26 Feb 2018

#341 From my uncle's ink

From my uncle’s ink
Image result for ink

Sometimes I get surprised by my act of framing sentences as per the need of the context.  Needless to say, this quality of writing which has evolved over the time for me, is a consequence of inheritance. Yes, I can proudly claim that I inherit the writing abilities from many of my family members from paternal and maternal side. The article written below is the testimony of each and every word written above. 

Here, I’m presenting a piece of non-fictional write-up based on the experience of my maternal uncle, Er.Debabrata Sarangi, who’s currently working as Assistant Executive Engineer in the department of urban development under Puri Municipality , Government of Odisha. This piece has originally written in Odia and it’s my humble attempt to translate the entire article in English by keeping intact the emotions and feelings associated with it.

The reason behind translating this piece is to make it accessible to non-Odia readers. When my uncle sent me this handwritten article in Whatsapp, I was so amazed by his writing style that I decided to translate it at that point of time itself.

Here it goes:

Greetings to my school
Image result for Puri Zilla School
Puri Zilla School , Image source:Google Images
Zilla School of Puri not only earned legend like Gopabandhu as student but also received five gems of Satya-ridden-age such as Acharya Harihar, Pandit Neelkantha, Godabarish and Kripasindhu. Madhusudan who is also regarded as Bhaktakavi has also been a product of this school. Once upon a time, Radhanatha Rao and Madhusudan Rao played the roles of teacher and student respectively. In next phase, Madhusudan Rao got appointed as third temporary teacher but before he could lend his contribution to this school, he got transferred to Cuttack and another Bengali man got appointed by then-Inspector Martin Sir to contribute.

In my childhood, while I was half paddling my father’s old cycle of Raleigh’s, I was attracted by two red coloured buildings of the city.  Out of those red coloured buildings, one was situated in front of the P.W.D office and the other one was that of Chandrasekhar College. My father always warned me not to paddle cycle alone in those areas which encompassed those red coloured buildings because one of those red coloured buildings was haunted whereas the other one was that of Zilla School , Puri. In reality, the so-called haunted house was that of telephone exchange and old Zilla School was held in the Puri college. From that day, the word Zilla School had subconsciously occupied my mind.   

After the completion of primary education in Police Line School, my father made my admission to Zilla School in the year 1976. I still remember how he indicated it to the factory of creating learned human beings. My father also enumerated the names of many students of that school who were renowned in different fields. I’m unable to recall all names that he said but all I can faintly remember are the names of Utkalamani, Acharya Harihar,Pandit Neelkantha, Godabarish, Kripasindhu,Kabibara,Proffesor Rajurao, then-chief secretary of the state Sudhanshu Bhushan Mishra; my heartfelt greetings to all of them.

This school was established in 1853 and was regarded as the best school of the state. Its location was close to railway station because of which it became the centre of attraction for common man as well as visitors. The school used to be officially made off during general election and its gigantic playground would turn out to be a place for conducting various activities associated with polling under the vast stretch of tent. We felt proud and happy by witnessing our school to be the host of such important activities. During Rath Yatra festival, the classrooms would turn out to be shelters for the police personnel who were assigned duties for smooth and peaceful conduct of activities. Seeing police personnel at a close proximity drove away feeling of aversion that once existed in our minds for them.

Many legends have spent their precious days of childhood in the premise of this school and teachers would always inspire the students to become administrators, professors, doctors and Engineers. My father was working as an Engineer in the department of government then and he had a wish that his son should at least be an Engineer. I started nurturing my endless dreams in the background of my teacher’s discipline, my father’s strictness and my mother’s selfless care. My mother had numerous expectations from me; she wanted her son to be an Engineer like his father and every person of Puri would respect him and would often say, “Like father like son”, his son would serve Lord Jagannatha by staying at Puri as his duty. No matter how much educated one becomes, how much renowned he grows to be, nothing can act as a greater fortune than serving his own homeland, Puri ,father took over the charges of water supply to construction of the road ; so would his son do, when he rode Raleigh cycle ,my son would ride car. Same thing happened. My mother’s dreams were converted to reality by me by the virtues that she implanted in me. It has been 1year and 8 months since my mother has left for heavenly abode, perhaps she saw ‘today’ as yesterday’s bright future.

