Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A Brother, like none other : Part I - Days at Delhi

Rewind. I'm trying to travel back in time. This post is all about one person, about whom I can write volumes but writing this post just in case I forget some of the past incidents, which is highly unlikely though. One of the first encounters with Ganesh that I can remember was at New Delhi, where we had some of the best days of our life.

As my memories drift back to our old house at Devli, a place in Delhi where Ganesh, his mom and dad lived with us for sometime as they had just got transferred from Chennai. This is perhaps the oldest incident I can recollect from my childhood. This story is about 16 years old, when I was like approx. 4 or 5 years of age. Here goes: We had a wooden sofa in our main hall (in fact, that's the same antique sofa we still have in our hall currently at Chennai). Ganesh and I had a quarrel, the reason now long forgotten, and the quarrel had turned nasty. I remember both of us hitting each other and in course of the fight, he caught my face and banged it onto the sofa. My mouth took the maximum impact and both my lips and jaw were swollen. This made me skip school for two whole weeks and was teased by guys all over in my apartments. I even remember looking at myself in the mirror and thought that my face resembled that of Lord Hanuman. Pretty bad incident for a start, but those incidents that followed changed my life, and changed it for good.

Both of us used to go to the St. Mary's Public School, which was located at a distance of twenty minutes on foot. Our granny used to take and bring both of us back from school. Golden days they were. After a few days, we learnt to go on our own, and Sumitha, a girl who lived on the floor above ours too accompanied us to the same school. Ganesh would cry in the morning, and hated to go to school, whereas I, on the other hand, used to get ready for school so early and happily, as though I were going on a picnic. He used to make a huge fuss, and the milkman and his wife (Whom I had named Blue-Pavadai, because of her constant wearing of blue gown) who lived in the adjacent apartment used to shout at us (Just for fun, to insist Ganesh to go to school). Ganesh had come to Delhi from Chennai only sometime ago then, and didn't quite know Hindi. So he had to converse with the kids at school only in English. He used to come back home and complain that the kids couldn't understand a word in English and constantly stared at him because he couldn't speak Hindi, but spoke English very fluently. In the evenings, we used to play in the terrace and I was fond of running naked (Don't mistake this, I was just five then!) all around and he used to run behind me to make me wear an underwear. I had this bad habit of biting my lips when they became dry, and Ganesh and Sumitha would apply Vaseline or just water to make it wet, and so that I couldn't bite it. Sumitha used to drag Ganesh to the school while he cried all through the way. I even remember Sumitha holding his hand and convincing him to come to school! He would protest to wake up in the morning for school and I, on the other hand, used to wake up with a smile on my face. Ganesh's dad would say "Look at Gautam, he wakes up in the morning with a smile .. Learn to be like him". I bet that gave him a hard time!

We had frequent power cuts and water shortage in our area. That would really piss him off .. I remember Ganesh once shouted from the balcony of our house "Devli should not be in this world !!".

As Ganesh's family settled down in Delhi, they found a house at Madangir, where they shifted to and I missed his company a lot. My parents and I used to visit them once in a while and they too would come over to our place. They lived on the second floor and I used to shout all the way climbing up the stairs informing them that I've come! I was a hyperactive kid back then (nothing less now) and Ganesh's mom used to call me "Rettai Vaal Rangudu" which can be fairly translated to a "Two-Tailed-Monkey". As soon as Ganesh would hear my voice and me coming home, in a jiffy he would pack up all his toys safely out of my reach. I remember he had a collection of toy cars similar to Hot-Wheels which I used to envy a lot.

At this time, both of us moved to St. George's School, located at Alakananda, New Delhi. This was the place, where probably we had the best days at Delhi. My family too moved to a new residence at Pushp Vihar, not too far from Ganesh's house. So Ganesh used to come to our house from school. A typical day at school would be like this : I would wake up at six in the morning and had bath in the biting cold water. I used to get ready and reach the bus stop where Ganesh used to join. In most cases, he would run back home because he'd have forgotten his ID card, belt or tie. I used to have a nice laugh watching him running back to fetch those. When the bus arrived, the driver used to honk, signalling that he was late. When we boarded, till we reached the school, various Bhajans would be played in the bus, including 'Om Jai Jagdish Hare', which was my favorite. As soon as we got down, we would part, saying goodbye to each other, as juniors and seniors and separate entrances in the main building. During the lunch breaks, we would meet and he would at times buy me food from the canteen. I still remember we used to eat Chole Bature in the canteen, seems to me it's been only like a year or two since it has all happened. In the evening, we would meet up again, to board the bus to get back home. As he was in 5th or 6th std, his classes used to get over only after half an hour or so after mine. I used to board the bus early and we wouldn't start until all the seniors have boarded too. Ganesh had assigned me a task of getting a window seat in the bus, which I, in most cases got it done. The times when I would lose the seat to someone else, he would pinch me, so that I would get the seat next time!

