Saturday, November 21, 2009

When the Alwynian met after 41 years in Sikkim - i

 Mr. Pakianathan, Dhaba, Mr. Firth, 
Mrs. Pakianathan and Dhama at Hotel Tibet corridor

When I first heard that my Dhaba (my father’s elder brother) was having a small reunion with few of his teachers of Wynberg-Allen School, Mussoorie out at Gangtok after 41 long years, I could not stop myself from asking him to take me along to be part of that precious moment. I was happy he did not denied me but there was many thoughts going on my mind while we were on the drive to Gangtok from Singtam. Believe me when I say that Dhaba came all the way from Parakha, his residential to pick me up along with Dhama ( his wife) and Pranay (his son).

Dhaba was in high spirits looking forward to meet his teachers all the way from London. I was excited and curious to know as well as how shall the duo of student-teacher (I mean Dhaba and his teachers) react at their first interaction after more than four decades and what shall be their talks. All these different thought made me busier till we reached Hotel Tibet at the heart of Gangtok, where those people had been staying out. We even had bought pickles as a reminder from the guests from the Pick-Up Shop of Singtam Juice Factory.

My Dhaba, Ghanashyam Pradhan, lovingly called ‘GS Sir’, by one and all is a retired former Headmaster of Phadamchen SSS. An educationist with vibrant thoughts that was shown in his teaching days had been the trademark of his more than two decade long illustrious profession. He enjoys his retire life out at Parakha, a few hour drive from Pakyong with his grandchildren and contributing in certain social gatherings. But at anytime if one mentions him about his staying at Wynberg-Allen School, he does not make a gimmick in sharing off his best years of his life. I had always admired the English ascent and the fluency he had and without doubt all thank to Wynberg-Allen School, those teachers, friends and to that atmosphere for it.

Coming back to Hotel Tibet, it was already mid-noon when we reached there and we were told that the guests from England was on the way from Changu Lake accompanied by Mingma Bhutia, an another former student from Sikkim and was about to arrive at the hotel within few minutes. All the way I had been listening up name of one of the teacher more often, his name was Pakianathan. I was fumbling off with the pronunciation of the name and giving up a thought that he might be some old guy from South East Asia, somewhere between Malaysia, Indonesia and nearby those countries.

 Dhaba kneeling infront of Mr. Pakianathan (1968)

The moment finally arrived when an Indian looking 60 plus gentleman entered from the entrance door of the Hotel Tibet and Dhaba went to greet him. He gave his introduction and in between their talks I could make up my mistake that the very Indian looking person was Mr. Pakianathan himself not to do anything with my geographical speculation! Watching both of them hug was something you don’t often come across. Watching Dhaba having a stick to walk, Mr. Pakianathan was surprised and teased Dhaba grabbing his stick?

Few minutes after him followed an Indian lady; she was Mrs. Pakianathan who was also Dhaba’s teacher at Wynberg-Allen School and then finally few foreign faces. Among them included Mr. Firth, Dhaba’s English Teacher with his wife and fellow friends. They made us take a seat at the sofa and left for some fresh up. I was watching Dhaba being restless could be that he was preparing within himself about what to speak of all the years. It might be about excitement of meeting his old teachers that could not be hidden from his face.