in a row, I actually made 50+ Teachers’ Day Cards! (Don’t gasp if I confess I did it in just two days) It was always a cherished moment to see the wonderful expressions on the teachers’ faces, to hear their words of appreciation and blessings. Even now, whenever I meet some of those teachers in my hometown, they say they miss my cards a lot…….,,……wish I could get that crazy card-making self and those glorious days back!

2. The instant portrait of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan: Teachers’ Day is celebrated every year in India to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishan, the first Vice-president and Second President of India, and a great educationist and teacher. I don’t remember whether it was the 7th or 8th standard, when Parikshit Baruah sir, the art teacher in the school, approached me and offered me a chance to draw the portrait of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan in front of a live audience in the school assembly. For 3 consecutive years, I did the seemingly challenging task of drawing the portrait while a group of teachers performed a group song at the same time. The awesome part is that I used to start and complete the portrait as soon as the song started and ended respectively. Ask any of my school friends, seniors or juniors, or teachers who witnessed it and they would second that!

3. The acting teacher for a day: It was another tradition in our school for every student of the senior-most batch to choose a particular teacher (mostly favourite ones) and act like him/her for the day, during the school hours, taking 1 or 2 classes, adhering to the time -table of that particular teacher. Boys used to dress up in formal wear with neck-ties and girls dressed up in sarees or salwar-kameez. When I was in lower classes, the senior students used to come to our classrooms and it was a hilarious sight to see them make a pain-staking effort in acting like the teacher concerned. I remember impersonating Parikshit sir, the art teacher, as I was fond of painting and drawing. However, the only regret I have is not being able to take a class in the 1st period of a particular lower class, as the students there were too busy decorating the class room for the celebrations. (One of them actually came out and shooed me away, saying they don’t like the Art class.)….Please dont’ laugh!!

These are the 3 major reasons why I terribly miss Teachers’ Day celebrations at school. If God appears before me ever and asks me for a boon, I would want to be the school-going kid again. Almost all of my happiness is stored in that period of my life!

Uncle Chips, Pokémon and a colourful childhood…

In the lazy afternoon of 5th July, 2013, as I lay on my bed, my eyes staring fixedly at the bare ceiling above, my mind escaped into slightly forgotten territories of the mind. And one such place was the world of Pokémon.

Ask some of my school friends, especially those who were my class-mates in Section B of Classes 6, 7, 8 and 9, and you would be surprised to hear from them how obsessed I had been about Pokémon at that time! Those were the days when this new show called Pokémon had started to be aired on Cartoon Network and within a really short span of time, it became highly popular among the kid-folk of my hometown, Duliajan. As a matter of fact, the reason for the huge popularity of this English-dubbed Japanese anime can undoubtedly be attributed to Uncle Chips. Reason is you used to get a free Pokémon goody like ‘Tazzo’, ‘Zenga card’, ‘playing card’ etc. inside every pack of Uncle Chips! And for a Pokémon fanatic like me, seldom a day went by, for 2 years or so, without purchasing at least 1 Uncle Chips pack! 😀 Well, don’t be scared by the jumbo degree of junk food as I rarely emptied the chips packets into my mouth; my sole concern was to grab hold of the goody as soon as the packet was blasted open! (And if luck favoured me, sometimes, two or three goodies popped out) 🙂

I wouldn’t be doing justice to this post if I don’t write about my Pokémon-related antics in Class 6 in 2003. The year saw an exponential rise in sale of Uncle Chips and a wave of frenzy, to collect Pokémon goodies, swept almost all boy classmates of mine. Such was the craze that we used to trade each other’s goodies, either with the purpose of keeping and admiring them at home for a night, or in order to create variety in one’s collection. (Once, I really got annoyed because I found the same Pokémon Tazzo in 11 continuous Uncle Chips packets!) I admit that a tiny amount of trickery did help me collect goodies without having to sacrifice from my own set, thus, allowing me to amass a huge assortment of varied goodies. 😉 I don’t know whether my good friends Souvik Ghosh, Abhinash Saikia, Abhinav Jha, Manisha Dutta and Jayashree Doley remember or not, that we used to sit near each other in the classroom and spend every free minute, between periods or during tiffin-break, in playing Pokémon battles in rough notebooks. I fondly remember how I used to randomly draw some weird-looking creature and give it a weirder name, and tell my friends that it is a very powerful Pokémon and that it shall appear someday in the cartoon series. Quite unexpectedly, most of my hand-drawn creations did appear on TV in one form or the other! Pokémon eventually turned out to be my favourite time-pass activity.

As the slideshow of bygone memories continued, I withdrew myself from bed and walked up to my almirah, where I safely kept everything I had collected during my salad days. A mini search in one of the shelves led me to my prized collection of Pokémon goodies. The box was a little dusty, so I brushed it off and opened it. Emotions stirred in me instantly. Picking out a few of the goodies, I spread them on my table and captured them with my camera, hoping that this picture is able to reinvigorate the same vibes in future, as it happened this day. 🙂 🙂 🙂

My  Pokémon Collectibles

My Pokémon Collectibles