I joined Puri Municipality as an Engineer in 1994. Wishes of my parents got fulfilled.  It was a government job and transferred posting was one of its parts. After working 12 years in Puri, I got promoted and transferred to Baripada , this saddened my mother. She, after wiping out her tears in her Saree, said, “The Jagannatha Temple of Baripada is also very old. The Ratha Yatra of that place is the second in our state. Lord Jagannatha has sent you there to implement your experience of Puri’s culture of working there.” I worked there successfully for 4 years and now have got transferred to Municipality of Bhubaneswar; the city of temples, capital of the state. My mother got overwhelmed by hearing this news (even when she didn’t understand the notion of Bhubaneswar being regarded as Smart City) because according to her, her son was on his path to success. I worked there for 3 years after which I got transferred to Puri again. This time, my mother’s happiness knew no bounds. She said cheerfully that the recent episode of transfer was the result of Lord Jagannath’s attraction.

She prayed God for her departure and sought his blessings for me. 8th Apr,2016 she left for a place never to return again. She returned back to the place from where she had emerged by leaving us many miles away. My father’s guidance and mother’s blessings became the sources of inspiration for me to serve my motherland. The happiness of helping friends, acquaintances and teachers is simply inexplicable. All these reasons sometimes compel me to think about the divine plan of Lord Jagannatha for providing me an opportunity to work for the betterment of the society as an Engineer.

The initiation of my journey certainly started with that legends-making-factory. Teachers like Ramachandra Panda, Brundaban Mishra, Debendra Mahapatra, Bholanath Dash, Bamana Charan Sahu, Harihara Samantarai, Prafulla Pattanaik, Sudhakar Mahapatra, Ramesh Chandra Mahapatra, Joginath Mohanty, Mrs. Shantilata Mohanty,Brajakishore Nayak,Prahalad Shatapathy, Jagannath Mishra and Dibakar Mishra used to get self satisfaction by manufacturing legends in that factory. Not only I but also my siblings and two nieces, in total 9 studied at Zilla School, Puri from class 6th to 11th. My niece, Sonali Mohapatra made us proud by securing 8th position in class 10th boards in state of Odisha. I doubt if number of members of a family as much as 9 in number have ever studied in same school! There’s not a single family in Puri who has not been acquainted with our identities. Someone or the other in every family has studied with any one of us. That legend-making-factory was certainly a unique one. Be it the teaching of language, yoga, drama or sport; every component of it was connected to each other through a chain of discipline. The success of this school has become possible because of the combined efforts of the makers; teachers and its stars; students. I feel proud to have got an opportunity to serve this divine place and the legend-making-factory.

Salutation to my Alma Mater!

Translated by
Swati Sarangi


  1. Your first attempt at translation went out well. A nice post on someone's alma mater.

  2. You did an excellent job at the translation... So much history and so many stories must be held within the walls of the school.

  3. Amazed to read this one and felt like drawn towards to Puri for time being.

    Good job!!

  4. What a lovely indepth post on an alma mater. I am a first timer here and would surely be a regular now.

    1. Great to hear from you! Welcome to Creative Constellation. Nothing means more than the appreciation from readers to me.. Have a nice day! :)

  5. good one.. and regards to your maternal uncle.. giving a glimpse of the times he went through and a lovely school :)


    1. Welcome back to my blog.. It feels great to find your comment after a long time. Sure, I will convey your regard to my uncle. :)

  6. Interesting story about this school in Odisha. Schools bring in fond memories. After reading your article I was reminded of many of my classmates and inspiring teacher of my school days in Upendra Bhanja High School of Bhanjanagar.

    1. Great to know that this post could revive old memories of your school days. Thanks for dropping by.