Monday, August 1, 2016




( Photo Zaina Kadal , Srinagar 1950 )

Names of some school friends or friends in our neighbourhood always amused me. I mean names like Sahaba, Maharaja, King Ji, Seth Ji, Raja Ji, Prince, etc. These boys had the remotest link with what they were made to appear by their names. Possibly their poor parents wanted them to be like a Sahib or a King or a wealthy trader or a prince or a Raja or a Maharaja. Like most Kashmiris, these friends also belonged to families that generally consumed cheap green leafy Haak and rice. Voguv or dried weed mat was their carpet. Their families never bought fruits.
We shared the same lifestyle. All of us ate Bataah ( cooked rice ) three times a day; Once while going to school, then on return from the school and finally at night. All of us drank Kehwa, Mogiel Chaai ( desi tea )and Sheer Chaai ( salt tea ). Modern tea that was popularly known as Lipton tea in Kashmir was unknown to Sahaba, King Ji, Seth Ji, Raja Ji, Prince and Maharaja.

In  the D. A. V. School ( Rainawari )  , all of us ate fruits that fell on the ground from trees. We brought them racing down with stones. All of us would play cricket with a hard and heavy wooden ball ( Beera in Kashmiri ) that was cheap and gave many injuries. All of us played with a bat made from cut firewood logs stored in the house.

Sahaba (officer ), King Ji(  king ), Seth Ji ( wealthy trader) , Maharaja  ( ruler ), Raja Ji (  king ) and Prince ( Yuvraj ) had to weep when excursions were declared in the school. They were not sure about their participation. They were not sure whether their fathers could afford to pay them ten rupees as excursion charges. It was only after this weeping and suffering that the excursion trip was reluctantly approved by the family head and some cheese or mutton was bought to be given with the lunch pack that had rice and a little curd.
Sahaba ( officer ), King Ji(  king ), Seth Ji ( wealthy trader) Maharaja  ( ruler ), Raja Ji (  king ) and Prince ( Yuvraj  )  had to buy second-hand books from senior students in the school. Those seniors were also in possession of second-hand books. It was not known as to who had purchased new books.
Luckily, books and syllabus remained unchanged for many years.
Once a Prince was playing cricket with us when his mother suddenly appeared on the scene. Very loudly she said :
“ Hataa Prince Jiya. Tche chhuyaa maam sundh boot tchhunmut. Amiss ha guv tcheir . Ya chhai khraav . Yeli ghara ikh ya laageizi. valaa maamun boot di yuer.  Or…. O, Prince ! Are you wearing your Mama’s ( maternal uncle ) shoes? Take this wooden sandal ( khraav ). When you come back to your place after this game is over, use this wooden sandal only. Give those shoes to me. He has to go back. He is getting late .”
Sahaba (  officer ), King Ji(  king ),  Seth Ji ( wealthy trader) , Maharaja  ( ruler ), Raja Ji (  king ) and Prince ( Yuvraj  ) had to go to the government hospital to buy medicine. The medicine was usually a coloured liquid kept in big glass bottles. A proper measure was transferred to every sick Sahab, Prince, Maharaja, King Ji, Seth Ji  or Raja Ji. Sometimes some tablets were crushed and mixed with this coloured mixture.
Sahaba (  officer ), King Ji(  king ),  Seth Ji ( wealthy
trader), Maharajaa  ( ruler ), Raja Ji (  king ) and Prince ( Yuvraj  )  would be made to stand in their classes for non-deposit of the monthly fee. It was not a humiliation because almost every boy faced this situation. Some times they had to be out from class as they were not in proper uniform. Their lone set of uniform had remained wet due to late washing by the mother and was unfit for wearing.
Quite often you could see Prince or King Ji or Seth Ji or Raja Ji or Sahaba or Maharaja near third-class ticket window of Sheeraz or Palladium cinema crying:
‘ Ticket ha ku'dd vaenn chha'nna na'rr neraan. or…I have bought the tickets but am unable to pull out my hand now.’
 It was so because along with king Ji or Seth Ji or Raja Ji or Sahaba or Prince or Maharaja, a Tongawalla, some college student, a street smart young man and a schoolboy had also put their arms inside through the small opening of the third class window. All these arms were locked and none was able to pull out his hand that had a third-class ticket in it.

I end this mini write up with a couplet of Urdu poet Majrooh Sultanpuri.

‘Ahle toofaan aao dilwaalon ka afsaana kahein
Mauj ko gaisu bhanwar ko chashme Janaanaan Kahein.’

( O people of the storm!
Come, let me tell you the tale of lovers.
Come! let us call the wave as hair locks of the adored one.
Come! let us call the whirlpool as the eye of  the beloved .)

( Avtar Mota )

Creative Commons License

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\\.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.