In the misty morning of Monday , the year 1959,early October month, I hastened my steps to reach R a g h u n a t h P a n d i t a’s house my English teacher ,to collect the corrected student notebooks, a boring job entrusted .
Being the monitor of the class I was supposed to assist the Class teacher in such errands not very often but rarely.
The mist was dense and I could hardly see anything except my feet and the rickety road I plodded on.
The Sun rose behind the mountain and the heat radiated from its rays, warmed up my body and also diffused the mist into a bright morning.
I crossed over the narrow strip of the road and saw a water carrier with his camel leather bag slung on his shoulder spraying water on the dusty roads ,the other man followed sweeping with long thick broom soon after.
I reached H a b b a K a d al C h o w k , saw a large gathering over the bridge , men and women, hustled in groups of three or four. All were in serious discourse over some contagious topic wearing somber anxious looks in awe and despair.
“what is the matter ?” I asked a gentle man
“ A young lady’s body was floating on the Jhelum
river down the bridge“
“Police was informed” he continued.
“ oh my God’ I said to myself walking away from the crowd having to reach Ma s t e r j i’ s house before 7.30am.
The prettiest women vegetable sellers , dressed in c o l our f u l embroidered loose
G o w e n s, ‘ Kashmiri P h e r a ns’ , silken scarfs covering their heads ,squatted on the tarred pavements on either side of the road displaying the fresh varieties to attract the early customers.
The fruit sellers with wooden boxes of apples lined the farther corner making brisk business.
I bargained for a juicy apple for an Anna and it exploded with juice when I bite into it.
The Ha b b a k a dal C h o w k was getting crowded with people thronging the bazaars and the cycle riders ringing their bells ,zigzagging their ways past the crowds amidst mild protests, sporadic a r g u m e n t s.
I some how elbowed my way into a narrow lane, lined with Red Tiles, leading to the
Upper S a t h u the most congested colony of Srinagar city where M a s t e r j i R a g h u n a t h lived.
I took a short way along the mossy slope bank of the rivulet through the ill maintained Park , walked through some lanes
b y e -lanes ,the weather beaten houses all along with low windows gave spectrum view of interiors of rooms.
A grandfather’s clock on the middle of wall , some rooms well furnished ones , and some sparsely furnished but well painted ones.
I lost my way in the confused maze of the intricate lanes.
I asked a passerby “ hello sir can you tell me the way to Master R a g h u Na t h Pa n d i t a’s house.”
“ Move to your left walk a furlong or so you will land at the big sprawling House of Master ji
just opposite to S h r i Ram C h a n d e r Temple.
I thanked him and just turned a short way along and turned left crossed the bridge and walked for a while . I was finally at the big iron gate of the big sprawling house .
The name plate of M a s t e r j i was very well pasted on the side of the left pillar.
I just walked through the gate and on to the front V a r a n dah , I called out for M a s t e r j i .
“ Master ji I am here”.
The door opened by a pretty Sari clad young lady, “ come inside and be seated “ she said in a low voice with a smile.
I sat down on the carpet and took off my satchel slung from shoulder and positioned myself in a comfortable posture.
M a s t e r R a g h u n a t h entered the room and said “ P r a d u m a n did you find the way easily.”
“ Yes sir I had to ask for your house from a passerby .he directed me rightly” I replied
“ Pl take hold of these note books and take them to the class room in your personal custody.
We will distribute to students.” he said while handing over a bundle.
“ Sir I need a cloth bag so that I could carry them with ease.” I asked without any hesitation.
Meanwhile the young pretty lady came with a glass of milk and asked me to drink the same.
I hesitated but she was insistent and finally I drank the milk having a bountiful of almonds mixed in .
“ Sudeshi ,he is P r a d u man k i s h a n ,my best student and monitor of class” M a s t e r j i said and “ she is my darling wife , M r s S u d e s h i
P a n d i t a” he continued.
