The Sunday dawn was dusky as the dark clouds were hovering over the sky and the Sun was gleaming its flickering beams occasionally rather very rarely, promising a tawny day.
After having a hurried breakfast — a cup of black tea, Kashmiri typical ‘Kahwa’ with hot thick bakery breads, I walked to the main gate my residence for a stroll down the main street of our huge posh colony, Karan-Nagar.
“Hey where are you going” my mother shouted from behind.
“ just coming in a jiffy. Have to see Ratan .” I replied back without thinking.
“ Ratan; who is he?”
“my new class mate Mumma” I replied half heartedly.
“where does he live ?. Next time bring him here”.
“ You have to study now the college course is tough. Do not waste time.” Mother retorted angrily.
“Mummy do not get panicky I am just coming back.”
I hugged my mother reassuring her that I would not roam about long.
“ wait, please do me a f a v our “ S u s h e e la my elder cousin came running after me .
“kindly give this book to S a r l a my friend. It won’t take you much time .” she pleaded.
“Sa r la D h a r ,you mean “ I confirmed.
“Yes Y e s “ my sister S u s h i la said emphatically.
“Am I looking ok?” I asked having cursory glance at my dress.
“oh my brother you are looking awesome”.
“May be I am lucky to see U r v e s hi there. K a n war my cousin, more friend than a brother , was telling me that U r v e s h i, the fourth youngest sister of S a r la was exceedingly beautiful. I smiled to myself and pushed out on a small but important errand.
Being teenager at the threshold of sixteen years I was eager to do such errands for thrill and pleasure.
S a r l a‘s house was quite away from our house just three lanes across the C h i n a r park, four huge C h i n a r trees encircled with barbed wire in the middle of the main street.
I strode across the broad road of K a r a n-n a g a r ,fully Ma c a d a m is e d ones, and walked briskly to reach S a r l a’s house. in about ten minutes.
The red and white three S to r e y Bungalow was done with a decorative plaster looking shining to the eyes.
The main gate was locked but the side gate was open.
I rang the bell and the door was instantly opened by a plump lady wearing a cotton sari.“ Miss S a rl a “ I did not wait for her to question me.
“ I have to see her “ I continued.
“ come inside” she said .
The tarred pathway led to the front of the building and she moved to the right into the big drawing room with carved wooden ceiling , a big chandelier hanging from the middle lit by co l o u red bulbs . Some large Countryside paintings hung on the either side of walls .
Large sofas were placed along the walls with large K a s hmiri silk carpets in the middle.
I was directed to get seated in a wooden chair adjacent to the long sofa.
There was no sign of S a r l a for nearly fifteen minutes.
I got restless but soon S a r la entered “ sorry for the delay young boy.” S a r l a said apologetically.
she was accompanied with a pretty young girl ,
” she is Ur v e s hi ,my younger sister” S arla continued.
“Hello ” I said meekly .
“This the book for you given by my sister S ushila.“ I said handing over the book.
I got up and started to leave but S a r la held my arm softly and said smiling “ sit down we will have tea together. U r v e s hi take care of this young man. I will ask S h o b a to bring tea.”
S a r l a came immediately with a Tea kettle and some cups. she was followed by the maid with a basket of boiled eggs and cutlery she placed all the things on the center table. I pulled my chair to the edge of the table and was still undecided what to eat or not .
U r v e s hi shouted at me “ hey Mr start taking tea . By the way what is your name ?”
“Me Briju “ I said politely.
“ Briju ; oh I do not like this name . You are R a j u for me.” she said confidently
S a r la intervened in between and said angrily to U r v e s h i
” what is this? his name is B r I j u and why are you changing it to Ra j u “
U r v e s hi furrowed her forehead in disapproval .
Meanwhile I peeled off a couple of eggs and sprinkled a bit of salt and ate these in mouthfuls .
“ A r e y Raju eat comfortably ,why are you stuffing the eggs in hurry, eat slowly ,”
U r v e s h i spoke loudly to me.
