The Secret Cult
So, I am back with another funny incident to tell you from my school. It comes from the time when I was in class 10th. There were six of us- Ankur (Gaur), Arvind, Gauraw, Pradumn, Me, Sandeep and Vishal (also called as Mama). We used to hang around together as we thought we were the sanest people in the class. Others consisted of characters such as, Some transport company owner’s sons who were least concerned about studies and the thing that mattered most for them were there looks, A mad guy who nobody knows why was always bullying students as well as teachers, Some guys who had an established business and were going to carry on with it after school and were just passing the time nowhere but in the school and Girls don’t need a mentioning (no offence intended).
During the time for lunch all the students were to go out on the ground; nobody should remain in the building. We all were forced out from the classes. Everybody ate their lunch on the ground and spent their time there only. But it’s not fun being everybody, so we always wanted a departure from the regular thing. We found a place that hardly anybody knew or visited. It was our secret place. The layout of our school is difficult to explain but what I can tell you is there are 4 halls made in front of the main building which can be used for different activities and the first of the halls and the main building both touched the boundary of the ground. From behind the first hall was a half built swimming pool, which was in that condition since time immemorial. The pool counted for length of one hall and after that, behind the hall there was an empty space which was not used. Mango trees grew there and there were stairs made on the backside of halls for entry on the stage in times of some function. These stairs served as our dining place and everyday we used to go there and have our lunch in peace and serenity away from all the chaos and ruckus that went on the ground.
In those days when you are young you are captivated by such things as a secret society or a thing that is just between you and your friends, especially in your adolescence. The secret lunch place proved to be the bonding for our undeclared secret society. Although nobody said it but it was there, all of us were a member of this group which had its headquarters behind the halls and met everyday at lunch. This was our place, I being the most enthusiastic about such things (thanks to my addiction for Hollywood movies and adventure novels), thought that there has to be one thing that unites us. One thing that differentiated our identities and would always be there to make us feel belonged.
This was achieved by a slogan which was coined after the brand of a water tank. Yes, a water tank. It was iconic because we also had a secret place to drink water after having our lunch, where a plastic water tank was placed with a water purifier attached to it. The school had a separate primary section for kids studying in classes of nursery, LKG and UKG. It was situated adjoining the halls, but no one from higher classes was permitted to go there. At the main entrance of the primary section a guard was always there to stop students of higher classes going there. But we found a back entry into the primary section which went through our dinning place (We also had a secret way to enter into the school building during the lunch time). After finishing the lunch we all went to the primary section through the secret way and there we drank water from the water tank in which water purifier was attached (we did this because apart from this one we trusted no other water purifier in the school which were broken most of the time). The brand of the plastic water tank was ‘Sarita’ nobody among us had ever heard that brand before. Because of the peculiarity of the brand name that place became to be known as ‘Sarita ki tanki’. It was another thing which was limited to our access only and symbolized us. So one day while drinking water from there I suddenly had an illumination.
“You know what, it is very unique” I said
“What is unique?” asked Arvind
“The name of the manufacturer. Sarita. Have you ever heard a water tank brand with that name?” I questioned them.
“Yeah we know that. What’s new in it? What is there that you find it that amazing?” asked Vishal.
“No we must do something with this, like make a ritual of some sort. What I propose every time before drinking water from here we will say Yo Sarita” I made my suggestion. I know it will sound weird and silly but it was a figment of my fantasy at that time. Initially the proposal was not received very well. Rest of them laughed and made fun but gradually it sank in. Sometime just for fun somebody would say Yo Sarita before drinking water and then everybody laughed, I was also making fun my silliness that brought about this slogan. Slowly but surely we started using it. Sarita ki tanki slowly became a regular spot.
During my school time, especially till class 10th, I had a flare for being on leave. Hardly went a week when I came to the school on all 6 days. My average per week was 4 days of school and 2 days of leave. It was another day when I was on leave. My friends had finished their lunch and went to Sarita ki tanki. After quenching the thirst they were coming back. On the way back one of our seniors(who was a feared charechter in the school) was sitting there with his friend (or girlfriend :P) in a corner of the passage between the halls. Vishal was shouting something and suddenly he cried out the slogan, the water ritual Yo Sarita, as they were passing by the seniors. You may say it coincidence or you may say it a bad luck, the name of his friend was also SARITA.
The senior had a reputation of a crack head. He was a prominent figure in the school and everybody was intimidated with him. He was the DADA of the school. As soon as he heard that he got up in fury (I wished I was there) and came up to Vishal.
“What? You think you are very smart? Haan?” he asked angrily. “You know with whom you are messing?” he was boiling. Vishal and rest of the guys were clueless what had happened. “Why were you shouting my girlfriend’s name like this? You think you will get away?” He asked Vishal. Now things started to clear up a bit, his girlfriend was also Sarita and so was the water tank. Somebody from the guys tried to clear up the confusion but he was not buying it. As I was not there, so I cannot surely tell, but what everybody else said that Vishal was beaten. Although Vishal refused that he was beaten up and maintained the statement that he only held Vishal’s hand and twisted it. Anyways fortunately or unfortunately lunch was over and the senior left Vishal for the next day asking him to meet him on the ground.
Next day I came to school unaware of the happenings of the previous day. Vishal was not there. “Where is Vishal?” I asked. “He will not come” answered Arvind in a strange manner. “Why?” I inquired as it was only me who went on a leave without any reason. “Sarita” answered Pradumn “Sarita?” I was confused. “Yes, because of our Sarita ki tanki” added Ankur. They explained me the whole incident and we all were laughing for the whole day. That day during the lunch time the senior did come with his friends on the ground. We tried to explain him the whole situation and tried to clarify, this time he was bit calm and took in what we said. We had to take him to the spot to prove that there is a brand of water tank named Sarita. For next three days Vishal didn’t come to school and nobody ever mentioned the name Sarita, at least not when we had other guys around. 😛