Day 14 (N) ~ #BlogchatterA2Z
All artwork is copyrighted by Lonely Canopy.
Story and diagram contributed by Deepti Rana
Often when friends gather for a house party, conversations take some time to settle in any pattern, and late into the night they invariably turn into ghost stories and spirits. One friend, who always has the most fascinating ones is Deepti. When I first heard she’s lived in Shamli, I was super excited to meet someone from the city made immortal and totally alive in my mind by my favorite author Ruskin Bond.
As someone who straddles two cultures, of Bengal and Haryana, she’s a person with some amazing stories. And she’s shared some for me to illustrate and use as part of my #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. So in Deepti’s words and with my illustrations and layout …
“I would just give away anything and everything to relive those moments. Even today when I go through the photographs in school magazine, I can see myself standing there and I can see each nook and corner clearly, as it was. The place has an aura around it. I have been to quite a few pilgrimages, but the diversity, the spirit that surrounds the place is nowhere to be found.”
“What I remember is bright sunshine kissing the flowers, the gardens, the church spire, the lattice of light and shadow made by the mango trees … it was fascinating for me. Most of the time when I try to write it down, the words fail me and the descriptions seem so unsuitable that I tear it away.”
“I didn’t love my school coz I had friends there and had a great time. It was because the silence of those corridors used to engulf me and my thoughts. I used to walk down the corridors as if in a trance. It was the time I would stay back as my rickshaw was invariably late. Though, sometimes, it seemed kind of spooky.”
“Once a rumor went around that our school was haunted. Unfortunately, a former teacher of ours had died in a road accident. And many students and teachers were seeing her ghost. One night when it rained heavily, lightning struck a tree. Next morning, the dead tree was named the abode of ghosts. Some said the ghosts were roused because the mango grove in which they resided was cut down to make a cricket field. Local newspapers wrote that several students had experiences spirits while roaming about the school. They said sometimes students have experienced red water (blood?) pouring out of the taps.”
Some reconstructed memories of the school campus:
1. Teacher’s Quarters- They were like Narnia or Hogwarts, very fancy places for kids born in Western UP. With their sarees, fancy perfumes and South Indian Tadka aromas in the air, everything was exotic! Not to mention the beautiful houses surrounded by sprawling lawns and equally exotic and never seen before plants.2. Principal’s House- Right next to the church, again with fancy gardens that were dream-like.3. Playground – Winter afternoons, grass twigs, freedom, air, Jamun trees.4. Store- New session, new books, strict Sister Claire from the store(never saw her teaching).5. Winter Mornings- Standing in the assembly ground, trying to catch the morning sun, fog, foggier breaths, going to church; absolute serenity and beauty..6. Lunch Break- O Father in Heaven and vultures at the top of the building.7. Wellness Room- Fake stomach ache+ bed+garden wala room- pin drop silence.8. Rainy Days- Skies so so dark, transports you into one of 18th century novels set in the woods of England.9. Picnics- Spring picnics, still in fields under the shade of huge trees.
All in all, a very exotic place, escapade, everything about it was different, the teachers, the atmosphere, the environment, very un-Indian in a way, a stark contrast to the rural Indian settings.