Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Fragile Relationships

A few days ago, I was talking with one of my childhood friends over the telephone. We had spent our childhood together in one of the largest tea estates in eastern Assam. While me and my family do not stay there any more, he is now an employee of that tea estate. While I was talking with him, he shared with me the present whereabouts of some of the boys I grew up playing cricket with. I also asked him about a few other persons, who were once our neighbours. At that moment, I realized how relationships change with time. There was a time when our lives revolved around these people and now I do not even know where and how these people are.

After finishing the call, I started thinking about all the people that have been a part of the journey of my life. I recalled the moments spent with people in various walks of life. And, although I still have regular contact with many of my friends, cousins, old neighbours, extended family members, I realized that there are many persons with whom I have totally lost contact. 

I then remembered another incident. A few years back, while attending the marriage of my aforementioned friend, a boy came up to me and asked whether I recognized him or not. I looked at him but couldn’t recognize him. Only when he told his name, I remembered that we used to play cricket together. I also remembered that his brother too used to play with us and asked him about his whereabouts. He said that he died of an illness a few years ago. I was shocked to hear that. That ever-smiling boy, who used to hit the stumps with his accurate throws, was dead! I had felt quite sad at that news. 

In today’s frantic pace of life, we are slowly drifting away from the people who were once the very fulcrum of our lives. Our worlds are shrinking and getting limited to our parents, spouses, children and a few other select persons. The relationships are slowly turning fragile.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

When Men Cry – An Ode to BCN Boys

It was the Summer of 2007, when a batch of about 50 students entered a Hostel – a place which was to become their homes for their duration of study in Tezpur University. I was one among those fifty. The Hostel was Brahmaputra Chatra Niwas – BCN Boys for most of us. Though the nomenclature was changed the next year to Brahmaputra Men’s Hostel, it will always be BCN Boys for us.


The first thing that was on the minds of each new student was Ragging. What are we going to face in the initial days of stay at the Hostel? Would there be any physical violence? How are the Seniors and how will be our nature of relationship with them? These were some of the questions on the mind of most of the new students. However, we were lucky that we got some of the best seniors that any junior can ask for. Except for a minor incident, which was blown out of proportion by the university authorities, there wasn’t any unfavourable episode during those initial days. Once the University Freshers was over, we all shed our inhibitions and became our usual self. BCN Boys became our home. 

I stayed at BCN Boys for two years and have been part and witness of numerous incidents occurring in the Hostel. However, in this write up, I would not mention any such incident. Rather I would write about those days when we left the hostel after completing our studies. These last days were a testimony of  how dearly we - the boarders of BCN Boys – loved this hostel; and how this hostel has forged a strong sense of companionship amongst us.


Even before our last term examinations were around the corner, the feeling that we would be leaving the hostel and university were starting to haunt us. One day, while our end term examinations were going on, I went to one of my friend’s room. Upon entering his room, I could see that he was packing his bags. On seeing me enter he stopped packing. I silently went and sat on his bed. He too took a seat in his chair. After a few seconds of silence, we both started crying. Those were the first drop of tears that fell from our eyes during those last days – many more were still to follow. 

After our exams were over, one by one the students started to leave the hostel, leaving behind the innumerable memories that he shared with his fellow mates. Those were indeed very hard days. The eyes remained moist most of the times. After spending most of the time together for two years, the wound of separation was too much to bear. The day I myself left the hostel was one of the most difficult days of my life – with my mind refusing to leave. I had left my room and hostel after shedding gallons of tears, shared between me and my roommate.

Men usually don’t cry. Although science insists that crying is natural, still it is expected that men would not shed tears easily. So unless there is indeed a deep grief, a man hardly sheds tears. So when I saw numerous men (boys) shedding their tears while leaving the hostel and the university, it shows how deep a grief it had been - a grief about leaving your home, leaving your loved ones. It shows how integral BCN Boys were to their lives. 

On my part, I would like to state here that I have been indeed lucky to be a part of the BCN Boys Hostel – a hostel which held true to its ideals of wisdom and camaraderie.