“ N a m a s t e m a d a m”
“thank you madam for wonderful milk” , I said
“ Shall I go sir now.” I asked M a s t e r j i
“ yes yes ,you can go straight down the road
and enter college premises and move out.
The school falls on other side close by.”
R a g h u n a t h sir explained on a piece of paper.
S u d e s hi was still with me and I found here very beautiful young lady with pretty features and golden silky hair cascading over her half bare back. Her penetrating blue eyes were attractive and inviting .
“ Why are you in hurry . It will take you just fifteen minutes to reach the school
P r a d u m a n”.
she said pinching my fluffy cheeks with her both hands.
“ y o u are very handsome my boy.”
“Now you know the route come sometimes again” she pleaded with a wry smile.
“ Yes I will do that” I replied casually feeling somewhat awkward by her unusual friendly
b e h a v i o u r.
“ I had to go on some shopping to market on Friday, will you come to help me.” she requested
“ Cannot say “ I replied instantly.
“ Do not worry I will tell R a g h v a n to allow you to come at 2pm.”
“ R a g h v a n; who is that? ” I asked a little surprised.
“ I call your M a s t e r j i R a g h v a n , to be precise and a sweet name.”
“o h I see”
Finally I took leave of her and walked down the broad tarred road on to my school.
The morning rush of school children, College giggling girls , office goers other pedestrians presented a spectacular view to watch and enjoy.
In no time I found myself at the mammoth gate o f my School ,Sri P a r t a p School ,Srinagar’s one of the best Schools that time.
I walked on the broad tar coal road , big lawns on either side ,the grass shining with morning dew and flower hedges gave a splendid view.
I ascended the broad staircase leading to long narrow corridor directly to my class room 10th A.
I opened the door put down the satchel and placed the note books on the small trunk behind the easel and black board. I opened the windows allowing fresh air to refresh the Class room . Meanwhile the peon came with a sprayer and toned up the room with some air freshener, a good rosy smell.
“ you do it daily “ I asked the peon
“ y e s I do it daily” he replied briefly .
One thing my father had instilled in me from childhood not to be late for any appointment important or otherwise.
So I was early in the School after keeping my appointment with
Master R a g h u n a t h j i.
I have an hour to wait before the teacher comes to teach.
It was probably English class at 10 am to begin with R a g h u n a t h only.
Finally R a g h u n a t h was in the class room right at 2 minutes to Ten , the Clock outside in the corridor chimed in at 10 Am.
The Teacher stood jauntily before the black board ordering the students to sit down in his voluminous thundering voice.
“ P r e d u man take out the note books and keep them on my table” h e said politely this time.
I picked up the note books and kept them as suggested.
R a g h u n a t h was tall fair looking man with blue deep set eyes, curly hair combed backwards with a prominent parting line.
Always meticulously dressed in suit and a tie , He always boasted about his robust handsome personality.
“ My suite is tailored in W e s s e x street London, my tie is from Paris and socks from Berlin” he would mutter on with a sense of conviction and never f a l t e red in his
n a r ration.
Unlike other Teachers it was obvious
R a g h u n a t h was profligate person recklessly spending on his extravagant luxury.
G o p a l , my friend and class mate was only
one placating to the Master j I ‘ s self praising
“ you are right sir, there is hardly any other person in the school as handsome and upright as yourself sir” G op a l would say to
R a g h u n a t h with an air of finality.
I would later chide G o p a l for his undue
cheeky response to Master Ra g h u n a t h’s
“A r r e y P r a d u m e n I just keep him happy”
G o p a l said giggling loudly.
“Ok. my friend as you please.” p r e d u m a n patted G o p a l smilingly.
The Form Teacher P r a k a s h C h a n d e r walked into the class in J o d h p u r i Band Gala coat and pant of beige c o l o u r.
“Good Morning all” he said loudly.
“ Good Morning sir” all said in unison.
P r a k a s h Sir was of heavy build, a bit stodgy but being a mathematician very intelligent.
He was kind affable and one could confide in him any personal problem and he was ready to resolve that. So Students respected him very much.
