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

The Orientation Day @ AEC, Guwahati

Date: 1 August 2013, Thursday

Venue: Auditorium, Assam Engineering College, Guwahati

Assam Engineering College, GuwahatiThe clock struck 10 a.m. and slowly, the area around the auditorium started to reverberate with chit-chat of parents and their kids, who had been newly admitted to the college. It was the Orientation Day, when the first-year students are given a brief introduction and overall idea about the college, familiarizing them with the environment here. Most parents wore anxious looks and were drowned in deep conversation with fellow parents. I was sure they were discussing about the college and how their kids would fare in the 4 years (or more, but let’s just skip that part) of engineering studies. Interestingly, the first-year students seemed to be in quite an upbeat mood; a few of them had already begun to form groups and indulge in talks, as if they’re in the senior years, discussing some very crucial matters. I still remember how scared and worried I was on the Orientation day, when I was newly inducted into the college. Perhaps the fear of being in an unknown setting and unknown people had overwhelmed me. How time has changed!

Being a final year student, this was the last Orientation Day I attended and unlike the one I attended in my 2nd and 3rd year, this year, the event turned out to be quite nostalgic for me. Within a few minutes past 10 a.m, I spotted three juniors of my school, Delhi Public School, Duliajan – Audrika Thakuria, Angshuman Buragohain and Arnav Duarah, sitting calm and composed in the auditorium. A very nice feeling flowed in me, to see familiar faces from my hometown, Duliajan and when I met them, they were equally happy to meet me. You see, there is always a happy moment involved, when you see someone you know very well, in a crowd of unfamiliar faces (be it as a tourist in some other place or in some tight situations, needing assistance). Drawing similar lines, 3 years ago, I had also come to this college, along with two classmates of mine from school -Karpun Pegu and Madhurya Dhodapkar, but then we never sat together in the auditorium. In fact, I don’t know how we got dispersed in the crowd of first-years.

The programme started. After the introduction of the college and the various departments and their HODs (Head of the Departemts) were done, the dynamic Dr. Arup Mishra sir took centre-stage and kicked off the fun session of the Orientation programme. Mishra sir has been synonymous with this programme for many years and the panache with which he conducts it is remembered by all the students here. He is a man, gifted with a baritone, that doesn’t require the microphone; his voice is enough to arouse a full-packed audience. Soon, he began his ice-breaking exercise with the first years, trying to snap them out of their shells of fear, shyness and hesitation and allowing them to speak out their interests, hobbies and aspirations. Like every year, he showered questions full of humour and wit and as I was watching the proceedings from a distance, I remembered the similar questions asked 3 years back. It really helped me to break-free from the initial fear I had about the college, that was sir’s magic!

The Orientation Day programme may be a very small event but it holds a special place in my heart. It is the stepping stone or should I say the red carpet, that is laid to all the first-years to come and accept the college as their family. 1 August, 2013 was the day I took a nostalgic  mini ride to 2 August, 2010, the day I attended the Orientation programme.

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