I still remember the days when the ICSE ‘90 exams were around the corner. Most of the students were busy studying and were giving their 100 percent to get good grades. Brilliant students had already planned what they were going to do after ICSE; whether they were going to stay put in the school or they would be going to places like New Delhi or Chandigarh to pursue their Engineering or Medical goals. Although I was also a good student and always remained in the ‘A’ section, but at that time I had no dreams about my future. For me the present days were the only ones to enjoy and the company of friends like Bhaiya (Narinder Dhindsa (R-686), Champu (Varinder Singh R-721), Manmarji (Balwinder Singh R-785), Ranjeeta Kana (Ranjeet Singh R-783), Bindi (Jagwinder Singh R-699) (all Ravi House, ICSE 1990) was the only thing that mattered to me.
To sip tea from the Bhaiya shop which was located behind the auditorium, used to be my Key Responsibility Area in the evening during prep time. We friends used to climb the wall around sunset and go to the Bhaiya shop to have a taste of his special tea and Balushais. We were caught several times by our teachers especially by Mr. Sukhram Singh Sandhu (English teacher) and Mr. Onial (English teacher and Senior Sutlej House Housemaster) who reported our misdemeanors to our Housemaster, Mr. Govind Raturi. To curb this menace, Mr. Raturi offered us the olive branch of having a cup of tea at his residence every evening but not to go outside. We accepted the deal and the very next day reached Mr. Raturi’s house for a cup of tea. Mr. Raturi showed extreme hospitality and offered us tea with biscuits and we enjoyed every bit of it. But as old habits die hard, we were again caught sipping tea in the Bhaiya shop that very evening by Mr. Sandhu. Thereafter our parents were summoned to the school to inform them of the tea-sipping habits of their wards.
From left to right. Jagwinder Singh Sohal alias Bindi, Inderjeet Singh Sidhu alias Totru, Varinder Singh Palia alias Champu, Dr. Harinder Pal Singh Bhullar alias Lambu and Narinder Singh Dhindsa alias Bhayia.
2. Playing cards in the hostel
Manmarji bought cards for playing Bhabi in the hostel. We used to play during night time when the lights were switched off. But one fine evening when we were busy playing cards on our black trunks, Mr. KK Bansal (Ravi House Housemaster and fondly called KKB) , with his spying eyes, caught us from outside the windows. When it was Ranjeet Kana’s turn to through his Begi Mr. Bansal came from behind and gave Kana a tight slap. All of us were made to stand in a single line, made murgas and asked to pack our bags and leave for our homes next morning and bring our parents to once again hear about their wards’ contribution to the school.
3. Narinder Dhindsa’s (R686) pillow’s logad (cotton) incident
One fine day after coming back from the evening prep we decided to go to the market and have some samosas. After having our samosas from the market, we went into the PSEB( adjacent to Senior Boys hostel) premises where an Akhand Path was going on. As we were tasting parshad Mr. Onial caught us and asked all of us to accompany him. He called our Housemaster Mr. Raturi who, by that time was fed up of our antics. He asked us to report to the Headmaster the next morning. We played a prank on Dhindsa. We brainwashed Dhindsa to put a logad of the pillow inside his knickers because the whipping by the Headmaster was going to be very painful. As the morning ascended, we went for our fashion designing, murdered Dhindsa’s pillow and put a lot of logad inside his knickers. During our one to one interaction with the Headmaster I was the first one to get the whips and Champu was second to have their taste. And then came Dhindsa’s turn. As the Headmaster started the whipping, he saw something inside the knickers of Dhindsa as the logad started falling out. In spite of our pain, Champu and I could not stop laughing even in front of the Headmaster. The Headmaster asked Dhindsa to open up his shorts and as the the logad started coming out, all the remains of the logad were put on the Headmaster’s table. Again, we were ordered to leave for home and bring our parents to the school which by that time seemed to have become a routine.I decided to share this incident with all of you although Narinder Dhindsa will not spare me after this note is published. But all for a laugh.
From left to Right at School pool. Ranjit Singh Maan alias Kana, Narinder Dhindsa Varinder Singh and Harinder Bhullar
4. ‘Aaj Imtihian Hai’ song during the morning of first ICSE exam
It had become a challenge for all of us to follow the age-old tradition of playing ‘Aaj Imtihan Hai’ song on the morning of our first ICSE exam. All the Housemasters had made elaborate security arrangements in their Houses so that this song could not be played in the morning. We were able to smuggle a stereo into the House one day before the D day. It was kept hidden in the empty water tank on the terrace of the senior Ravi House. Similarly, Jaswinder Sandhu (J-857 ICSE 1990) and Parampreet Brar (J-872 ICSE 1990) of Jamuna House had also been successful in obtaining the sound equipment. As the clock neared four in the morning, our stereo, unfortunately, failed to work but the Jamuna House stereo started to blare ‘Aaj Imtihian Hai’. Our mission was, hence, successful. Sadly, the stereo was shattered to pieces the next day by the Headmaster.
Picture is of 1989: Innocent looking Harinder Bhullar sitting on the left was in the school Athletics team and wearing track suit. With him are Bhupinder Khatra,Jaswinder Sandhu,Parampreet Brar all Jamuna House.
5. Mr Raturi’s evening meeting on the last day in the school
I still remember the one to one interaction which I had with Mr Raturi during the last day in the school. He frankly asked me what I wanted to do in the future, and what my state of mind was at that moment. I told him that I could not take orders from anybody and I would have to do what ever my heart would tell me to do. But as life has moved on, I have learnt that to survive in this competitive world you have to not only take orders from your superiors but also abide by them. My ego continues to get in the way of my taking orders. During my stint in the last two organizations I could not get along with my Bosses. So, the story continues!
Contributed by- Harinder Pal Singh Bhullar (Lambu, R-786, ICSE 1990). Presently Under Secretary in Union Law ministry.