when I came into this materialistic world as first Son of Mr. Vishuddhanand Pandey and Mrs. Kunti Devi, at PATNA, Spent 3 years in PATNA till 1981 then moved to a village-Pakri (Jagatpur), P.O. Krishna garh (deoria), Arrah, Bhojpur, Bihar, approx. 70 K.M. from Patna.
Moving early to village where there was no electricity, hospital, post office, newspaper, TV, proper class room or other leisure of the life, has helped a lot in making what I am today. I still feel those days were really wonderful days despite all odds; it has many things which we do not have today.
Studied at government schools in Hindi medium, which were running on schedule on all working days. Teachers were dedicated and punctual and were ever ready to help students (read vidyarthi, not attendees). Guru Shishya sentiment prevailed both ways.
I could easily say that my schooling from class 5th to 8th has a great influence on my life. It was in class 5th where students from 7 villages (approx. 350-500) would be enrolled. All first 10 students including top-pers from all primary schools would compete for the glory of first position, which was a matter of pride for any village. So, each person will try hard to secure first position and hence earn pride for his/her own village. This fierce competition will continue till the 8th class, final stage for the Middle school before graduating to High school far from village.
This taught us competition and to excel in whatever fields we work. With god's grace and hard work, I feel satisfaction that I could secure pride for my village continuously.
The school had an excellent mechanism of school parliament, where the whole students would select the governing council /council of ministers every year, key ministries would be Culture, Sanitation and health, Finance and then prime minister. Ordinarily there was a progression in the position mentioned earlier. Persons working better at one position and if popular would get elevated to the next position next year. No bias, no caste, no religion, only criteria, perform and be popular, get the ministry. Thanks to the school. We were taught leadership, management of events and programs, planning, execution, problem solving and social bonding more while doing than in lectures.
I was lucky to have held all four positions, the last being the prime ministry in class 8. I still feel happy to see a building block for which I had been yajmana (devotee) at the foundation stone laying puja.
Yes everyone says that, nothing new, but it was new and motivating for me to hear from my senior Dev ji Mishra (champion in true spirit and 2 year senior to me). I was not able to solve a question as usual in maths, I approached him for guidance and expressed my dissatisfaction/inability to solve it. His word still I remember were "ganit (math) hamare tumhare jaise admi ne hi banaya hai, to aisa kuch bhi nahi, jo ham se na bane". True, splendid and I have learnt that there is always a solution to the man- made problems. Yes, as a human being we can do things at the pace of our imagination.
The village life has been full of testing conditions. You can be surrounded floods from ganges almost every year for months with no recourse to any nearby market except through one or two sailing boats. You will face king Cobras, scorpions, other types of snakes, everything quite often and have to deal with them either let them go or fight and survive. Earthen huts are to be repaired every pre and post monsoon to make it worth living. You become an artisan, a laborer and a skilled work force to earn your livelihood by labor if you so wish. After all this is but natural to do to survive. Enjoy full moon and full darkness with no electricity in all seasons. Study in kerosene lit lamps or Dhibris. Study in open air, sitting on the floors. Save yourself from rain by pulling jute sacks over your head. Feels very interesting now but that was normal then. All your fields after crops, orchids shall be your playground. Muds are integral part of your village life. So enjoy all leisure and sports connected to earth. Involve in Kusti, kabaddi, Chikka, long jump and high jump, barefooted football or lalita, Dolapati, kite flying, gullidanda or goli. Every season will have some funs (odd are also fun to deal with). When I look back at the conditions, it justifies why are the villagers have never die spirit. I have been lucky to have spent my childhood in village so that I could relate to the problems and villages more easily.
No one is alone in village, everyone has a social life and everyone is socially responsible. Marriage in any one's family would be an event for the village, by the village and every one would contribute to their own respective capacity. Someone will give cot(charpai), some other will house guests, some may provide their agricultural and vegetable produce, all will be a labour on the event. Eat together, celebrate together, even eating in pant (group eating) has rules and disciplines every one need to follow. Villagers are united on issues concerning whole village and will celebrate all festivals together. Only single place durga puja, saraswati puja or kanya puja or mela all happened through combined contribution and community involvement. I have seen almost 3 old persons with no family or financial support surviving and being taken care of by villagers very well till their last rituals with shared responsibility. No one could die for lack of family or support in my village then. This taught to lead life not in isolation but with the society with social responsibility and staying united on issues of common social concern.
Cultural Programs- only way of entertainment (as there was no TV till 1984, only 3 TVs in village till 1988)
Be it as school or village, only one way you could get recognition and entertainment both was to involve either in cultural activities or in Sports. Evening Ramayan Path at one place, musical evening on other place or drama at occasion of Durga Puja, Holi and chaita in holi and Chaitra, dances and folk music at occasion of the marriage or any auspicious occasion were the key features. So you cannot resist yourself from participating in these events whether as an organizing team member or participant. Thus it taught us team co-ordination, event management, stage participation and ability to face public.
After completing the middle school, our family moved to Patna again for the better education.