As we go through the necessary but quite tedious (and sometimes infuriating, unjust and meaningless) path of life, we encounter a host of people and happenings. Some stay in our memories for ever and even after years, we recall the faces and the scene as it were just yesterday, some disappear without trace and cannot be remembered despite how much we prod into the crevices of our memory and some just pop out at the most inopportune times – the human mind is wonderful.
I am not much removed from this phenomenon – except I score much higher in the first and third categories I mentioned above. As the Ustaad once said, there is not much I forget but refuse to admit … or words to those effect. But let us not get involved in all this, and I will come to the crux – the reason for the post, which simply is to share with you some recollections ofrom my varied life. Some of these may seem obscure and not very remarkable to quite a few people and they may question why I chose to share them. Well, it is my considered opinion that these must be shared before they are irretrievably forgotten. My point is that we all undergo such encounters but most of them don’t even pay them much attention, less recall them. As a famous character told his companion, “You see but you don’t observe”. These examples are what makes a life rich.
I have chosen half-a-dozen incidents to share and maybe will tell you more as and when they occur to me and I get time to record them.
Let me start with a memory from my days in the Lucknow University. I do not recall exactly when it happened, but it was most likely in my second or third year or 1996 or 1997, when the miasma of gloom that largely permeated the first year was replaced by a more upbeat mood (which also owed its genesis to links with someone who would in the course of time become my closest friend). It was the election season in the varsity, which meant disrupted classes, bouts of violence and sudden closures.
During one of these, it was mid morning or early afternoon and we were walking through the Arts Faculty quadrangle, past the rostrum in the barren Rose Garden (which it undoubtedly was sometimes in the early 1960s but at that time, resembled a parade ground in the remote North African colonial outposts) when the procession led by Ramchandra Singh Pardhan…Pradhan (I beg your pardon, overwhelmed by the memories, I fell it to the usual Avadhi prounciation) came in. Pradhan – contesting for the general secretary’s post (mahamantri, as it was called) – was usually accompanied by a small group but that day he seemed to have outdone himself and collected 150-to 200 supporters at least. (Here, I must mention for your edification, that all contestants be they contesting for the post of faculty representative to the almighty president used to drag… I say drag, for many used to coax or coerce many unwilling to join in, to assemble a large procession behingd them as they made their way through the campus to canvass).
However, Pradhan and his procession began running…. well jogging given the portly shape of Pradhan around the ground amid an inspired chorus of slogan-shouting and there was sudden consternation. On the side housing the proctor’s office, there was a sudden burst of activity and out came chugging (he was no less portly) Sub Inspector Tomar (I forget his initials) , attached to the police outpost in the University (it happened to be opposite the registrar’s office in the administrative building with the proctor’s office their camp office) and ran (in the broadest sense of the word) towards Pradhan and his jogging band. From a distance, our good policeman began bellowing “Pardhan ji! Pardhan ji!”. But Pardhan (oops, I mean Pradhan) , basking in his ephemeral glory and a vapid, vacuous grin firmly plastered on his countenance, could not, or did not, hear and the trot (Aha! that is the correct word continued. Finally, Tomar, drawing up his last reserves of strength, came up close to managed to deliver his supplication. Pradhan, whether in fear or in pity at the sight of a rotund policeman running after him, succumbed to the plea: “Pardhan ji! Ae Pardhan ji, daurho naahi!”
And after that. Well, it is a complete blank, like a film in the brain coming to a stop at that particular frame at Pardhan (sorry, I mean Pradhan) coming to a stop.
The second… well in the next post.
To be continued..