Soul Light

There’re parts of my past and (people in them) that (/whom) I find interesting enough to deserve a revisit: interesting for others and for myself too. This post is about an old friend of mine. Friend, yes, what else do you call him, an acquaintance? We used to live in neighbouring muhallas and used to spend a lot of our free time together. He was from the same school as that of my uncles, Bruce II, 1008, and I, so was his brother. Ours is a school with a glorious past to look at.


There are two marble tablets on the white walls behind the yellow columns to the left that link our school with 1857. The school was established in 1844 and its students and teachers had participated actively in India’s struggle for independence. On those tablets is engraved the names of those students and teachers of the school who had participated in India’s First War for Independence and were wounded or imprisoned.

Engraved marble tablets are very common in Kasi. They are generally used to commemorate the dead persons of one’s family, especially the elders. I have seen hundreds of such tablets in Kedar Temple alone. The walls and the floors of the temple serve as the base upon which these tablets are cemented. There are walls of the temple that have an outer marble layer from floor to ceiling. A typical tablet of the type has the name of the person being remembered in the largest font at central position. With that name are given the names of the persons who ordered and paid for the tablet.


The tablets in our school are different as they have only names of the persons being remembered. My friend Soul Light and his brother were both products of the same school and a couple of years junior to me, so they used to call me with the common appellation for elder brother: bhaiya (long before the term had acquired pejorative connotations in Delhi). If that reason was not enough, my friend Rajeev used to live in the same house and they were his younger brother’s friends, so there was one more reason for them to call me bhaiya.

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