This photo is Probably taken in 1996, when I was in KG, in Army Pre School of Binnaguri. Binnaguri is a cantonment town of West Bengal, India. My father was in Army then. So, we had moved there.
The girl in the picture is Nisha, My only KG friend I remember of.
Why I’m recalling this after sooo many years, right?
Well, before some days, I was flipping through an Old Album when this photo caught my attention. Childhood photos are so special for us…maybe that’s why it is still there.
Binnaguri- From childhood, It has been there like my personal fairy Land. (Though, It was not a safe area, I realized this sometimes ago)
In my memories- It is Green – Very Green, and we are residing like- People in the woods…- although in quarters, but surrounded by a Jungle- Full of Animals, Precisely, Full of Elephants. You can hear them clearly at night. And only sound is enough for scaring you. I heard from my father that, Collapsing of Wooden houses of Civilians by elephants was such common news. Reason for this was, In nights they came in the herd and would itch against the house… Even today, when You Google Binnaguri Images, Page is full of Elephants.
There were primary facilities like a shopping center nearby, An Army Hospital, and A market. Right in front of our quarter, was a Gulmohar tree. Behind quarters, My Parents maintained a small kitchen garden.
In this area, I started my schooling with Nisha. She was basically from Nepal. I don’t remember her any family Details- Not even a Surname.
Preschool was near our building. Every day at 7 O’clock Nisha’s father would drop her off by our home and we went together to our School.
Mom said, “At first day, I came In recess with lunch box and fed you. But the following day, your teacher did not allow me to come. I became worried- You won’t eat by yourself.”
(I learned to eat very late. Say it is – speaking or walking. I think, every basic thing I learned is belated. Like, I tend to process everything at a very slow rate.) But Mummy didn’t have to worry much. Nisha was younger than me, but said in her nepali accent, “Aunty, Isko mein Khila dungi..” . Someone should have recorded this scene.
Mom says, she was clever at that age too. You couldn’t even cry if someone snatched your Tiffin. Nisha would look after you. Hindi and English were main languages. Sir taught me to write “अ” many times. I didn’t get it and always wrote the mirror Image of It. When I failed after his too many attempts (I told you the belated thing), He hit me with a pencil on a finger bone. It swelled up. Of course, I would not have said this to my parents, but Nisha complained this also to them. “Aunty, aaj na, sir ne isko maara.”!! And believe me; I learned to write after that incident.
Binnaguri is a rainy area. So, It was full of worms too…Earthworms scared me more than Elephants. And, there were not small worms like we find here- in Gujarat. They were short and fat. I would refuse to walk to school if I saw one. So, at those times, she would persuade me, hold my hand and walk me to school.
Time passed. My Father retired and we came back to Gujarat. The link broke. I only have this photo now. These are only memories I can remember or my parents still can recall. There would be more.
Nisha met me in my very first step to the outer world and unknowingly defined a name called “Friend” for me. She took care of me at that age, when we are still starting to discover ourselves. I realized this also after a long time. (AS ALWAYS). By this, I just want to thank her, for being there for me…
I don’t know where she is now. In order to find her, I searched for that old Pre-school on net, but could not find any. It sure is difficult to find her- with No surname, No common friends. And, because of transfers, Army students generally visit more schools. So, getting her record is also tough. But I believe in this line- “Agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho toh poori kaaynat tumhein usse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai.”
I am sharing my story in a hope to find Nisha through BuddyBits. Would you help me find her? Share this with your friends in Nepal and help me find Nisha. I can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.