Many of my friends, even till I was in my 11th and 12th would have their own elder/younger siblings studying in the same school whom they would meet every day. I have really longed for my sibling too to be in my own school, for I have none. It was hardly four or five years that Ganesh and I were in the same school, and yet there have been some really cherished moments during my school days with him. One of the most famous incidents that steals the limelight is the "Jaisy K." incident. There was this girl in my upper kindergarten class (I think) whose name was Jaisy (Not Jessie, and please don't associate Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya with this !). Both of us used to meet at the main gate of our school. On a typical day, after I got down from my bus, I would wait for her, or if she was early, she would be waiting for me at the gate. Then, both of us used to hold our hands and walk to our class. This continued for many days, which made Ganesh raise his eyebrows. He would watch us doing this each day, and on one fine day, when we were walking along, he came up and asked her I she would marry me! She replied that she would definitely marry me! Now that incident has become a laughing stock. It has become really popular among my relatives and there are people who still tease me with it. This incident happened like 15 or 16 years ago,  and I guess last year, Ganesh and I spent about one hour on Facebook just to check if Jaisy K. was on Facebook! Unfortunately, our search query returned no productive results. *Sad*

Another incident worth mentioning here is about the ice creams we used to eat after the school hours. It was illegal for the students to eat ice creams or any roadside food that were sold outside the premises of the school. We had staff who monitored students who bought such stuff and made them throw away whatever they had bought. They used to get inside the school buses too to ensure that the students weren't eating anything that was bought on the roadside. One such staff was Kailash Sir, who had once happened to get inside our bus and inspect. There were many whose ice creams were snatched and thrown to ground which I saw from the window. Now he was coming for us. Ganesh's ice cream was snatched and thrown and I held mine near my knee. He didn't see it, but a guy in the front informed him that I still had the ice cream in my hand, which got it snatched and thrown off the window. Both Ganesh and I were furious at the staff and also at this guy. But we couldn't help it.

As mentioned earlier, Ganesh used to accompany me home from the school. We lived at Sector IV, Pushp Vihar, a huge colony of similar looking houses, which were divided into various sectors. Every other building looked similar and it was kinda difficult to locate an address within the sectors. We used to enter through the main gate, and had to pass the first three sectors to reach the fourth one, where my family lived. As mentioned earlier, Ganesh used to accompany me home and his house was just across the road from our colony, so he went home on his own. While we used to enter the colony through the gate that led us to the first sector. Now this led us to a long path through the other two remaining sectors, and I wouldn't remember which sector was ours, as everything was a look-alike. We used to hunt for a 'Chuski' seller in the first and the second sectors. 'Chuski' is a roadside specialty made in Delhi. It is grated and flavored ice, which is mounted on a small stick and served as an ice candy. The Chuski-wala roamed the streets to sell the Chuskis with a mobile stall and we used to chase him down to get ours! I loved it, and so did Ganesh, but we were strictly instructed not to consume roadside food. Who cares! We used to eat it almost daily. As we used to dwell deep into the first two sectors in search of the Chuski-wala, I wouldn't know the way to get back home. Ganesh knew this and used to leave me alone and hide somewhere. I would search for him for a minute or two, and would start crying. God! He used to love making me cry!!

As all the good things always come to an end, Ganesh's parents got their jobs transferred back to Chennai and so they left Delhi. I actually don't remember the day when they left or our last day together at Delhi, but I gradually realized that his absence created a void. The next year of my school, I was left alone. For the first time, no one would accompany me, or I couldn't tell anyone that my bro was in the same school too. May sound stupid now, but back then, it really meant a lot to the seven year old kid. For he never knew that he and his bro would never be in the same school again. The days at Delhi, the best of my childhood, perhaps the best days of my life so far, were over. And as I recollect and play these incidents in my head now, it feels like I've lived those moments again. Well, that's not all, this is perhaps a fraction of what I can tell you about my bro, which I'll surely do in the days to come.

(P.S.: Subject to further edits if I randomly recollect any of the incidents that I may have missed in this post!)


useless chef said...

heh ehehh .. nice one ... i had forgotton some of the things ... but remembered them now .. :) ..

P.S .. its "Jaisy K" .. ;) ...

Gautam Krishnan said...

Done ! Rectified and republished !

Post a Comment