The Zero

Indira Memorial Academy, My Bicycle, and Me …

Are you from Sainik School? Asked surprised Shashi.

No, this dress is mine and I used to wear it on special occasions. In my first day at Indira Memorial Academy, class 2nd students were surprised to see a mate in police dress uniform. We all brothers had police dress and I do not know the reason why Ammi prefers us to dress in police uniform occasionally.

I was quickly moved to IMA (Indira Memorial Academy), after my disastrous two years at SJS (Salafia Junior School). In SJS I was in class 4th. I got admission in IMA in class 2nd. There was a question answer session with Khan Sir and I was confirmed for 2nd standard. IMA was English medium school. SJS was Urdu medium, so I have to learn again the things in English Hindi culture from Urdu culture.

Usually when we come home with Ammi from SJS, Ammi was aware of the problem we were facing in SJS. She used to talk these issues with Jeelani sir’s wife. Jeelani sir was running the school IMA and this was decided long back that we all will get admission in IMA after the session completion in SJS.

Shashi was quite a bit surprised so was the whole class. What made this boy to be dressed in police uniform? And more, his younger brother is also in police uniform in class 1st. We were the discussion of the day. I was embarrassed and was becoming angry on Ammi’s decision.

Shashi was class monitor. An outgoing smart boy and I was his friend from first day. I was good in drawing and science subject. Maths was still a disaster. Hindi, English and other subjects were still difficult. I observed the noticeable change in environment. This was good. I loved Jeelani Sir, morning PT exercise, clapping sequence of one, two, 123. I was still weak in so many things which I recovered a bit.

I remember my friends there. Asad was from Karamganj and we shared casual fights, fight for comics, friendship and comics stickers. Manzoor was from Laheriasarai. Akram, Salahuddin were from Karam Ganj. Later Shakeel came. He was living near Millat College, and we had the longest comics exchange treaty maintained for long. Sumit Kumar Tiwari was the face of a studious kid. Kehkeshan was Jeelani sir’s daughter. The class was dominated by Qaiser Shareef, Kehkeshan and other girls since they used to get more marks and were punctual. I was always lagging in memorizing the SST (social studies), Maths, home works. Though I was not reckless but somehow things were not working. I had a good image in Science understanding and excellent drawing.

When going out with Shashi on his bicycle, I felt freedom. I loved the red color cycle. The cycle was the symbol for freedom to me. I asked Abbu but as expected was given a blank chit. In year 1992, when sitting on same old stool in Darbhanga Glass House, I was swinging and making strange noise. Abbu came from somewhere.

I asked him, “Abba, today is 5th June”.
So, what? “Is there some thing special today”?
I responded with hesitation and shying; No, just wanted to say “tomorrow is my birthday”,
“Oh Newton, I forgot, what do you want? Tell me any gift”.
I asked the same old thing “I need a cycle”.

That’s it. Abbu smiled and went to Gupta Cycle Store with Munna uncle. Gupta Cycle Store was a big cycle shop. I got a red color cycle “Hero Jet”. I was imagining my self Super Commando Dhruv with his bike. All fantasies were coming true. This was 18 inches length cycle and seat was adjusted to its lowest height. I climbed on it, but what. I fell down. I didn’t know how to ride on cycle?

It took time for me to learn riding a cycle. Each morning we used to go Darbhanga Raj. We practice there making endless round. Abbu never get tired and help us in climbing on and climbing down. That was very difficult for me. But I learned. Later in 1995 Abbu made me to learn scooter as well.

Gently I placed Dhruv’s cutting from a comics to the cycle’s rear mudguard edge. That made my cycle a super hero cycle. I learned to do tricks with my cycle. Cycling on one wheel. Making front wheel up in air sometimes. Cycling with free hands. I was a game.

The teachers in IMA were not so different than SJS. Few were very cruel like Pawan sir and Suman sir. Kamal sir was sort of gentle one. Vinay sir was the most polite. I couldn’t escape the punishment most of the times and remember the cruelty of teachers if I went an inch wrong. I gained popularity in answering questions related to stories, Urdu language, and Drawing class. I was offered to make a speech in Urdu and Hindi on the occasion of 15th August.

I had the crush again which lasted longest in my life. I never disclosed it. But I was always happy thinking about. I had the plan to carry it forward but circumstances made me not to advance more. The fear of rejection, society and many more anchors kept my ship on banking with shore, watching, loving, and admiring the Blue Ocean and beauty ahead.

People knew me as a kid with exceptional skills in drawings. My voice was of a very low pitch, and I was the subject of joke for that. I was physically not very strong and was not so good in outdoor games. I loved screwing toys. Dis assembling them to make robots like in Raj comics’ villain Robot. I had a dream to be like Ram Rahim of comics. Ammi loved me for what I was. Never at home. If at home, then making funny things in kitchen, screwing toys, experimenting with radio, doing something unexpected, drawing good paintings, singing loud, and talking a lot.

Doordarshan was the common denominator in all the life cycles those days. We have got the Salora TV when Mahabharata serial was about to close. We watched the last episodes on our TV set. When back from IMA in hot June, first we switch the TV on. News was the most hated program at 2 PM. Followed by Shanti serial at 2:20 PM. Then Surabhi, Hatimtaai, and Swabhimaan. In IMA next day I discuss Surabhi episodes with classmates. A program in Sunday morning Super Ted was my favorite. I imagine, if I had those power, what I could have done? Flying around, helping and enjoying. I always loved to be a hero.