In the picturesque greenery of Upper Assam lies the very small town bythe name Duliajan, the place where i spent 11 golden years of mychildhood.My earliest memories of Duliajan date back to 1994, the year my fatherwas transferred from Orissa to Assam. Mom was apprehensive about thetransfer since life was very much settled in Bhubaneshwar. After allstaying in the capital city of a state had its own advantages. Butbeing a promotional transfer, Dad somehow managed to convince herabout it. I don’t remember much but I am cent per cent sure that hewould have had a Herculean task. Convincing women ain’t that easy. Wepacked our bags and left for Duliajan, a name which was gonna beetched in our memories for a long long time.
Duliajan is a township where most of the inhabitants are employees ofthe public sector company, OIL INDIA LIMITED, my dad being one amongthem. After about a week’s stay at the guest house we moved to thecompany quarters. Not a very big house, enough for a family of 3. Thegarden of the house was something which Mom was very particular about.She made sure that the gardener was doing the work for which he waspaid for. There was a cricket ground behind that house where I learnt the first lessons of cricket. The daily games after school had ignitedthe passion for cricket inside me, something which I still carryaround.
I remember myself, a 7 year old kid, standing behind the gateof my house watching the seniors play, silently admiring them and thatlittle heart of mine praying to GOD, to make me like them.Kendriya Vidyalaya, Duliajan was the biggest school in that region andby GOD’s grace I managed to get a seat there. School was fun in many ways. Our class had students from almost every part of the nation. But the majority were Assamese and Bengalis. Interacting with people froma variety of cultures at a young age has helped me in more than oneway. You learn so many things which I am sure are available in notextbook. One thing which I miss from the school days is the morningassemblies. The prayer, pledge and the occasional talk from thePrincipal about the principles to be adopted in daily life started ourday. I somehow used to manage to close my eyes during the entire twominutes of the prayer because one teacher had scolded us for doingotherwise. The tendency to open the eyes was always there butgradually it became a habit and I started respecting the Morning Prayer. I don’t pray these days with my eyes closed even for a minuteand the difference can be felt. Also one very important thing I learn twas to respect the National Anthem. They say what you learn in yourchildhood stays with you for the entire life. So TRUE.
Talking about Assam and its people, many of my good friends were, infact are Assamese. I can still understand and also talk a bit of‘Assamese’ even after leaving the place for 5 years. ‘Bihu’, theharvest festival of Assam was a time to rejoice. School would beclosed and the whole atmosphere was filled with a sense of festivity.It was the visit to our neighbours’ house which was the most excitingpart. Mouth-watering delicacies all around. The Diwali and Holicelebrations are also fresh in my mind. Those days……….. And yes,missed out the best thing. The tea-estates stretching around acres.Watching them had always left me amazed as is Infinity.I would love to go back and see how things have moved forward. Howmuch my school has changed, how much my friends have changed, how much my first house has changed, the garden and of course that cricketground.