Every human being in the city if Ahmedabad was on his roof. Kites covered the whole of the sky above Ahemadabad. Yes, you guessed it right, it was Uttrayan. Anyone who ever had even a slight brush with Gujrati culture knows what Uttrayan means to this western state.
I was in 2nd standard. My cousins were visiting us and I was boastingly showing them off my knowledge about the big city. I had slender frame and wore a spec, even then. My father had got us one of the most fancy and expensive kites available. It was sky blue in colour, made with a material which gave it a shimmering look, when the sun rays bounced on it. It had a beautiful sparkling tail. Now in Ahmedabad or rather in whole of the Gujrat catching a cut kite is as big a thing as flying one, on Uttrayan. There are hoards of kids combing the streets in hunt for a falling kite, with differing devices to capture it. Long sticks, lingar or long piece of manjha with a stone tied at one end were the most popular one.
Since I was not very old resident of the neighbourhood, I was not the part of this kite hunting fraternity. Usually I kept to myself and minded my own kite. It was the big day and I and my cousins were out with our precious kite. With our limited expertise we managed to get the kite flying. Since, we were no match to the honed kite-iers of Ahmedabad it probably stayed in the sky for less than quarter of an hour.
Seeing our kite fall down, swinging in the arms of the gentle breeze our child hearts were saddened. There was a fat kid hanging around on the adjoining roof, who had no kites with him. He kept looking at us all through this, and somewhere down I had created a notion about him. I had thought that since he had no kites with him, he was jealous to see us fly the pretty kite.
The scavenger boys, who saw the kite fall from the sky, ran towards it to catch it. We were on the top floor and getting down the roof and catching it before them was not possible. And I knew that being the outsider and a non-member I cannot get it back from them once the caught hold of it.
As soon as one of the boys caught hold of one end of the manjha, the fat boy shouted his name. The insecure kid inside me judged that he is probably going to tell that guy to keep it for him. This triggered an immediate reaction from me.
“Ay, jaadiya(fatty)!” I said trying to threaten him. I could do this only because I knew my cousins were with me. If I would have been alone I would not have done that.
He shot a look at me
“Hey, don’t take the kite, it is my friend’s” He told the street kid.
I was astonished and devastated. We got our kite back. I could never come to talk to the fat guy again, simply because I was not able to face him
Sometimes in life, we become too defensive just because we build up an opinion about someone or some situation. And that opinion is not created just with what we see, understand and believe. It is solely creation of our own mind. This incident taught me an important lesson – never be too quick in passing a judgement about something, especially when the only perspective with which you have seen it is yours. I am still trying to overcome the faults and imperfections that everyone of us is born with, with each such incident teaching another lesson.
I completed my high school from Guru Harkishan Public School, Indore. As with everyone, high school accounts for lots of interesting and memorable events. Some of those moments remain with you for a life time and when ever you meet your old pals those are the things that you remember and laugh about. This is one such narration.
It was another day in the school. We were in Class 11th. As always we had to go for the morning assembly, which was long and seemed boring (now even that boring assembly seems dear to you). Anyhow we tried to skip it. This year in school was different. My friend Arvind Kothari was the Vice head boy of the school. One of his duties was to go into each classroom and ask the monitor to take the students to the assembly and also checking no one remains behind in the classes. This meant he must skip assembly so that he can make sure nobody stays back. I being a close friend always helped him and this was the duty anyone would like to share. Although I was nowhere in the school parliament that year but I accompanied him in his morning duty and every other duty that needed an absence from the class.
Arvind was (still is) an influential figure in the school. Never went an year when he didn’t top the class and no body, not even the principal questioned his supremacy. Everyone was sure that he will do something big and so he did. Presently in IIT-K he is in final year of his M.Tech (Integrated) and has done numerous activities, some of which I am aware and some of not, in the IIT. So, he was my best pal in the school. Apart from being a brainy he had a lighter side to too. He was always good at playing pranks and what we call in Hindi Mazze lene me he was brilliant (But he was never good at the receiving end of the pranks and still isn’t. Although he may not admit this and go on disagreeing).
So it was assembly time and we stayed back as usual. We were waiting for Gauraw Paliwal. He was the third one, completed the trio. He had came an year or so ago from the town of Kharguan. He is the kind of a person who never thinks a thing bad. He is absolutely guilelable. There is no vice at all in him, any one can come and take undue advantage of him. He is like a hermit, and followed the three principles of Gandhi (I don’t think they need a mention here). And surprisingly his birthday is on december 25th. He used to come late as he stayed at Gitabahvan which was far from the school.
That morning Arvind and me were sitting in the class as he entered. He had an interesting incident to tell from the last night. It was about Ankur Mathur. Ankur mathur another figure in the class. I am sure most of the classmates wouldn’t even noticed his existence (except girls). He was very varying in his character. You can call him wishy-washy. He was found of girls, all boys are, but his was a different case. All the time he used to roam around the girls wagging his tail. Girls were clever they knew he would do whatever they ask for. So, they used him as a servant. He used to bring them the reagents in chemistry lab, used to perform experiments in physics lab and sometimes even carry their bags. He was also in Biology stream and so was Gauraw.
So, last night he came to Gauraw’s house, he lived near by, to give Gauraw something. Ankur was not coming to school the next day and it was birthday of a classmate (a girl), whom Ankur wanted to give a gift. Let’s call her Rewa (changed name). Ankur was not coming because he had to go somewhere with his father. He considered Rewa a good friend, although the case was not same with her. She was a girl in section A of class and was also in biology stream. She was what I think, a bit conservative and most girls are, especially in school. Ankur came up to Gauraw and gave him a small box wrapped in beautiful pink and purple gift paper to give it Rewa. As I have written earlier Gauraw was a noble soul. He never saw any wrong in anything. Without thinking he agreed to do the job. He talked rarely to girls and that also was limited to studies. On asking, whether she knows about Ankur sending a gift for her, Ankur had told Gauraw that he has talked to Rewa about the gift and there will be no problem. In morning when the whole school was out for assembly the three of us were sitting and discussing what to do with the gift.
