How curious I am now to remember those unforgettable days? It springs with all refreshing fragrance even today giving a soft touch and sensitized all the senses; rather a re-play of all but the tragedy is: they are no more.
MAIRWA, my birth land 10 km away towards north from Jeeradei (the home village of Dr. Rajender Baboo, the First President of India Republic) was the hub of colorful activities. Social, cultural, religious and political: all were dignified and graceful events. Beautiful images of goddess Durga during DUSSEHRA, very skillfully made were the images of the goddess Saraswati, dressed magnificently in sari and the hectic preparation to celebrate the arrival of Basant Panchami. Folk songs, dance and drama performed by students and local artists were highly applauded by the audience in the jam-packed pandals. Intermingled girls and boys students of the school would stay back till late evening to prepare their assigned work together fearlessly; they were fearless because they knew their work; they knew how to respect each other; they were graceful and decent. No parents brought complaints of any sort to the notice of the school administration. Everything was fair and transparent. And why not? Shri Baboo Banarsidass (late), the headmaster of the premier institute Hari-Ram Uchch Vidyalaya and (late) Shri Yadunath Baboo were the persons glued with the institute for its all-round development, very particularly the academics. Shri Bachchu Baboo, the disciplinarian, his movement in the school corridor or anywhere in the campus was a semblance of strict system. His teaching of algebra and geometry are still afresh and that is enough to the teaching of today’s children. His simplicity and his pearled-writings in the note book make me envious of his merit. Those beautiful and simple girls that I realize today could hardly converse with boys for a longer period, was Bachchu Baboo standing or moving around the campus. Yes of course that fear was innocent and productive!!
The long corridor, arched and colored in rose-red was the face of the school building; non concrete roof about 15 feet high and skillfully made were the cliffs tucked behind a row of Asoka and eucalyptus trees; and behind the building a pond which surround the entire campus was everyone attraction. The pond contained water round the year and the blossoming lotus could be seen from every corner. Every student through the windows of the class room used to peep and take a pleasant, soothing and panoramic view of the pond especially at a time when the physics and mathematics classes were just over. The courtyard of the school building was full of fruit giving trees which were planted by Banarsi Baboo. One day I dared pluck some litchchis and ate them in the class only when I found no student was there. The next day, after the school assembly, I was summoned by the school peon, the puckered mouth Budhdhu Ji to see the headmaster in his office. I was awestricken. The reason was obvious: what will happen? Around 9 am I reported to the office with fear stricken face. Baboo Ji said:
"Take these ripped litchchis and eat them with your class-mates. If you need more, ask Budhdhu, he will fetch you more. Now, you go to your class."
Finally, the last day of the celebration came. 9 am 1975; clear sky of the Vasant Ritu; the cultivating land was covered with glittering yellow stars, they could be seen as far as the sight could be thrown away, the sun rays shimmering into the crowd of the jubilant students were anxiously waiting Shri Punch Dev Baboo to arrive; very respected one, not only by the students but the entire people of Mairwa. That great personality was my Sanskrit teacher. M.A in Sanskrit from B.H.U and a gold medalist, dhoti-kurta clad, Hawaii chappal as his footwear and a gamchhi on his left shoulder eventually arrived at 9:30 am. Thereafter hymns from The Vedas started; the enchantments were clearly heard by all present there. I still remember one from them which I write here in roman script:
Etwa-madi-deiwah poorshah poorane
Etwamasswe vishwa-shwe-param nidhanam
Wettassi veddyam chaparam cha-dhanam
Etwamasswe vishwasswa param nidhanam