I did not answer but continued to finish my breakfast.
I got up and was about to take leave of them but s a r l a stopped me by saying
“ wait B r i j u I have a request ,U r v e s h i is reading in 10th and needs some coaching in Physiology. I want you kindly guide her. she will tell you when and where “
“ Me ?” I said surprised
“Yes Yes “I mean you only.
I did not argue anyway and walked down the gravel path to the main gate.
Both sisters saw me off and Ur v e s h i waved with a smile and said loudly “ I will meet you in a couple of days and we will plan accordingly”
I walked down the road in a joyful mood , feeling at the top of Universe having talked to Ur v e s h i the beauty queen of Kashmir.
Back at home ‘s Gate K a n w a r l al , my cousin ,my classmate in School, and my friend a tall lanky boy was standing in the middle of the Gate watching and admiring the Nature’s marvels, unmindful of anything around him.
“Hello B r i j u where were you in the early morning?” K a n w a r l a l said in his flamboyant style with a m is c h e v i o u s tone.
“S u s h i l a asked me to hand over her course book to S a r l a” I replied briefly.
“Did you see the pretty U r v i s h i?” He enquired anxiously.
“ Yes I did. In fact S a r l a wants me to teach
Physiology to her” I clarified.
“ that is very good. You are lucky chap. U r v e s h i is the most beautiful girl of Kashmir.”
K a n w a r l a l said with a chuckle.
“I am afraid if I can teach her. “ I replied with some concern.
“ Why not my brother? You know the subject.
And teaching is in our genes as our parents are all teachers.”
“ But I need your help.” I said a bit nervy.
“ look I can arrange the human bones skull etc. from my friend S u b o d h,
his sister is doing M.B.B.S .You can show practical reference with theory. “
K a n w a r l a l concluded with an air of finality.
“ Hello S a r l a wants it to be done it confidentially not
e v en to tell S u s h i l a” I alerted him.
I went inside , met my M u m m a, who was busy with some guests and I slid into my room quietly.
For a week or so there was no communication from Ur v e s h i .
Early in the morning ,probably last day of my college for the session ,to be closed for winter vacations ,I walked in my lawn and saw U r v e s h i sitting on the bench in the corner of garden in deep conversation with S u s h i l a . I walked to u r v e s hi who winked at me and I said “ Good Morning”
S u s hi l a said “ Good morning brother. How are you. “ “ going to College sister” I answered casually.
Ur v e s h i got up saying in chaste Kashmiri “ Bi n a r e y v u n m e i G a c h i c h e i r
Sc h o o l k h a t e r i.”
( I will go now I will get late for the School).
U r v e s h i nudged me to wait for her outside.
I crossed over the broad foot path through intricate vehicular traffic and waited at the main gate of Char C h i n ar Park just opposite to our residence in middle of main
K aran – N a g a r road.
Four C h i n a r trees made into a small Park with green lawns and flowers ,a center of attraction and resting place for for some on going pedestrians.
I was keeping watch on U r v e s h i so that I could wave her and she did come out of the gate and I called her out instantly .
Luckily she spotted me and walked briskly through the c r is s- cross horn blaring traffic on to my side. “Shall we sit in this park” I asked her
“oh no can we go to Regal – C h o w k sit in a restaurant and talk over a cup of tea”
she said authoritatively.
she was dressed in flowing blue dazzling K u r t a tight blue leggings ,black hair
b u n n ed d behind into a knot. Her cheeks flushed reddish and she looked beautiful with deep penetrating eyes.
I instantly looked for a t o n g a , the most convenient
mode of transport available that time, the other local
buses were crowded and dirty.
I stopped one and helped U r v e s h i first to sit in the back seat and I sat a little away from her .
“ To Regal – C h o w k . what is the fare “ I asked.
“ Two Rupees”
“Oh no the correct fare is one and half rupees.” I said confidently.
He agreed and did not haggle for more.
He was young , handsome , well built in mid t h i r t e e s ,wearing a thin beard .
