The J jinx continued to follow dad, and we soon found ourselves moving out from jalandhar, punjab to jorhat, assam. The name jorhat conjures up the following things for me : henoch schonlein syndrome, Neha, carmel school and fights between mom and dad about money.
Mom started working as a school teacher in jorhat in carmel convent, where we used to have morning mass, and evening mass, one of the most embarrasing moments ever. Being raised in schools where the last bell rings followed by a sense of euphoria, and a sense of urgency to get back home asap change clothes and hit the playground either to play basketball, cricket or rugby with the bigger boys. I ran at the sound of the last bell, tearing down the corridor, into the playgorund when suddenly the strap of my bag tore and all the remanants of the after rava upma ( which was the entire lunch, cos i had not eaten them, rav upma, somehow chokes you by sticking in the back of your throat, you feeling the entire granular texture of the rava going down your throat. ) and i stopped to pick my bag, cursing that am gonna lose the lead i had got, and i turned around to see that I was the only kid in the playground, the rest of the school was busy singing hymns or something of that sort, and i did not know what to do, should I walk back to the class and compound the agony and bring the entire episode to glaring public notice or should i run to my army bus waiting there with the nobody inside, teasing me with the prospect of taking the most lucrative seat, next to the conductor.
So there i took the latter choice, who said i was an uprighteous kid? this was my first day in that school. But i remember carmel school, not for this, not for the fact that I was absent from it for more than 8 months fighting for dear life thanks to some godforsaken disease which sounds pretty exotic "henoch schonlein syndrome". But for the dimpled smile of Neha.
I would like to say that before going any further that the following text is what I felt back then and there are no more residual feelings now.
Everybody cries that movies somehow affect the impressionable mind, well I was no exception, I loved Mohra ( tu cheese badi hai mast mast... actually sounds like a good ad campaign for amul cheese ro something) and though I don remember the movie name there was this sad haunting movie song which i used to sing to myself while walking down the corridors of the hospital after taking a hazar steriods to reduce the inflammtion of my blood vessels, wrapping the shawl around my shoulders enacting a La- Devdas, but soon, i got alrite, got discharged from the hospital after a rather short stay of 8 months, and soon dad got transferred from jorhat, but Neha's memory haunted me for close to a decade, and I used to fantasize that one fine day when I become rich and famous I ll search for her and tell her how i felt about her, did not matter if she was married or not, I just wanted to pour out whatever i felt.
I would meet her after close to 16 yrs... and the meeting would have reprucssions in my life in ways i would have never comprehended. But thats later on. Way later on. But as destiny and god have this sadistic sense of humor, i would meet her. I did.
Jorhat always reminds me of my puppy dog love, and the 43 puncture marks in my hands in places where they put in the IV. Yes, it will remain etched in my mind as a dream which could never fulfill itself into reality, I don feel sorry about it, but if it had then it would have been the stuff which movies and dreams are made off, but reality aint anywhere close to it now, is it?