Wheres the Kid? – Part 2

14 May

Ok.. so I screwed up… here is part 2…

So I wait and I wait. 5 turned to 6 and then 6.30 but dad or driver were nowhere in sight. The kids I was playing with went home; the watchman yelled us out of the school and shut the gate. Then as only an 8 year old can, I took a decision to walk. I started trudging… and trudging…

In the meantime, dad suddenly remembers something is missing. Can’t remember what, and suddenly it strikes him.. My son!!!! My son!!! He rushes to the school only to find it deserted and the watchman locking up for the night. The school comes to life suddenly, the Principal of the school Smt. Seethamma is mad at the watchman for letting me go (poor guy… I was one of a teeming army of kids…Who should he watch?). The watchman and the office boys fan out to the adjoining streets to look for me. Not finding me, they start tracking me towards the house. It didnt help my dad’s already “guilty” feeling that there was news in the papers about kidnappings and the sort. In 1972, this was big news.

Fortunately Dad/Driver always took the same route between house and school. So, I knew the route well. The office was half way between. Any one with half a brain would have gone to the office and demand to be dropped home. But then this was me… less than half a brain. I was slowly making my way from MSS, across JC road, through Nrupathunga Road, Vidhana Soudha to Kumara Park… Those days all these roads were 2 way. On the way, there were plenty of distractions. There were street performers who I stopped to look at, cinema posters I stood and gawked at. So here I was in my Khaki uniform, walking without a care in the world.

In the meantime, phone calls went to mom… And several of Dad’s friends started cruising the roads in cars. In addition there was a police complaint lodged and several police guys looking for a  8 year old walking the streets.

I was happy walking… until it started getting dark. That was a little scary; I rebuked myself for wasting time looking at street attractions and started jogging. By the time I reached Vidhana Soudha, it was pitch dark (lighting in old Bangalore wasn’t all that great). While I was looking around, I approached a guy on a cycle who offered to give me a ride until Palace Grounds Police Station. Interestingly enough this was about a kilometer from where I lived and was the place where a “missing” complaint had been lodged. So this guy drops me off without any incident, and I am now in front of the Police Station totally unaware that I am the topic of discussion inside… in my mind I am almost home… its about 8.30 PM now.. I know… I know… But there were a LOT of distractions.

As I am walking the last stretch, I am now in a totally deserted part of Bangalore (those days), with the Golf Course on my left and houses on the other side (today you can’t cross the road on that stretch without being honked at a dozen times). By now I am in abject fear of anything that moves (trees, dogs)… then suddenly I hear a voice… “Hey Viji.. yello hogiddhe?”… I look up, its my dad’s friend T.K. Venkataramanan (Venky uncle).. he had been cruising the streets looking for me. On seeing him my last bit of bravado fell off and I started crying. He put me in his car and drove me home.

Home was a beehive of activity. Mom was beside herself with worry. Neighbours were consoling her. As soon as Venky uncle entered with me, there was an outpouring of relief. Mom rushed to me… Looked to see if I was hurt… and then gave me a stern look… but the tears that welled up in her eyes was enough to show what she had been through (remember this was before Aditya was born.. so I was the only kid). She hurried away to the kitchen and brought me some water and milk to drink… we then sat and waited for Dad… there were no mobile phones those days, so no way of telling him I was ok.

In the meantime Dad, Riaz (his closest friend), the attenders, the office boys, the cops and poor Seethamma were still fanned out across the city looking for me. Dad then made his way back home to tell mom that I had not been found. Imagine his surprise and relief when he saw me. He didn’t say anything. He just collapsed on a chair and covered his face with his hands. For five minutes he didnt say a word. I was busy drinking my milk, but at the same time realizing that what I had done had caused a lot of trauma. The attenders who were with my dad were also on the verge of tears. The happiest was the watchman who had gotten an earful from the Principal.

Finally when he came out of it, my dad just looked at me and said… “Yeno mari… I was so worried… Sorry I forgot to send the car”… with that he got up and went into his room. I am sure he shed a tear or so of relief inside.

20 plus years later I would have a similar incident with Nikhil… so as I am writing this, I KNOW what he felt like.

Next day was Saturday, and my mom DID not send me to school. In fact she didn’t let me out of her sight.

When I went back to school, I was a mini-celebrity. Every teacher came up to me and patted me and said they were glad to see me. The attenders now were my close buddies. Seethamma called me into her office and admonished me in a kind and gentle way. From now on after school, I was to go straight to her office and wait for the car. So that’s what I did. The good thing about waiting there was that I would get fruit juice and biscuits every day.

But there was very little waiting from then on. Dad used to send the car early 😉

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24 Responses to “Wheres the Kid? – Part 2”

  1. Aditya May 14, 2007 at 2:35 pm #

    Wow.

  2. Veena Shivanna May 14, 2007 at 2:40 pm #

    Gosh, It was so worrying for me itself ( was infact tempting to read last paragraph), GOD damn how would your parents feel like paapa!

    Mysore is the best place that way, the max one needs to travel is 5 kms(farthest)..

    one thing I appreciate is that, parents don’t tense you more by scolding or beating you, patience at such times are really handy … paapa nimma daddy! that lo mari dialogue was really touchy.

  3. Chitra May 14, 2007 at 3:34 pm #

    Beautifully written! Loved the narration. BTW, did you mean ‘High Grounds’ police station?