He was dressed in loose black K u r t a and white p y j a mas .
He whipped the horse lightly and the horse set off at a brisk trot down the tarred road.
He lashed the horse again but softly , shouting in chaste Kashmiri ‘Pakoo jaldi phanat’
( walk faster a bit ).
He touched the horse softly with the whip, the t o n g a rattled up and veered down the center of the road.
A fifteen minutes ride brought us to the Regal – C h o w k and we got down thanking the
t o n g a driver .
We sauntered around for a while in the Bazaar and walked into Lambert Lane barging into the Friend’s Restaurant .
There was no crowd as such only a few customers were folding over hot cups of tea in a
We chose a table away from the view of the counter.
We ordered for tea , a few bakery items , pineapple pastry one of these.
“ Now tell me U r v e s h i what is plan for teaching you, when and where?” I asked without any delay.
“You will teach me and my friend M o h i n i at her place.
Mo h i n i lives quite opposite to my house and has very good room spacious in the upper S t o r e y . There is separate staircase. we should start now say in a day or two.”
U r v e s h i explained.
“oh I see.” I exclaimed with a surprise.
U r v e s h i g o b b l e d down two pieces of Pine Apple pastries.
“ Very tasty” she chuckled.
“ I will start teaching you from Friday.
Today is Monday from 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm. Done ” I said .
We parted our ways I went to college and U r v e s hi to B i s co Tyndale school , just five minutes walk down the Residency road.
I went to my college, S.P. College, on foot not far from where I stood and met friends for a chat , a farewell Chat as the college was closing for winter break, a two month long one.
we passed time in the college cafeteria nibbling at biscuits, ordering for hot Samosas both vegetarian as well as non vegetarian ,laughing heartily ,thus whiled away a good time.
I finally whisked away from the growing student crowd, the despairing afternoon deepened into evening I walked through the noise and clutter of streets to reach my home before dusk,
There was unusual quietness in the house.
I saw mother sleeping in the living room a n d I too went for a quick nap.
The morning was bright as the Sun was penetrating its rays through tall poplar trees standing in an u p r i r i g h t position .
K a n w a r l a l told me he has arranged Human Skelton bones packed in a carton for my reference as teaching aid. He quietly brought the packet into my room and we placed it in the corner of balcony in a concealed manner.
“ When are you starting the teaching sessions.”
“ On Friday “ I answered briefly.
“Good Luck brother” saying so he left the room.
Friday 30th Dec 1960 , the red letter day for me,was dull and dank but the sun came out filtering through the clusters of clouds and promised a fair
afternoon, clean and crisp.
The cold breeze however was biting one.
I leafed through the old physiology book to refresh my memory up about the names of bones of upper and lower limbs in a human body.
I wrapped the bones in old newspaper and put these in a cloth bag .
At 4.45 pm I dressed up in white shirt and black trousers.
I put on a brown tweed coat covering my shoulders compelling U r v e s h i to look at me with attention.
I somehow managed to get out on my special assignment ,slung the cloth bag over my shoulder and walked comfortably . I took a longer road so that I do not reach before time.
M o h i n i was waiting for me at the gate and we went up the stairs to the study room.
A very big airy room sparsely furnished but
spick and span.
I asked Mo h i n i to adjust the position of center table
so that it becomes easier for me to guide you easily.
she immediately did the changes and I displayed
the human bones on the table itself.
U r v e s h i walked in in a flowing dazzling blue dress, the black hair cascading over her shoulders, she smiled and her school girl face lit up .she looked very charming.
“Hello Raj sir” she said calmly.
“ Good evening” I replied.
“ looking awesome” I continued.
“where is M ohini? ” I asked anxiously.
M o h i n i entered the room with tea kettle.
I started with lesson on human bone structure.
“ The human skull is comprised of twenty-two
bones.” I started
“ eight Cranial bones and fourteen facial s k e l t on
bones.” I continued.
