Chronicles of Doda!
( Translated from the original Hindi by the author)
23rd March 1961
My dear Mummy,
I have finally arrived in my new school! The train journey was very nice specially the Puris we ate at Barog and the tunnels on the way. I have to live with about fifty other boys in a long dormitory. I have been allotted one iron spring bed and one wooden locker. It was so cold in the night that I had to rub my feet for such a long time to keep warm. Since Naresh is a senior he sleeps with senior boys in a cubicle. Before going to sleep he told me I will have to get up at five and do P.T. and then he will tell me everything. All around me as usual there were gangs of boys sitting on beds talking very excitedly in git-bit English. I was feeling very lonely. Soon one very tall and dark Sikh boy came and said, all right, lights out, no more gassing. Every one go to sleep. I was wondering what is gassing? Will they be lighting gas lamps or what? But soon I was snoring.
Early in the morning there was a big rush and I heard a bugle blowing. Every one started running around. Naresh suddenly came and gave me some soft white paper and told me to go to the toilet. He said that I have to use it in place of water. I looked around me and saw that every one was charging to the bogs. Bogs here means the toilet. Mummy, this is the first toilet I have seen where there is no water. I was feeling very sleepy and tired. Naresh said, hurry up, brush your teeth and get ready. I cannot talk to any one here but for Naresh. Because he is the only boy here who knows Punjabi. I am really very surprised why no one here talks in Hindi or Punjabi! So I looked around and did what the other boys were doing and copied them. This is the first time I have used paper. I asked Naresh why they use this toilet paper here instead of water. He said, we are a English Public School and only lingoes use water. I asked him, where is your smart friend Vijay Khurana. He said, he is in Lefroy house, meaning the long dormitory next to ours and I will see him in the break. So I got dressed in white shorts and dark blue jersey and we went below to the dining room. It appears that I am the only new boy in this house. This inland letter form is coming to an end. Oh! Yes, let me tell you one more funny thing which happened on the first day. Early in the morning Mukesh who is in the lower house came running up the hill and shouted under our dorm: Naresh, can you please give me some toothpaste! Every one was so shocked and they all smiled and said, Oh, he is Sethi’s bra! I am feeling completely lost here.
How are Kukoo and Pappi? Don’t forget to keep on buying my Chandamama every month
Your loving and obedient son