“ Take out your note books. Did you complete the 10th e x e r c i s e. Any difficulty”. H e asked.
A few students raised hands.
“ P r e d u man kindly take down the questions and I will solve these on black board one by one
so that they understand the correct method to solve such tedious ones” P r a k a s h Sir commanded.
That was the devoted way P r a k a s h Sir used to teach Mathematics.
He would not go to another exercise till all students could effectively solve the questions of previous one.
The peon came and asked me to see
R a g h u n a t h sir in Teachers’ room.
I took permission to see him and followed the peon into Teachers’ room.
Master j i was sitting in the farther corner of big sprawling room .
I said “ yes sir “.
“ Tomorrow is Friday , My wife needs you to help her in marketing at 2pm.” He said a bit louder than a whisper, almost a whisper only.
“ Sir you have to talk to my Form teacher.”
“ y e s I will do that . Do not worry”
That was it . I had to go to meet her and help her.
“ I hope it does not become a daily affair” I said to myself.
I was just five minutes to two in the afternoon at the Master R a g h u n a t h P a d it a’s Residence
I walked up to broad V a r a n dah and made a gentle knock.
S u d e s h i opened the door and greeted me with a kiss on both virgin cheeks.
“So you kept the promise. I had told Ra g h van
in the morning” she said in her flamboyant style.
“Yes Madam I keep my promise” I replied .
s h e held my right arm and made me to settle in to a c o s y deep leather chair. I sat back and tried to relax but S u de s h i wanted me to get refreshed and asked me to wash my face hands to get down to lunch which she had laid on the table already.
I was hungry ate the morsels of rice mixed with mutton pieces hurriedly without any formality as such.
She watched me with astonishment and giggled a lot.
She made me to drink some juice just like black tea . I drank it and felt good, asked for more which she poured me in my glass.
I f e l t e n e r g i s e d and strong enough .
“ At what time we would go for marketing?.”
I a s k e d.
“At 3.30 pm “ she snapped.
“ Yes I have to reach home by 6 pm”. I replied.
S u d e s hi was dressed in a floating brown gown with deep V neck and the scooped neckline was very attractive.
“ You look beautiful young and you smell like
Pansy flower .” I said coolly.
“ I am young twenty nine years only , eleven years young than your Sir”
She performed a modest rotation and touched my cheek and I felt flushed, a bit excited , ‘my handsome boy’ smiling coquettishly.
She entrapped me to her bed room upstairs to the first floor and held me tightly to her shiny bosom lapped up my reddened young face.
she nibbled caressed my teenage body.
She prodded my nudity and I felt like a captive in her strong arms unable to move.
She tenderly cuddled me and I momentarily seized her soft hands and ran my tongue along .
I felt I was being seduced and it excited me to be in her warm clasp a t the same time.
A shudder of exasperation shook me and somehow I extracted myself and she smooching me warmly. .
“ I am going“ I said running away from her down stairs into bath room for a warm wash up.
After fifteen minutes she came down in a yellow s a r i , looking more gorgeous than an hour before.
s h e handed over my shirt and shorts ironed out meticulously .
she held my hand and gave it a squeeze ,the smell of scent reached me.
“Are you angry? You should not be. I like you and like you very much “
“ but you should not have seduced me. I have lost my virginity” I said meekly.
She laughed and stroked her fingers through my hair softly.
“ Nothing like that. You are young man and I have started loving you your innocence”
“ If Raghu sir finds it he will put me in jail” I said
“oh come on P r a d u man do not get panic. He will not know it unless you or me tells him.” she said calmly .
“Now put on your shirt and shorts. We are going for shopping.” She said firmly.
I put on the same hurriedly to be ready for accompanying her on shopping.
It was already 4 pm and we picked up a To n g a f or Residency shopping Center.
We did not talk en-route to the shopping Bazaar.
She was occasionally smiling and I glanced at her through corners of my eyes.
She looked exceedingly beautiful and the fact was I liked her immensely.
