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‘Good Girls go to heaven and bad ones can go anywhere’ – Teenage बुदम’s (Moron) dilemma.

Preface: Character बुदम is about me (not fiction). Let me start with why I felt that I was बुदम. While growing up in Chamba, I used to get all kind of punishments in the school like बिच्छू बूटी treatment, मुर्गा आसन, बेंत treatment, standing hands up, etc., etc., When this did not work teachers started calling my little sister Vibha to show that I was in मुर्गा आसन pose. This was the moment I felt something inside that I am not normal, and it was hard for me to understand basic stuff education-wise. I was never asked to look forward to becoming something like a doctor, engineer, govt officer (HAS/IAS/IPS), but the rest of the siblings were being looked at from that perspective that they can become something. Thus, my thinking to feel as बुदम was natural. I was not bothered about it and accepted it as part of my life.

बुदम’s siblings loved him and used to had pity without letting him know. बुदम’s Hemant Bhai (Big brother) always supported him and never questioned his thought process. बुदम’s age five to fifteen were full of introspection and could not comprehend why he could not succeed education-wise. बुदम hovered around illiterate Mom who kept him busy with household chores and she gave her love. बुदम became good at doing dishes, mopping floors, cooking, sewing, stitching, and knitting. बुदम used to escort his mom to religious discourses in Chamba town. Religious lessons got deep into बुदम’s head, like “कण कण में भगवान ” – (God exists in every particle). बुदम’s question to the religious Guru was. “Do God Exist in the Shit Too?” Guru just let it pass instead of giving some answer. Another issue cropped up from religious discourses, “भगवान की मरजी के बिना एक पत्ता भी नहीं हिलता ||” – Nothing can move without God’s will, not even the leaf of a plant. This became a huge problem for बुदम. बुदम ventured into the jungle monitoring movements of leaves on plants. बुदम kept his research to figure out God’s skill in moving tree leaves for almost 5 years. Ultimately बुदम came to terms that it was God’s act in moving tree leaves and not easy for a human being to figure out his will. बुदम at the age of 15 accepted that he was also one of the leaves being managed by an invisible force. He prayed almighty God that please move in such a way that he could live decent life KING SIZE.

बुदम got compartment in grade 10 and he was happy he did not fail at least, still had a chance to clear Maths in 6 months time. During this phase, his father got transferred to Simla. बुदम got money from his father to get admission in PUC provisionally, but on the way to college, बुदम lost the admission fee. बुदम spent the whole day in the jungle above Ridge and questioned God’s will in moving leaves. बुदम came to one conclusion that he would never take a single penny from Dad to make his life and would do whatever it takes to move forward since he knew he was not up to the standards to become something. Kalpana di (बुदम’s elder sister) found a labor job through a family friend and Avtar who was an electrical contractor gave his consent, who had a big project at Colonel’s house near pili Kothi in Kaithu. Avtar paid 30 rupees for labor job done in few days which was a lot in 1975, but बुदम never saw the light of 30 rupees because money was given to Kalpana Di. She passed on money to Mom, who made nice woolen sweater for बुदम. बुदम felt that there was huge potential in electrician job, one can make fortune like Avtar but needed skills to achieve that. बुदम took labor job at Gaiety Theater where another contractor was doing an electric overhaul of Gaiety Theater. बुदम worked in that project for free to learn the skills of the electrician but in the process end up getting salesman position at ‘Batish & Sons’ bookseller’s shop. This was the best thing that ever happened for बुदम, because he had access to all his favorite comics in Hindi like betal, amar chitra kathai etc., etc., but he had unlimited access to western comics like Archie, Tin Tin, Laurel & Hardy, Western cowboys, etc., etc., बुदम developed English speaking skills from comic books. बुदम tried his hands on talking in English with convent school kids coming to shop to buy books/comics. Grammar school was adjacent to the Batish & Sons shop. Teachers at Grammar School used to get help from बुदम to order tea, pakoras, samosas from nearby Halwaii. बुदम was always happy to help these hot beautiful teachers and used to impress them with his English sentences. बुदम thought he would not call these young (early 20s) girls DIDI. बुदम always addressed them with Ma’am. They loved it too. बुदम had his own bitter experience from Didi’s at home and three Didis were enough in his life.

‘Batish & Sons’ used to sell stickers with some funny quotes. बुदम could not understand this quote, “Good girls go to heaven and bad ones can go anywhere”, related to heaven – God’s house. बुदम picked up the sticker and showed it to a beautiful timid teacher from Grammar School. बुदम asked what that mean? Timid Teacher blushed and gave a huge smile to बुदम. He could not figure out what happened. The next day बुदम wanted to have a conversation with the beautiful teacher, he met teacher and said, I think you would go to heaven. She did not say anything but held बुदम’s cheek and said, “तुम नटखट हो”. One change was visible in the teacher’s behavior, she always wanted to come close to बुदम. Holding बुदम’s hand and giving him hugs became common things. बुदम did feel something inside but could not grasp the gist of it and he ends up joining evening college after clearing compartment exam and he had money to continue his studies and was the proud first time that he was not a burden on his father. The teacher’s memory faded into the busy schedule of making money and living KING SIZE dream.

A couple of years back बुदम (59 years old), went on vacation to Cape Breton Island, with better half Uma and her best friend Shri from Winnipeg. All of them enjoyed the island landscape and surroundings. On the return journey back to Halifax, Uma and her friend Shri got into Limousine, बुदम got busy at the hotel reception and took quite a bit of time. The limousine driver cracked a joke that these beautiful ladies were insisting to move on without him. बुदम said, “They are good girls and will go to heaven. He was looking for the bad one.” Hope one day God Willing…. Cheers!

 

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Vipin Kaushik

Grew up in Shimla and was catalyst in bringing computer education in Shimla. Now working as AVP System development with US company.
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Navneet Bakshi
4 months ago

Thanks for coming here Vipin. A lot of it is new. Keep recollecting more incidents. I need them. The project is very much in line and it will be accomplished one day.

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