“The names of Cranial bones are 1/ Frontal bone ( forehead)
2/ Two nos Parietal bones (either side of head)
3/ Temporal bones
4/ Occipital bone
6/ E t h m o id .
and in addition 14 bones Facial ones.” I concluded
I explained there is no need to remember the name
of bones but if you mention some names you may get
more marks. I practically zeroed upon the actual skull and showed the possible location of each bone.
I had intense desire to impress U r v e s h i with my knowledge about the subject I was teaching.
Both M o h i n i and U r v e s h i noted down the names of the bones n their note books with interest.
“So my dear girls how do you rate me as a Teacher” I said with an air of superiority.
“ F u n t a s t i c R a j u Sir ” both cried in unison.
“ you are awesome.” U r v e s h i said again.
“ Thank you both for your compliment”
I asked U r v e s h i to keep the skull bones aside nicely for further lessons., which she did.
I called it a day and I got up combed my hair and put
on my coat on my shoulders and walked towards the door.
“Wait R a j u ; I am also coming” U r v e s h i said in a
Saying “Good bye “ to M o h i n i we moved out.
The staircase dropped down in circular manner into
I went down step by step followed by U r v e s h i
holding on to my elbow.
The dusk was a little dark one , Ur v e s hi hooked her
arm around my neck and kissed my cheeks.
I was surprised amused also to see her bold and
flirtatious be h a v io u r.
“ kiss B a n t a h a i — Kiss is due” she said waving to me
She crossed the road and soon was at her gate, I slouched on listlessly towards my home.
“A great day” I said to myself.
Days passed by. I was teaching U r v e s h i now for last twenty days. I taught with intense dedication
The bone structure of human body with reference to the practical side by displaying ,explaining every bone as such ,completed other topics too in time.
Now last week or ten days were for revising the topics only.
The afternoon was cold, I was wearing a thick brown jacket with long pockets, and ready to go to teach U r v e s h i and M o h i n i as usual.
I tried to avoid the intricate horn blaring traffic of the main road and took to quieter side lane to reach in time.
I went up the circular stairs into the room on the top.
The room was littered with papers and other k n i c k- knacks.
M o h i n i got up quickly and started cleaning up the clatter and soon it was cleaner one.
I s e a t e d myself on the wicker chair .“where is U r v e s h i” I asked
“ she is coming” M o h i n i replied briefly.
“ I am going downstairs to bring tea and hot Pa k oras to eat.” M o h in i said slamming the door shut behind her.
After a while the door opened ajar and entered U r v e s h i “ hello Raj . Looking handsome .”
she nudged closer to me as much as could and her floating white dress looked elegant.
“you look beautiful .you smell like a rose .” I said
She unbuttoned my shirt buttons and slithered her soft fingers into my fleshy contours. I felt mildly excited. I touched her flushed cheeks.
“ kiss me” she whispered.
M o h i n i walked in and I got up to help her keeping tea cups and hot Pa k o r a s on the table.
I , meanwhile , asked both my loving pupils to revise the chapters already done.
U r v e s h i did have doubts about lower limb bones.
I explained her the thigh bone called in medical terms as Femur is the biggest bone in Human being. There are thirty bones in the lower limb.
Femur, Patella, Tibia , Fibula ,Tarsals bones ,Meta tarsal, and phalanges.
The thigh bone (Femur) is longest beautiful bone fitted into hip socket making the H i p joint.
I i n a d v e r t e n t l y gave reference of Hollywood actress Raquel Welch whose thigh legs were most ‘beautiful’ and ‘kissable’ ones.
U r v e s h i as expected got excited , pulled me by the lapel of my Jacket towards her, whispering “ My legs are also kissable. Will you have a look”
“Naughty girl” I laughed it away as a joke.
“So girls we will have a great party on Saturday here only because I know M o h i n i cannot leave her ailing mother alone.” I declared emphatically.
“ So that is settled” I continued.
“ what is settled?” Ur v e s h i asked
“Farewell Party. Today is Wednesday and just
three days after.”
