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Back to school

Eleven years after he left school, Bollywood music composer Arkopravo Mukherjee returned to his alma mater — Don Bosco Park Circus — last week, along with t2. The man behind the soulful strains of Jism 2 revisited the corridors and crannies of the DBPC campus where he spent his childhood between 1989 and 2001.

 

Mohammed Salim, the ice-candy man selling his ever-popular stuff at the Bosco front gate for 45 years, was Arko’s first stop. “We would come out of school and help ourselves to Salim bhai’s stuff. Kala Khatta used to be a huge favourite,” smiled Arko, even as a smiling Salim bhai hugged him. “Yeh log badmaash thhe. Bahut zulm karte thhe!” chuckled Salim.

 

Arko chose to relive his school days with buddy Pritam Ghosh, who is now a lawyer based in the city. “We were quite a big group but Pritam and I were particularly close. He is the only friend I am in touch with on a regular basis. He was the naughty one while I was very quiet and studious, but we got along very well. We had special names derived from television channels for various groups on campus. There was Animal Planet for boys of all sizes, short or fat or tall, and then there was AXN for the ones who loved fighting. My group was called Discovery Channel because I was the serious and studious kind, while Pritam belonged to the BBC group, short for Bosco Bawaal Committee!”

 

Walking through the school corridor took Arko down memory lane. “I fell from these steps in Class III and broke my hand. I remember we were all running down in the rain and someone pushed me and I fell and broke my wrist. I wore a cast to school for four weeks. I also remember a board (it still exists in the corridor of the ground floor) where all our birthdays for that particular week or month used to be written, so that the whole school would know whose birthday was on which date. I am glad they have continued with that.”

 

 

 

 

 

Next stop was the assembly hall. Arko was particularly excited to see the scoreboards of various houses up on the wall at the end of the hall. “I used to be in Green house. It used to be so much fun, competing in activities and sports for your house and getting scores for it. I loved being a part of Green house, while Pritam used to be in Yellow.”

 

“I remember our morning prayer meetings. Everyone used to talk at the top of their voices but once the Father conducting the prayer would come in, there would be deathly silence, apart from a few murmurs here and there. He would swoop down on those who were talking and catch them! It was hilarious. I also remember that he had a habit of putting his hand up, jutting a finger out and saying: ‘Everybody silent! Now I have an important thing to tell you.’ In hindsight, it doesn’t seem so funny but I remember we would just crack up, maybe because he used to say the same thing every day.”

 

Close to the staircase, Arko spotted the student washroom and strode in. “Oh my god, this is just the same! It’s good to see that in this rapidly changing world, some things have remained the same. All our school lives, we have drunk water from the school taps and believe me, none of us fell sick. Only the boka (stupid) boys used to get water bottles to school!”

 

Next stop was the Bosco playground. “My god! It’s huge, isn’t it? I never realised it then! I was very much into sports, be it cricket or football or badminton. I remember our lunch break used to start at 11.55am and last for about 40 minutes and during the entire break, we used to just keep playing. Khela bondho hoto na. However, basketball wasn’t something I was very interested in.”

 

 


On the way out, Arko spied some school staff members playing badminton. Before we could say play, there was a racquet in his hand. “It’s so good to be back. I feel as if I never left. Thank you t2!” were the parting words from the Bosco boy.