Another Story from Kasi: Bruce II

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The previous story was of 1008, who used to study in the same school in which the hero of the present story studied (it’s not me). I don’t know why I know so many stories of people with whom I share my school! He was the Bruce Lee of his muhalla and was in class ten or eleven when I took admission in class seven. So, we both passed through this school that we shared for around two years. They were three brothers: the eldest one used to work in some firm and the youngest one was in another school. I had met him only a couple of times in school. He used to live in a muhalla too, like 1008 and I. Given below is the entrance to his muhalla. For decades, their house has been easily located by the name of Karpatriji’s Dharm Sangh. Their house is just behind it, beside Lal Baba’s house.

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Bruce II had an ectomorphic medium sized frame, a long and pointed nose with a high bridge, oval face and dark brown complexion. His face had an uncanny similarity with Bruce Lee’s but that had nothing to do with our associating him with the original. The reason behind the association was his being a fitness and martial arts freak. He had a gym with a kaccha floor at home with set up for squats and bench press and used to exercise regularly with his friends there. He was the strongest, although definitely not the most voluminous, of them all and used to perform his sets in strict form. He was the unofficial instructor and senior member of the gym. He also used to train himself and many others of his locality in his self-taught form of karate. His teens coincided with the rise of martial arts movies in India, specially Bruce Lee’s and he got bitten by the martial arts bug.

Nunchaku

(Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nunchaku.JPG)

There were posters of Bruce Lee on the walls of his house, and his stickers on his doors and almirahs (some stickers can be found on the doors and almirahs of my house too). I remember my first encounter with a wooden nunchaku at his place. There was three nails on the walls of the living room at his place: one for the wooden badminton rackets, one for the steel ones and one for his wooden nunchaku. The first two were his, but could be accessed by the children who came visiting his place. Touching his naunchaku without his permission was simply not possible. Once asked, he readily gave permission to the really interested, specially when he knew they would admire the supreme karate weapon of Bruce Lee. More than just that, when he was in a good mood, he would also offer to teach a couple of ways in which the thing could be used. Impressive is the word that comes to my mind when I think of those past incomparable performances of his. Later on, a stainless steel nunchaku also adorned the walls of his house and their use was demonstrated with the same adroitness.

Bruce II was a good son, brother, uncle (mine) and a good friend. He had many friends in his locality and around. Friends of his childhood and youth. They used to meet and hang out regularly. There’s an apocryphal anecdote about his teaching English to one of his friends for the board examination of class twelve just before the exam. They say that the friend passed the paper and the teacher, I know, did not pass that year. Then there’s a story of their friend who was lured into having his head shaven on the death of another friend’s distant relative (it’s done only when someone in the family has died). His unwavering loyalty for his friends bordered on heroic. He took risks for them, something that his middle class elders could never approve of. They worried for him. They feared that his future was certain: that he was certainly going to have a bleak kind of future, i.e. no safe government job because no proper or higher studies. More than that, they also feared that he was soon going to become  a delinquent. They had strong reasons for their belief as they had huge database of past and contemporary cases to base their claim on.

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