August 25, is a date that I can never forget for two reasons—one that is my birthday and another that on this day the worst strike happened in the history of the then REC and now NIT! I had literally forgotten about the day had it not been for Dheeraj to remind me of that sad day.
I had barely reached Sundernagar and was about to take my dinner when the phone call from home interrupted me. “Bachhon ne car tod di hai.” I was perplexed and replied, “but the kids don’t do any harm to the car” and queried “why today?” I thought that it must be the colony kids who had done some damage to the car while playing along. My husband’s voice was full of sarcasm, “Oh, your bachhe, the students, whom you pamper all the time.” I was shocked. I found no reason, whatsoever, to find a logic as to why the students would do that to our cars. I could not wait to be back in Hamirpur to know about the details and see for myself the extent of damage done to the tangible as well as the intangible.
He was right. All the cars of the faculty were in deplorable condition. Splinters of glass were the reminder of the black day. The pelted stones were saying the story of the destruction that reigned that fateful day. Initial shock gave way to plan ahead for getting the remedial measures to get the cars serviceable. Distant calls, enquiries from the service stations, the insurance people and sundry were made and finally one fine day we set for Mandi to get the needful done.
It was a memorable journey! Our car was not having even a single glass pane and there were big dents as well. I still was not out of shock to come on terms with the reality and kept on asking, “Why they did it to me?” My kids, now much adapted to the situation, would laugh aloud and say, “This is because you bored them to death in the class and they avenged this torture by pelting stones on the car!” The all would roar with laughter much to my discomfort.
The journey started. We were feeling awkward traveling in a car that had no glasses at all. When we reached the town, I saw Nishant and as usual I smiled at him but he looked embarrassed even to reply back. By this time I had started enjoying the hard facts. But the wind coming with great force through the front window was making driving difficult. Before this experience I never could imagine how important the glass panes were to the vehicles. But more was to come. We started making the best of the situation. My kids, sitting on the rear seat would wave to people from the rear window that had no glass and it was really worth watching the expression on the awestruck faces as from a distance no one could make out that the car was without glass panes. The school children would stare hard at us and would shout to each other, “Look, this car has no glasses!”
The best was when I had to throw out the remains of the apple that I had eaten; I threw it out from the front window, much to the amusement of my kids. Though initially we were feeling very bad about the incident but today when I thought of it, only good memories related to that black day came to my mind. This is what time does to you, erasing all bad things and references and finding something good even in the worst conditions to live by.