I visited the Scindia School after what seems like ages. The drive up to the fort via the steep Urwai ghati brought back memories of the days spent at the school. The old houses (our hostels) still look the same with the trees that seem as young as ever. I remember hurling my hockey stick at the tamarind tree in front of Jeevaji house for some juicy imlis. Sometimes, the stick would get entangled in the old limbs of the trees only to be rescued by the forceful strike of another stick borrowed from a housemate. And then, we would rush to the games fields with pockets full of the loot, content. Ah, those beautiful moments remain as fresh in my memories…
We visited Astachal with the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the young eucalyptus tree and remembered looking at the old ramparts of the fort in the background as the sun went down over the hills beyond the fort walls. I remembered Mr Chatterjee with reverberations of his voice as he sang – “surya ast ho gaya..gagan mast ho gaya…pag pag hum gaate chalein…aha gaate…aha gaate” (The sun has gone down…the sky is rosy and ecstastic..we are singing with every step…”). It looked just the same but there were no boys, no roll-call and no school astachal this evening.
Also, I finally got to see the light and sound show in the vicinity of the beautiful Man-mandir built by Raja Man Singh. As the deep voice of Amitabh Bachchan started the narration of the chequered history of this famous fortress at Gwalior, multicolored lights spot-lighted the historical buildings around the area one by one as the sound-bytes changed.
A mild winter breeze blew as I sat on the edge of the wall, trying to keep my camera steady and wishing I had brought my tripod with me. I was under the impression that photography with-or-without flash was not allowed. The lights of the Gwalior city below, twinkling like stars, winked telling me that I will be back again.