  4. mouna May 14, 2007 at 4:37 pm #

    bravo, vijay, u walked all the way!! and distractions were constant, u say 😀

    i travel along this route everyday(from hudson circle to mcc) and the distance is not short!!

    i can imagine the trauma that u’r parents must have undervent, i too was ‘lost’ in school. i still can’t figure out how!! the whole family was out searching for me, my uncle found me in school.. one thing i don’t remember is whether i actually got a dressing down or not. school is hardly any distance from home(it’s located on richmond road)…

    god!! they were shaken!! 😀

  5. decemberstud May 14, 2007 at 11:25 pm #

    Awesome !!! Salut sir, for your story telling (writing ?) skills. Reading this piece was as good as watching a movie. Honestly, it is so damn well written.

    Parents, huh 🙂 My father forgot to pick me up, not once, but twice. I probably should blog it sometime….lol.

  6. rk May 15, 2007 at 3:15 am #

    thrilling post! but i still prefer listening to all these stories from you. after having listened and read your stories, i prefer the latter anyday! the way you narrate stories are matchless moments!
    lucky me! 🙂

  7. Vijay May 15, 2007 at 4:11 am #

    @Aditya: Thats it? !!! Amma still remembers this day (plus the 4 other times I went “missing” 😉

    @Veena: I went thru the same thing when Nikhil was in 1st standard… he was “lost” for 20 minutes before we found him…

    @Chitra: Thanks !! Yes I was talking about High Grounds Police Station (next to BGC)

    @Mouna: 🙂 Thank you.. you should write about your episode as well.. we can then compile all the “Lost” episodes (no pun intended to the TV show)

    @DS: Coming from you its indeed high praise… thanks !!

    @RK: Private sessions cost one set dose…

  8. Vani May 15, 2007 at 4:17 am #

    Vijay,

    For yor story telling skills, we need to get you season passes at any restaurant you choose.

    I am bowled over by your story.

    In my case, it was a flash auto strike which made me walk home….around 6.5 kms…but this was not in darkness…there was considerable light by the time I reached home.

  9. some body May 15, 2007 at 4:40 am #

    vijay:

    !!!

    rk:

    “@RK: Private sessions cost one set dose…”

    what are expense accounts for? with help from king rooster mohan, you can even make it all tax deductible :-).

    – s.b.

  10. Ramesh NR May 15, 2007 at 5:44 am #

    Boy!!! It was almost like reading R.K.Narayan’s Malgudi days………..I think it is the Mysore connection……your writing style is amazing………..

  11. Vijay May 15, 2007 at 5:51 am #

    Ramesha… guru.. maybe engineering was a waste 😉 what do you say?

  12. praneshachar May 15, 2007 at 6:52 am #

    Nanna Comment kaledhogideyall!! yaru kidnap madiddu belligge hpost madded
    We can imagine the amount of trauma undergone by your parents
    friends and relatives, school staff office staff.
    but U are great started walking all the way from jaynagar to Kumarapark
    your legs must have got full quota and your age was just 8 really amazing.
    Anyhow all the drams was unfloded before the night otherwise it would have
    been a night mare for people. You have explained the scene so nicely
    in particular when your father came back and saw you in house the seen was
    really touching and you have expressed it in unequivocal words.
    mundina sari yelli kaledu hoggiddr?
    Alas nimma venky uncle mane hattiro sigoda innu munche balikkillva
    anth;u sikku nimma self adventurena allige close madidru

  13. vinay May 15, 2007 at 8:02 am #

    i wonder if this had happened to a second child ( or subsequent child) , would the feelings be the same …. i have my doubts.

  14. Ramesh NR May 15, 2007 at 8:21 am #

    Vijay,

    An Engineer-Story teller combination is just great!!!So, Engineering was not really a waste!!!And I am eagerly waiting to see your posts on your(our) RVCE days….

  15. Vijay May 15, 2007 at 8:45 am #

    Ramesha: hmmm .. RVCE days… if I have to blog all that.. I need to get full time into blogging.. but you are right we had some great bloggable moments… 🙂

  16. destinationsrik May 15, 2007 at 11:29 am #

    Guys why r v wasting time, lets team up and start a movie making organization, get stories from Vijay and make huge money.

    I really mean it. 🙂

  17. Vijay May 15, 2007 at 12:42 pm #

    @Vani: Thanks ree.. let me think which place…
    @Vinay: I think it will be the same for ALL children… my dad was the same with my kid brother.. (of course we come from a long line of worriers)
    @Srik:My stories are yours… 🙂

  18. praneshachar May 16, 2007 at 6:37 am #

    RVCE chronicles joragi iro hagide abridge madi haki
    parva illa navu adjust madikotivi.
    vijay mattu Ramesh ibbre matadta iddre namge kutoohala
    yenenu irbahudu 8 varshekke ishtella iddaga definite agi
    RVCE kathe thumba rasavattagirutte
    shru madkoli sar mega serial adru parva illa
    hegadru ondu production unit tayaragta ide alva srik

  19. Mysorean May 18, 2007 at 6:21 am #

    Yay! Though late but correct prediction! 🙂

  20. Vijay May 18, 2007 at 6:22 am #

    Adi: You stole my thunder @#$$$%@ 😉

  21. gmohanprakash May 18, 2007 at 8:33 am #

    Vijay,
    I had tears swell in my eyes for the way your father handled the situation once you were found. A good muktha type serial should atleast be made. Remember Malgudi days with swami

  22. Vijay May 18, 2007 at 8:44 am #

    @Mohan: Swami is my hero… Incidentally my favorite episode is the one where he goes missing…

  23. neel3 June 24, 2007 at 5:37 am #

    Wonderful narration. brought tears to my eyes…
    Hats off to your father’s superb control…
    My cousins were famous for getting lost.. and getting found by the police.
    aagina kaladalli exhibition grounds were THE places to get lost..
    this made us extra careful ansutte.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bangalore Blues - June 24, 2007

    […] very summer I went missing, I had another episode that now in perspective put me on the right path. Natti was a guy who lived […]

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