Monday, December 24, 2012

In Remembrance

For some reason , ever since  I started browsing newspapers, I am   spontaneously drawn to the obituary column , which reminds me of the  imminent mortality  of   all life on this earth. It was a rude  shock  yesterday   to learn about the sad demise of  Prof . Madan Sharma , who for many years taught Mathematics  in  the R.P.C.S.D.B. College , Shimla , a privately managed institution, which later on was  taken over by the  Government  and rechristened as  Rajkiya  Kanya Maha Vidyalaya or RKMV- meant exclusively for Girls. However it was  still the RPCSDB College , co-ed , when I studied there  in the early seventies . Prof. Madan Sharma or M.L.Sharma  as he was  known, was a Mathematics teacher, always immaculately dressed , smart and handsome. He could be seen moving from one classroom to the other  carrying  the attendance  Register  like a platter , on which were placed the  duster and  the  box containing chalk . Friends , who studied maths from him  were all enamoured of him  for  not  only his style of teaching but also for his general demeanour- the way he carried himself .A bachelor, he was an accomplished ice skater  and  it was said that  he had proxied for some film star in the skating scene  on some occasion. Well versed in English, Hindi & Punjabi , he also dabbled in poetry in all the three languages and was a regular contributor to the college magazine – Padma . He was regularly seen on the Mall  as he also lived nearby . Age did not wither him a bit and  his zest for  life  was immense- his hair and moustaches always  dyed jet-black  till recently. 

R.I.P  Prof Sharma , it would not be easy to forget you  for those who had the privilege  of being taught by you or  knowing you !

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Monkeys at Shimla

Monkeys are known to be predators, pranksters and thanks  to Darwin’s theory of evolution ,our forefathers  too .Looking at monkeys, we human beings consciously or otherwise  try to trace our origin to them , from their  behaviour pattern and movements. They are an interesting topic of study. Many years ago I read an  account by Rudyard Kipling- Monkeys at Shimla – with added interest as  a Shimlaite .Later , I spent  many years as  a resident of   Jakhu Hills ,  a natural abode of monkeys at Shimla .The monkeys at Shimla are a permanent nuisance  and it is difficult for the residents to carry eatables  openly  without inviting trouble for themselves. I for one have always been  in awe of  monkeys as in case one of the simians digs its teeth into your flesh, you have to undergo a  regular  course of treatment  by  vaccination.

With this thing in my mind , I always carried eatables  either in a zipped up bag or even inside an umbrella. And the best way is to pass by without looking at them . The place in Shimla where I live now can easily be called second abode of monkeys but they are a gentler lot  than the ones that we come across on the Mall  and at or near Jakhu   and live in harmony with  human beings . They never seem to be in an attacking mood  and never tinker or mess with things lying outside. I come across  a number of them daily   on my way  to and from home  and just bending a bit to  act as if to carry a small pebble scares them away. Of course, when face to face with an army of monkeys, I  recite  Hanuman Chalisa   mentally , seeking monkey god’s help .