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15 years ago, 7700 miles away January 9, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in india, reminisces-1990s.

News from Guwahati :

The violence in Assam is continuing unabated. Even as the Centre says that it would deploy more troops to intensify operations in the state, the ULFA has changed tactics and tried to attack an Army camp late on Monday evening. At least seven persons were injured when two bombs exploded near the cantonment in Satgaon on Monday evening.

I travelled to the Satgoan Cantonment every day for two years in 1991-93, my school – Army School, Narangi – is located in the heart of the cantonment area. I thought it was the safest area in the city ( though a likely target ). I remember when Babri Masjib demolition took place on Dec 6th, 1992, the last thing my parents had to worry about if we were safe at school – the cantonment was the last place you would expect a communal riot to break out. I went to one of my friends’ ( Pankaj Chauhan) dad’s office ( an army colonel ) and played computer games till the evening while the mosque was coming down. ( I hope a 11 year old is not held guilty of indifference/apathy ).

Its been about 14 years, since May 28, 1993 when I left Guwahati for the last time and I haven’t been there since. I am not in touch with anyone but one classmate from those days – inspite of best efforts. I wish they had an alumni association. As I wrote to my Little Rock friends in July 2005 :

I studied at an Army School in Assam for 2 years like you studied in Little Rock Indian School for 3 years. I left 12 years ago like you did 13 years ago. And I am not perhaps as lucky as you to one day crash into over 100 batchmates of mine !! I have not been in touch with a SINGLE classmate of mine. Only last June I caught up with a batchmate � infact a real buddy back then and to my utter dismay, he too has never been in touch with anyone ! So, here we are now, 2 people who are each in touch with 1 person i.e. each other � thermodynamic analog of a closed system ….

House no 21, Jogen Barua Lane,
Uzan Bazaar,
Guwahati – 781001

Thats the place. Courtesy : Wikimapia. The word “Jorphukri” in my address splits up as “Jod” ( joined ) + Phukri ( lake ). It comes from the 2 adjacent lakes that you see in the picture.

I love the city – Guwahati. The early 90s were the peak of millitancy in Assam. Yet, as a 11 year old, I roamed the city, much of it by foot – on walks, shopping, just going around, walking home from dad’s bank or the other way around – either with my parents/family friends/Bharath and so often, just alone. I knew Guwahati, every inch of the city, when I left her in 1993 ;perhaps better than I knew Bangalore when I left in 2004 or Mangalore when I left KREC in 2003. I dont think I have ever felt so liberated in any other city before. Maybe Boston. But then I didnt explore Boston too much either.
When I visit India next, perhaps in mid 2008, I want to make a trip to Guwahati. That will be 15 years from 1993 !

I searched for Army School Narangi and this is one of the pages that showed up. I believe thats a competition being held in the basketball court near the huge Tamarind tree in the middle of the ground ! This single picture brings back an interesting recollection. About 15 years ago I awaited my turn to pick my topic for the English extempore. For someone who was considered ( not at all incorrectly ) extremely unruly and mischievous in class, it turned out that my topic was “The naughty student” and the audience went up in a roar. It wasnt ofcourse my first time on stage , but my talk, as I recall now, was incoherent and by the standards I would choose to measure upto now, an unmitigated disaster. [ As a matter of fact, my entire time on stage right up till 1995 was less than mediocre. ]

Unfortunately though, I dont have a single photograph of myself in the school campus, though several elsewhere in Guwahati.



1. ankurindia - January 9, 2007

i hope one day we can get rid from voilance in india

2. Judith Neeley - January 27, 2008

I found your website/blog as I was researching Army School Narangi. I have been sponsoring a student for the past 7 years who is now attending this school and in 11th grade. I live in the San Francisco Bay area, and have never visited India. I would love to go there to attend her high school graduation, and I would love to be in communication with someone familiar with the school and educational system in India.

My ‘daughter’ is an orphan from Tawang, and is doing extremely well with her studies. She was chosen to leave the orphanage to attend the Army School first in Tezpur two years ago, and then to Narangi. She wants to study software engineering, and I want to help her go to college. I haven’t a clue what is required, the cost, the school schedule, or how to make any of this a reality.

If you feel so inclined, I would be most grateful for any information regarding the above that you can provide. Thank you so much!

3. Judith Neeley - January 27, 2008

Oh yes, kindly email me if you wish. Thanks again.

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