Prologue

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It was a sprinkling sound that woke me up in the middle of the night! It was all dark around. I wasn’t sure how many hours of night had passed and how many were left for morning’s painful PT session. While I was trying to avoid the fear of PT, a peculiar smell filled my nostrils. I got down from my bed, the lower storey of a double-decker bed. Hunting for the switch in the darkness, I felt something wet under my bare feet. OH MY GOD, Rahul you peed again!

Tan…tan…tan…tan…I was off the bed in a flash. Oh the dreadful PT bell! I left the bed and bent under the bed looking for my shoes and socks. There was chaos all round. It appeared as if the hostel was on fire. But I knew it was nothing like that. It had happened yesterday and the day before yesterday as well, and it was happening from last four years.

To be precise, it started in May 1995, the time when I joined Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya as a 6th class student. Nothing has changed in these four years; save the couple of inches & some kilos that I gained, the promotion of a sixth standard child to 11-grade teenager, and most importantly up gradation of a secret admirer to a qualified lover.  

Ahh! I forgot the “peeing episode” – the nightmare that was haunting me from the day I joined Navodaya. Courtesy, a concerned mother who was shocked to see our double-decker beds in the hostel rooms. I still remember her words, “God, what would happen

if my poor child gets the lower storey and someone from the upper bed pees.”

My grandfather, who had come to see me off, had laughingly responded, “Tell your child to sleep with an open umbrella.”

Everybody around had burst into laughter.

I didn’t remember what happened to my “pee-scared” mate but the idea kept haunting me for years.

Meanwhile it was the time to report in the ground. In the next five minutes, we were heading towards the play ground that had been a witness of so many broken limbs, dislocated joints, anticipated and unexpected wins, and heart-breaking loses.  

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