S u d e s h i was moving from one shop to another haggling over prices and bought a number of shawls, saris and many other items .
She guided me to a tea stall .
“ Give us two orange Juices “ she ordered the
t e a boy in the shop.
“ b e quick “ she continued.
The boy handed over the two juices and I drank
mine in one draught.
“ Finished it so quickly” S u d e s hi asked a little surprised.
I smiled without saying anything.
I told her that I would like to go home directly after making her to sit in a Tonga.
She agreed and I helped her to sit in the back seat comfortably before taking leave of her.
“ P r a d u m a n Come again” I heard her calling out loudly as the Tonga rattled up for the drive.
“Yes surely” I cried out .
I walked down the Residency Road towards my home.
The strange sequences of unusual event was occupying my young mind and I was between two minds whether to go again to meet
S u d e s hi or avoid for all times to come.
The alchemy of distasteful sex by S u d e s hi was w e i g h i n g down my body and mind.
I some how reached home and slumped on my
b e d falling fast asleep instantly.
For next few days I was upset ready to break down like a child. Somewhere inside me was sense of frustration , a feeling of guilt tortured me and I kept saying “ not right thing to do”. “Poor R a g h u n a t h sir, a gentleman of first order. Sudeshi ,the shameless one did not look guilty at all” I kept saying to myself.
But it was true I got swayed by her exquisite beauty, the fleshy contours and her pretty
f e a t u r e s, and she forcefully pounced upon me in that brazen indulgent manner.
The train of thoughts followed my mind and I was a boy of sixteen, shy, sullen , very resentful
of the event that shook me .
“ Oh S u d e s h i why you did it.” I kept saying to myself.
“ R a g h u n a t h S i r might not be loving her
S u d e s hi is very young and Master ji much much older.” I argued with myself.
“ Any way I need not worry about this matter anymore.” I Consoled myself .
“ In case she calls me again I will tell everything to my Form Teacher P r a k a s h Chand . He would help me definitely.”
I woke up the following morning jumped out of the bed , dressed up after having a hurried bath , went for breakfast a heavy one with potatoes stuffed Pa r a t h as , glass of milk and one boiled egg.
“ Mu m ma I am going early to School to meet Form Teacher P r a k ash sir.” I said briefly.
“ come in time P r e d u man” M u m ma said sternly.
I hurriedly took my satchel and left for the School .
I ran up the long large stairs up to my Class room.
I asked for the Sir P r a k ash C h a nd from the peon and he confirmed Sir was sitting in the staff room .
I walked the long dimly lit corridor and entered the marked Staff Room door intoa large well ventilated room.
“ Come On P r e d u m a n how are you.”
P r a k a sh Sir called out in his resonant voice.
“ Good Morning Sir” I replied in a low voice.
Sir I have to make confession’’ I said and I heard my voice break off in between ,and the tears welled up in my eyes and I cried as the tears flew down my cheeks.
“Come on Preduman what is the matter? I will help, no problem”
I narrated all the sequence of events of the previous day at R a g h u n a t h sir’s home, the brazen manner of shameful act by Su d e s h i.
I sat b e w i l d e re d ,confused and in shame and misery.
“ P r e d u man do not worry . Stop crying. Just wash your face and refresh .” P r a k a sh sir told me patting my shoulders comfortably.
I came back soon refreshing myself up and stood in front of Sir .
“ Sit down. You will not go to R a g h u n a t h
Sir’s place at all.”
“I will resolve the matter on my own . Do not talk to any one of this incident. Forget it.”
He said with a firm conviction, laying his hand on my shoulder and I got convinced he
understood me well than I did myself.
After meeting the Sir I felt relieved strong and
no sense of s o r r i n e s s clinging to me.
After a week or so a Circular was pinned on Notice Board ;
No student will go to Teachers’ homes for any random errands like ,collection of corrected Student Notebooks or any other connected works. All teachers are requested to correct the Notebooks in School itself . sd PRINCIPAL