Me: Sanjiv sir, namaste. How have you been?
Sanjiv sir: Oh ho Umes ke cha? I’ve been great. How’s ktmROCKS?
Me: (super-surprised) You know about ktmROCKS!!!
Sanjiv sir: Of course.
That’s our conversation when we met during NELTA’s conference last February.
Sanjiv sir taught us English subject in our school.
I don’t remember exactly for how many years but I remember him teaching us from Class 8 to 10.
My English and Grammar. I think those were the textbooks.
Meeting him after over a decade brought back many memories – of my school days.
Sanjiv sir was one of the coolest teachers I knew.
(Except for him, I remember only Ramesh sir and Pokhraj sir)
Because, besides being a great teacher, Sanjiv sir was also into music and movies.
I remember the teachers’ band.
I remember him playing the guitar, performing rocks songs (though cover songs) during school functions.
May be that got me into listening to music.
Sanjiv sir, Ramesh sir and Pokhraj sir – these were the coolest of all because unlike Milan “Tiger” sir, they were very friendly and supportive to all students.
Milan sir was more of a bouncer than a teacher.
He would drag students out of the classroom, strip them butt-naked and thrash them with his stick.
There were days when we would piss our pants even when we heard Milan sir sneezing in the other room.
Everyone feared the tiger.
And, everyone hated the tiger.
Even I used to.
We all knew he used to drink a lot.
I heard that he passed away some five years ago.
It was quite sad to hear that.
Because he shouldn’t have died that early.
I remember our principal Basanta Giri or Giri sir as we used to call him.
He was the backbone of the school.
I guess he must be very old now.
I wish to meet him someday soon.
Who else? JP Gupta sir – our math teacher and Tikaram Poudel sir – our Nepali teacher.
I remember a teacher beating me for no reason when I was in Class 7.
Forgot his name. I haven’t forgotten his blow yet.
He used to sell pencils, erasers and copies (exercise books) inside the classroom. He shouldn’t have been a teacher. What an asshole!
I don’t wish to see him.
Were there any lady teachers in the secondary level, I’m not sure.
What I’m sure is I’ve forgotten their faces.
Bajra miss and Bidya miss are the only names I remember.
It’s been so many years but I remember the boys’ toilet, the water-taps behind the school building.
The German made school bus.
The driver named Michael and his long curly hair.
During breaks, some of us would have ‘adventure’ stroll to Hattiban.
We used to run through paddy fields.
Destroying the crop.
Destroying our shoes and dress.
We used to have fun jumping up on above under hay-stacks.
I remember being in the school.
In the classroom.
The last bench or the second-last bench.
Boys wouldn’t really talk with girls and the girls would talk with boys either.
That’s how it was.
But I remember the pranks we pulled on girls.
The mirror-attached-on-the-shoe trick, that was crazy.
I wish I could remember every seconds and every minutes of those time passed in the school.
I remember taking part in a quiz contest.
It was Lalitpur district inter-school competition.
They said they would play a song and the question – “What’s the name of the band?”
They played “One of these Days”.
And within the 5 seconds of it, I pressed the bell and shouted out the answer.
It’s Pink Floyd.
It was the “fuck yeah” moment of my life because no one I knew listened to Pink Floyd.
Not even my team member.
I was the center of attraction for the next 15 seconds.
That glorious 15 seconds.
We became second in that contest because I remember I messed up so many answers.
But I didn’t care.
I found the SLC exam too easy.
I don’t see why there’s this SLC terror in this country.
May be because it’s due to the school, the teachers.
Passed the SLC examinations with ‘flying colors’.
I don’t know where my school friends are these days.
We drifted apart, somehow.
I haven’t even seen many of them after the day we finished our SLC exam.
I have forgotten many names, and many faces.
Some are on facebook, but we don’t really talk anyway.
It’s just limited to occasional ‘like’.
We are all busy or far away.
May be life is supposed to be this way.
I feel glad that I stumbled into Sanjiv sir, but I equally feel sad that we’ve remained so distant, so far away from each other.
Hopefully, I stumble upon Ramesh sir and Pokharaj sir too.
May be even have momo and beer together.
That would be nice.