As soon as the assembly finished the students started coming back. Rewa also came she was happy as it was her birthday. Everyone was greeting her and then went Gauraw. Smelling some goof up me and Arvind were standing right there to see how he does it.
“Happy birthday Rewa” he said. “Oh thank you” she replied smiling. “Oh I have the gift with me” said Gauraw “Which gift?” asked Rewa with astonishment.
“The one that Ankur sent” Gauraw explained. “Didn’t he tell you about it?” he was also puzzled. “No please Gauraw, I am not interested in this.” She was agitated. She was angry and went away without listening to a word.
Arvind and I burst into laughter as Gauraw was misunderstood. He was baffled and was not expecting to be misunderstood to this extent. He was confused. “I knew something of this sort will happen” I said. “Oh thank you then why didn’t you tell me in the first place” Gauraw asked angrily “We would’ve missed the fun” I said with unsuccessful attempts to conceal my laugh. “You don’t have any brains? Why did you accept to do it?” asked Arvind. “I thought he and Rewa were good friends and she would have no problems” Gauraw clarified. “Firstly, if that was the case why didn’t you tell her that it is from Ankur” I inquired “You were there, you think she gave me time for that?” Gauraw retaliated “OK but don’t you know Ankur’s reputation among girls and what girls think of him. How on earth did you think that they were good friends” Arvind added. “I wonder what’s in that box.” I showed my curiosity. “Don’t even think of opening that box” said Gauraw snatching the box from my hands. He knew my intentions
“OK now what to do with the gift?” I asked. There was a mischief playing around in my mind. “What? Give it back to mathur” suggested Arvind. “OK, else we can just take it and keep it in Rewa’s bag. I mean why bother it is her’s and Ankur’s matter. He asked Gauraw to give the gift and she refused, we can just put it there and when she will see it she will know that Ankur, not Gauraw has sent it.” I tried to put my point. “I mean if we don’t give her the gift she will be in a wrong impression that Gauraw was maroing chance on her.” I reinforced myself. It took Gauraw sometime to decide but Arvind agreed readily. He smelled the same scent that I smelled.
So it was final that we were going to keep that cursed packet in her bag as soon as we get a chance. She was in section A and we were in section B, so neither of us had slightest idea of her bag. But we had contacts. Amit and Akshat, the inseparables. When ever you see one of them be sure the other one is going to be around, never was a time that they went different ways. These days they were accompanied by Arvind’s cousin Akhilesh who had joined the school the same year. We had a great rapport with them, so I explained the situation and asked them to just signal which bag is hers, when the right time comes.
The most important thing was that we had to figure out the right time when she was not around. As the assembly had just ended, chaos ruled the school. Juniors stormed the corridors shouting, seniors stood outside the classes some talking with their friends others checking out the girls. This was the right time; Rewa was out with her friends. We entered the class, Amit signaled us where her bag was kept and before anyone could see I slide the gift inside her bag. Our job was done, Gauraw was happy that the box was gone. We came back and school went on as always.
Now as Gauraw was in Biology (and so was Rewa), he had to go to other classroom to attend Bio classes and we stayed back for math classes. Immediately after the class we had lunch. So, at lunch Gauraw came looking very depressed, sad and puzzled. “What happened” I asked. He looked up to me with an angry glare and then took out his lunch box. “c’mon tell us…” Arvind tried to share his grief “….who else will you tell” he said. “This, this rascal, scoundrel Rohan, all because of him” Gauraw shouted. I somewhat understood what had happened. But this was a direct attack on me “What? What have I done? Tell me” I retaliated with fury. “One thing is sure from now on I will never subscribe to his slippery schemes. You know what happened?” Now he was addressing Arvind “When I reached the lab (Biology lab, for classes) Modi madam (The Bio Teacher) was sitting there with the gift on the table, immediately I knew it was my biggest mistake to agree to his scheme” He said pointing at me. “She asked me what is this Gauraw? We thought you were a sincere student and came here to study. Did you come to school to do this? You have disappointed us. When she refused to take it you kept it in her bag! How shameless you are? My god.. And Blah blah… I even said that it was sent by Ankur…” He stopped in between and shook his head looking down at the ground “What happened then?” I asked as I was gaining more and more interest in the incident as it neared the climax. Gauraw looked angrily at me “What do you expect?” he was furious “She said if it was from Ankur then why did you put it in her bag? You should’ve kept it and given it back to Ankur. Now I had no answers to this….” He was devastated as his reputation was the biggest thing for him. He was rebuked in front of the whole batch. “But you told us that this has to reach Rewa. And that is what I did.” I clarified my position. “I never said that” Gauraw went ballistic. Arvind was bursting into laughter and I couldn’t control it for long. It were 10 sec or so and Gauraw was into it too. “You know Modi Madam didn’t talk to me for the whole session” Gauraw said with a innocence of a child who comes complaining about his friends. “Don’t worry she will soon forget” I assured Gauraw. “We will clarify the whole thing with Rewa and ask her to tell this to Modi madam, she knows that it was from Mathur.” Suggested Arvind. And the same happened we had to make the situation clear to Rewa and then to Modi madam but in the end the matter was resolved.
And now whenever the three of us meet this is one incident nobody misses to mention