After our 12th grade exam and specially after the entrance examinations result was declared, I felt complete emptiness in the topmost part of my body. I couldn’t decide what to do next. Most of my friends were quite busy regarding their admission here and there and I felt totally left out. During that time, my childhood friend Raja Rana called me and asked me to accompany him, to visit his school in order to get his clearance certificate. Raja Rana was my classmate right from nursery and when we were in our 6th standard, he had to take admission in Sainik School, Goalpara. It's a boarding school under the ministry of Defence and is situated 20 km from Goalpara town. During that time the school campus was quite remote and isolated and the forest was not very far from there. My father didn’t argue much that time and gave me some money for the trip.
But unfortunately, now a days there is Naranarayana Setu and it took away all the fun, as presently people can cross the river within a couple of minutes.
Once we got down from the ferry, we took a bus to Goalpara Town. Raja Rana wanted to visit his friend, Tapash Ghosh and I met Tapash for the first time that day. We spent a couple of hours in his house. Later we had to catch another bus which would take us to Sainik School. Most of the buses were mini bus and all of them were heavily overcrowded. Raja Rana told me that they never used to wait for a less crowded bus and in fact, they enjoyed to sit at the top of the bus or stand at the back. He said it 's little dangerous to sit at the top, as the road passed through a forest and any tree branch could have easily smashed their heads. So, they usually used to stand at the back. Initially I was little scared, but I also wanted to experience the thrill. Even though there was not enough space at the back of the bus for two of us, but somehow we managed and within a few minutes we reached our destination. Once we got down from the bus, we had to walk quite a distance to reach the School.
It was vacation time and the entire campus was silent. We went to Raja Rana’s hostel and he was quite happy to meet some of his old schoolmates. During that time I met many guys and can’t recollect all the names, but how can I forget my dear friend Javed? Well both Tapash and Javed already got admission in Assam Engineering College, the same college which I took admission the next year. I was quite excited to see the hostel environment and was jealous of those guys, as they had all the fun for so many years. As it was vacation time, so the mess was closed and we had to walk almost a KM to have food in a small dhaba. It was already 3:30 PM and I was damn hungry. The only menu they had in the dhaba that day was, rice and smashed potato curry and I couldn’t eat properly. I noticed that all the other guys enjoyed the food very graciously and even praised the dhaba guy that he made such a delicious curry. I also noticed the dhaba guy, as he repeatedly filled few of the plates with rice.
One of the guys asked casually “why you guys are eating like a cow?”
The other guy replied with a smile “Hehe, we don’t want to come this far again in the night, so we are eating our dinner as well”
I was little depressed that time, as I was very hungry but couldn’t eat properly and all the other guys simply enjoyed their meal. Those guys seemed to be tough, both mentally and physically.
In the night, the guys enjoyed a lot, as it was a great get together for them, after recently passing out of school. I was very tired, also I couldn’t relate much to their discussions and I was dead, quite early that night. Next day we had breakfast at the same dhaba and after breakfast we returned to the hostel. Later that day, Raja Rana told me that he would take another 4-5 days to get his clearance, as some of the professors were holidaying that time. Raja Rana requested me to stay with him and I was in a double mind. I could have stayed but thought not to stay there that longer. I had to give an excuse to him and said that I was running short of money. On that, Raja said to me that he would take care of that. So, I had to give him different excuses and packed my bag. He came with me to the main road where I had to catch the bus. The first bus that came, again a mini bus that time, stopped at the gate.
The bus conductor said to me “Hey! dude, you are from Sainik School, you can stand at the back or can sit at the top” I really felt good and proud for a while.
Later, after I joined Engineering college and after staying in hostel, I felt that I was almost close, to the level of those guys.