12th mar 2014
I must have been in class 6 or 7. It was our Marathi period. Our teacher ... Mrs Bhatawdekar , i think. She had taught us a chapter, which was something to do with the pampering one is subjected to when one is ill, “आजारी पडल्यावर मजा “, I think. the lesson was from the point of view of a child .
Having taught the lesson, we were asked to write an essay on the same theme. Some of us were asked to read out our essays in class.
There was this new girl who had joined our school that year and was in my class. She stood up to read her essay.. मी लय आजारी होते. मला लय ताप आला होता… she read out.
The teacher corrected the grammar,….. मी खूप आजारी होते . मला खूप ताप आला होता…
I remember the incident vividly. And also that girl with 2 long plaits…the plaits folded up... yet long.
In the later years, Louis D’mello Sir , used to take us up to the terrace of our school for our PT. He was teaching us the lejhim. I loved the lejhim. I loved the lezhim practice 1 …2… 3… 4.
After a couple of weeks he introduced some movement in the lejhim routine. 1..2..3..4.. then move ahead, swing the lezhim above the head in a circular movement.. and then a step behind.,.... i loved that. And I could never get it right. My feet and hands refused to move in co-ordination… I lacked a sense of rhythm. The new girl in the class... she did it effortlessly….. very gracefully. It was a treat to see her do the lejhim.
We passed out from school and went our separate ways.
Years later… nearly 2 decades later… . sometime around 2003 or 2004 , I think..i was in Lokhandwala with my friends. A car stopped next to me and somebody called out my name. I peered into the car… She stepped out. A slim young lady, with one long plait. It took me minute to place her. It was an unexpected meeting… , the school yrs were a past left long behind. She was that girl. “The new girl in the class “.
She spoke warmly. Very warmly. She scribbled her name and number on a piece of paper and gave it to me. I promised to be in touch.
The piece of paper was carefully placed in the inside of my wallet.
I came home kept the chit safely in a box in my cupboard. I would want to transfer the number in my telephone directory later.
i never did.....
In 2007, we moved residence. The chit made its way to my new cupboard, in my new home. and it remained there. safe somewhere.
Last Saturday, i was cleaning out my cupboard. . I found a pretty purse, gifted to me 2 birthdays ago. I thought it was high time i started using it.
As i unzipped it, to place my stuff in it, i saw an untidily folded piece of paper in one of the pockets.
I pulled it out carefully. Yep…,,,it was that chit ..which had a name and number scrawled across. The name and number which came to me so many times...the one i put away so many times...the one I had kept with me all the time .. the one i had never called.. the one , whom , now, i would never be able to call- That New Girl From That Class.
Today evening was one of those rare , relaxed evenings at home. I could hear the strains of marathi songs coming out from my parents room...Sa Re Ga Ma probably…Suddenly the husband mentioned Ajay Atul… one of my favourite music makers. I love their folksy tunes.. the folk instruments in their songs.. the dhol.. I remembered a new song of theirs, which I had heard only last week. The song was from a Marathi movie, Fandry.
I searched for the song on Youtube and we sat down to listen to it. The song happened to have a video attached to it with clips from the movie..A couple of moments into the song, and there was a lejhim sequence in the song .... 1.2.3..4 , move forward… lezhim swung up in the air ..1..2..3..4...girls in uniform...2 plaits.......
I will treasure this chit ,once again locked safely in my cupboard... her memory ,in my heart.