“ we thank you R a j u sir for teaching us so well”
“ Really” U r v e s h i said politely.
“ U r v e s h i you will sing and dance as well”
“ only if you R a j u sir will also sing ,dance”
“ Why not .I will definitely sing.”
Now it was dusk . I looked out of window .
Small clouds strayed across the sky. And it started
raining, a winter rain eventually could change into
a snowfall overnight.
Let us call it a day I announced.
I Picked up my Jacket from the chair ,wore it buttoned it up to my neck and went in the
spluttered rain saying ‘Good bye’ to U r v e s h i who in return waved to me shouting
”love you R a j u”.
“Gosh,” really what did she say ?
I reminisced for a while about U r v e s h i‘s f i l i r t a t i o u s advances.
Inserting those soft fingers into my shirt and stroking my expansive young nude
boyish body, arising my desire to touch her cheeks.
I got engrossed in my reverie , still thinking about the priceless luster of her young
innocent face, felt charmed by her kiss rather inebriated, her mouth had tasted
I stumbled against an old man who fell down helped him to get up asking for apology
which he granted, I raced down the road to reach my home.
Early in the following morning I saw K a n w a r l a l and my elder brother
M a k h a n in deep conversation with guests, our n e i g h b ours
G i r d h a r i and A s h t o u s h reclining on the bench placed under the poplar trees .
G i r d h a r i , a tall young man with w h e a t i s h complexion and A s h t o u s h of
medium build ,fair looking with ruddy cheeks seemed to be very restless concerned about their future, I heard my brother M a k h a n saying “ you must move from here and see the great country vast and diverse in culture”
G i r d h a r i replied “ yes I want to go anywhere but move from here”.
I took K a n w a r l a l out of the group and said“hello brother I have just almost
completed my assignment only a few days left. I have to throw f a r e well party. Need some money.”
“ I have just thirty rupees only. will give you
but give me back by month end.” K a w a r l a l
“Done’ I replied.
On Saturday I dressed up meticulously , wearing
black suit and polishing my shoes I met
my mother who was gossiping with her sister-in-laws
“ o h very smart” all said in one voice.
“ M u m ma I have to go for party with friends ,you
know it , give me some money.” I said as humbly a I could .
she took one note of rupees fifty from a shuffle of notes stacked in silver box.
“ come by 7pm “ she commanded.
“Yes” I promised knowing I could get late.
I went onto the main road and the road squirmed with traffic, I made my way through the great hustle and bustle and strode off the corner to reach the Quality Re s t u a rant . I opened the main door and went to the counter.
The gentleman behind the counter was a middle aged
with streaks of grey hair and I said
“ N a m a s k a r sir M r K h u d b a li”
Mr K h u d a b a li was probably the owner of the R e stuarant.
“I need five plates of mutton kebabs duly packed”
I said politely.
“ Yes young boy sit down . I will get the same packed”
The packet arrived nicely packed .
I made the payment and crossed the
A m i r a K a dal bridge the , oldest well maintained one.
I turned to left walked a few yards and reached N i s h a t Sweets ,City’s best sweet cum Restaurant.
I got 12 nos of Sam o s a s and S a l t i s h ‘Dal M o n g r a ‘. plus some finest bakery items.
I hurried back through the maze of traffic pattern wriggling out to find my way
through and managed to reach H a r i Singh High street, people jostling their
ways through the bustling market ,I spotted a mini bus driver calling out for
Karan-n a g a r passengers , I boarded the bus and it drove down the
Ne e l a m C h o w k into main K aran-Nagar square .
In two strides I reached M o h i n i ‘s residence.
The gate was opened by a young woman with dark eyebrows but a beautiful
she smiled and I ascended the circular stairs to the upper study room.
I entered the room with a bang and found the two young girls in a delightful mood,
particularly u r v e s h i .
she took the packets from me and kept them on the table decorated with a red table
cover and a big bouquet of rose flowers.
