Kha Chang owned a Hero bicycle (Was it green or black? Green I think.) when I did not even know how to ride one. Every morning, six days a week, he used to come to my gali, not to my home, from his house at Nai Sadak. Behind his not coming up to my place was the unmentioned contract between all of us, of avoiding talking to the friends’ parents as much as possible. We knew only trouble would come of it and I remember how my friends had created hell for me and vice versa, just because they broke that first commandment.
We used to go together to Chaubey Sir’s coaching centre for Maths tuition on his bicycle, double loading. We used to cross Shivala Crossing, Kiddy Convent School, Ratnakar Park and Shivala Post Office on our way. Looking at it from another vantage point, the coaching centre was very close to Shree Nishadraj ghat. One had to climb the steps of the ghat and walk for a minute only to reach there. Kha Chang, like all normal children of his age (the category of teenager was unheard of back then in our social circles of Kasi), liked bunking classes: both in school and in coaching. Bunking, and the time before and after the actual coaching hour provided us with ample time to roam around.
The ghats just before and after the ghat that opened to the gali that lead to the coaching centre are Panchkot and Jain. We used to play on the slope of Jain Ghat. Although I was afraid of heights, I did never let that out when we used to play on and around the slope. We also used to play at Panchganga Ghat, sliding on the railing and running around. There used to be this pre/post school game sessions around the coaching centre. the actual fun time used to be at school.
Kha Chang and I used to be together all the time in school. His opting for Maths and mine for Biology streams separated us after class ten. I could not take Maths, as I did not want to do it in higher classes. Although I had secured more than eighty in the board exam, who in our coaching centre had not? So, we went to different sections. I had Arnab from the old section with me in the new class, and he, all those from section B.
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