Not many people would know them,but there were 2 guys in our class who could give Enrico a run for his lire.Their names were Prabhupada Mishra and Mrutyunjay Praharaj.They were the original “rowdies”.Called PPM and MP respectively,they tormented the teachers with amazing easiness.And these two heroes were from ? You guessed it,Orissa.They carried on the legacy that Oriya guys were either extremely talented or chronic pains in the ass.Or both.On the first day of school,PPM was feeling homesick,so where does he choose to cry his heart out ? He climbed on top of the shelves,on top of the suitcases,sat there and started crying.The class teacher’s heart nearly skipped a beat when she saw him there.The entire class was still adjusting to the new school and this guy was already scaling new heights.Quite literally.PPM was also a natural leader.Maybe it was because while we were always lost,he was always sure about what he did (Though it mostly ended with him getting his butt spanked).MP followed what PPM did and the two were inseparable.Except when they were punished.,The teachers always ensured that they were kept apart.Otherwise they would start playing some game or the other !!PPM organised a lot of games. I was quite a loser then.Since,I was scared to get on to the elephant slide or the giant wheel ,I joined PPM and MP to play more gentle,and “culture-centric” games that he organised,like Ramayan,and Mahabharat.And the beautiful part was that PPM never stole the limelight.While allotting roles,he made us either Hanuman,or Ram,Lakshman ( depending on our looks,may be,cos I dont remember being Ram,ever !!).He on the other hand,was quite happy being a humble monkey in the army and orchestrating the show.
So Ravan would be waiting with his sidekick (he dint have the resources for an entire army )behind the elephant slide and our group of monkeys would charge at them ,holding sticks and shouting “Jai Sri Ram”.And when Ravan would be lying on the ground dead (the poor guy always got thrashed for dirtying his shirt later !) ,we guys danced in joy.Beautiful days !The strong,macho guys would laugh at us while sliding down the slide but we we had the last laugh,vanquishing an evil emperor and ridding the world o evil.Unlike Enrico,PPM wasn’t a loner.He got along fabulously with everyone.Even the ‘good’ guy could not help laughing at his jokes.This made him very popular.
MP on the other hand was a pocket sized powerhouse.Sadly,all his power was channelised towards some destruction or the other.He was always fidgety and couldn’t sit still for 2 minutes at a stretch.Anatalakshmi mam used to say that he was like a cockroach out in a bowl of hot water !!When we were in class 1,Bhavani mam was our class teacher (A sec)the both of us were troubling aruna mam a lot in the class.she told Bhavani mam.so Bhavani mam took the two of us and locked us in the cupboard.not locked exactly,she made us stand in it and tied it all up.all the other guys had gone for bhajans and only the two of us wer there.Were we scared?huh.we had a ball !! We took scissors from the cupboard,cut off the ropes.ate all the Chyavanprash(mohanty used to bring that)and calcium tablets(vinodini,shweta).We played with crazy balls.Finally,when bhajans were over,bhavani mam asked us how we came out.i kept shut.my smart alec friend said,”mam,there was a huge rat that came and cut all the ropes!!! It was going to bite us.we said,”don’t bite us,take all the chyavanprash u want”.i thought this guy’s screwed,man.but bhavani mam was rollin with laughter!!! It helped that Bhavani mam knew Oriya because that guy’s English was Subhaan Allah !!
We used to travel together to home during holidays in “orissa group” ,that comprised of students from class 1 to PG.we occupied nearly 2 entire bogies.So,after returning from the holidays of class 3,while our luggages were being checked,these 2 guys were called aside.When we later came for lunch,they were still standing there.When we asked them what was wrong,PPM smiled and said “Nothing,you ba.Aunty wants to talk to us”That was the last time i saw them.They were given the dreaded “TC”.I have never heard from them since but the mention of the word “ramayan’ brings back memories of me running under the scorching sun,carrying a stick in my hand and shouting,”JAI SRI RAM !!!!”