The room looked crystal clear and the furniture well
“Nicely done “ I congratulated both holding them in my young arms like
‘Professor R a j u.’
we all laughed and the peals of laughter could resound for a long time.
U r v e s h i and M o h i n I had made hot soup and we started with soup and kebabs.
U r v e s h i had worn glittering yellow K u r ta partly unbuttoned and black leggings . she looked radiant and full of youthful exuberance.
she pressed up as close as she could get to me and hooked her arms around my neck that astounded me.
I was amused as well , encouraged to smooch her possibly. I did smooch her and she smiled her beatific smile ,resting her beautiful face close to my bosom.
I got up and asked U r v e s h i to sing a song as
“ you R a j u sir sing first and I will dance”
“okay as you please no problem”
I sang the song from Love Marriage , the Bollywood
one — Mo o n h Se To P a s i n a p o o n c h ye ho Gaya h a i p y a r.( Just wipe out the sweat from your face we have come to know you have fallen in love ,you
may not agree ).
U r v e s h i danced swaying her hips to the rhythmic tune of the song.
She held my hands and made me to dance .
I politely held hands of M o h i n i and made her to dance around to be part of the ongoing party. Surprisingly she danced beautifully. “ you are fabulous” I complimented her but I noticed a quizzical frown on the face of U r v e s h i.
“ now U r v e s h i start singing “ I said
politely drawing her close to me and gave her a peck
on her lovely cheek.
She was charged instantly and sang the beautiful song ;
Ra j a k i a y e e g i b a r a a t — M a g a n m a i
n a c h u n g i ( The groom will come and I as bride will sing ).
The Party went on well and I thanked these two glamorous girls who presented me with a beautiful rose bouquet for the services I rendered in teaching to them.
I thanked both profusely and said “ I will miss you both “
“ Me too” U r v e s hi said
Just to placate her feelings I said firmly
“I will meet you”
“ we are friends now”
Saying so I got up to rush to home.
U r v e s h i followed me.
“ when can we meet “ she pleaded.
“ Very soon” I answered vaguely
I saw her crossing the road waving her hand softly
I took to the main road gleefully ,humming a happy tune dancing down the crowded foot path, feeling at the top of my spirits.
The road side stands were piled with H a m d a r d Juices and baskets of red apples , sweet and soft to nibble at between the teeth.
I bought one kg of apples to please my mother.
I took to side lane ascended a few steps into green patch walked the long stretch, descended again quite a number of steps on to the tarred road leading directly to my home.
“ Ah ; A great day” I exclaimed .
For a long time I did not hear from Ur v e s h i . I got a bit restless. It was nearly two months now we haven’t met or communicated.
I was not in love with her but having been closely associated for a while it was natural to be drawn into a relationship ,just teenager’s attraction surely nothing more than that.
I walked down to M o h i n i ‘ s house and knocked at her ground floor door. The door was opened by a woman, probably mother of M o h i n i ,a tall one ,clad in yellow cotton Sari .
“Namaskar , M o h i n i” I fumbled.
“come in “ she said and I followed her into a spacious room.
“Hello R a j u sir “ she broke down
“U r v e s h i is no more “ she sobbed bitterly
“ What?” I asked loudly
“how did it happen ? tell me “
The earth quaked beneath my feet.
“ She had gone to Delhi to stay with her M a a s i— mother’s sister ,she died in an accident there a week ago.” she cried the tears running down her
I slumped into the sofa seat bewildered and shocked.
M o h in i got up brought a glass of water for me.
I drank the water feeling quite distraught at the
unfolded tragic event.
M o h i n i noticed my disturbed condition and opted to accompany me to my home.
she held my hand and we walked quietly on the foot path , shocked and completely broken.
M o h i n i saw me off at my gate and I waved
with a sad look.
U r v e s h i ‘s vivacious elegant poise , a blond of 16 years with flirtatious brashness
b e h a v i o u r of youth compelled me to call her my friend for
many years down the memory lane.