Memories are both sweet and bitter. Oblivion is both gift and loss. Here memory is sour and oblivion is still not working. Or is this memory sweet? … let us have a look.
Twelve years back, life was all within the walls of maroon and cream, my school uniform. Life was simple and the world was small.
The Great Fall
The Great Fall happened when I was in ninth standard, on a school tour to Mysore. It was an evening, a Diwali eve. We were enjoying the aura at Chamundi Hills. The Chamundeswari Temple was all illuminated with light bulbs and every house was shining like the stars in the sky. This was the first time that I experienced this kind of festive mood. It was the heaven in my dreams and I was ecstatic!
The biggest attraction in Chamundi Hills is the panoramic view of the city, a very luring vision. There was a wall to one end of the hill. Somebody was shouting “Get in here, wow”. One among us ran towards the wall to jump on top. His mission failed but he landed safely. The second one took the run-up and jumped. He landed safely on top, a stylish effort.
Why not me??
I went near the wall to know its height. It was a bit shorter than my chest-level. I walked back for the run-up. I thought, ‘He is taller than me; I need a longer run-up’. ‘The target’ was my only vision. In between, some of my friends interrupted my runway.
“Hey… move from there,” I said
“What are you doing?”Someone asked.
“Wait and see,” I said.
‘1…2…3… start’…I started… ran towards the wall… took my whole effort and jumped….. Flying….I saw the top of the wall…landing there was a silly target! I was flying to the other side of the wall without even touching the wall! Adrenaline rushed! ‘What to do?’ some faces flashed through my mind… Amma… Pappa… I hit some branches, but still, my foot didn’t get hold of any ground! Again dropping down…
Finally my foot experienced something solid below! I dropped to the ground without a scratch. ‘Alive! But how will I reach the top?’ I looked up. ‘God… it has a height equal to that of three men standing one on top of the other!’
“Deepak… Deepak….” I heard many voices. I saw torch lights. I climbed up the wall. Everybody was there! “What happened? Are you OK?” teachers and friends enquired. “I am alright… just slipped…”
“Deepak, where is your spec?” somebody asked in between. “Ohhh..,” my hands browsed for the spectacles on my own face. I looked down…’ New spectacles… Amma… Pappa’. Once again I looked down.
I borrowed a torch and went down again…
The innerwear mystery
Another mysterious event occurred during the same trip. On the last day, way back home, we stopped at ‘Dream World’, a water theme park. Financial crisis or nothing, our tour co-ordinator decided that boys don’t need a changing room. We converted our tour bus into a changing room. Everything was normal until we retired from the park.
“Boys, you have 10 minutes to change”.
Everybody was sharing their funny incidents that happened in the park and changing their dress. I was just listening and telling my stories without changing my dress. I was standing wearing my towel. After some time I realised that everybody except me changed into normal dress. In a hurry, I changed my dress.
“Is everything over? Can girls come in?”
There wasn’t any objection. I packed my things… towel, shorts…. underwear… wait… where is my underwear?? I looked all over… no chance… girls started to get in. I started to panic… what to do? My heart beat rose. What to do? What if some girl got my underwear?? There will be no point in living the rest of my life! Once again I began to search the entire bus. By that time everybody got into the bus. “Deepak, what are you searching?” one girl asked. “Ahhh…lost my towel,” I uttered. Bus started… helplessly I returned to my seat. My heart was heavy. I felt a heavy stone on my chest.
‘What to do if someone gets my underwear?’ ‘Behave as it is not mine… Behave normal… behave normal’ I expected the worst to happen any moment. I began to bite my nail. Journey advanced. If anybody rose from their seat my heart beat doubled! After some time, all light in bus went off. Everybody fell asleep except for me and the driver!
Finally we reached the school. I was the last one who vacated the bus after searching every nook and corner, but in vain. I reached home. “How was your trip?” amma asked. “It was good, amma” but I lost every spirit of the tour. “Change your dress and bath, I will get you some hot water.” I began to change, but… how did that happen?. I began to recollect scene by scene but didn’t get a clue as to where I placed my underwear.
I began to unpack my bag and placed everything on bed, counted my under wears… one short… no luck… ‘It is a mystery; where has it gone?.’
“Deepak, water is ready. Get into the bathroom.”
I undressed… removed my underwear…not feeling free… I looked down… My innerwear mystery solved!