Monday, December 12, 2011

Those Black Trunks of Memories

Along with setting up of IIT Delhi and the first two IIMs, 1961 is also the year of setting of the first five Sainik Schools, another set of prestigious educational institutions in India. Sainik Schools were started specifically with the objectives of providing public school education to the lower strata of society and to act as a feeding ground for officer cadre of Indian Armed Forces. Along with RIMC and five Military Schools, Sainik Schools (usually one per state, 23 schools across India) prepare students for entry into National Defence Academy.

The first five Sainik Schools, including Sainik School Kapurthala, celebrate golden jubilee this year (2011).

About the Author
Sukhjit Singh, an alumnus of IIT Delhi, was born in a village named Kabirpur in Kapurthala, Punjab. He studied at Sainik School Kapurthala from 1992 to 1999. These seven years and a host of memories form the background of the book.

Habshi is home on vacation and finds his school trunk in the store room while looking around the newly built house. It has been a long time since he has opened it and today he has some time on hands. As the trunk is opened and he goes through the contents, he relives the memories of the seven years at Sainik School Kapurthala, Saikap.

The school building was the palace of the ruler of erstwhile Kapurthala state and the palace holds a special place in the hearts of all the students who walked the lanes of this world. As Habshi goes through the items in the trunk, the school routine, how the 600 of them lived 24x7 in close proximity, what they talked about, games they played and things they did come alive in his mind. There are memories of class fights and school fights, of various celebrations, and of teachers and friends. Friends, in particular, and also friendships of the young days that then seemed to be the ones that will last forever. As Habshi looks through the photographs from their annual tours and letters to some friends, he wonderswhere all of them are and how life has changed them.

A file in the trunk takes him back to the final year at school, when he was suspended multiple times, and to the events that lead Habshi to use some very hard words during his farewell speech at the school, the words that some teachers and most of his classmates will still remember, a good 12 years since Habshi passed out of Saikap.

The book is essentially a collection of memories, of adolescence as looked through longing eyes of a grown up. And there is this uncertain way these memories tumble out of the trunk that Habshi has just opened.

ISBN: 978-93-81576-98-4

Publisher: Wordizen Books - An imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd

The book is available for online purchase at some websites and will be available at few more websites in coming days:
Flipkart ( – the book is available on flipkart from 23rd Dec 11. (

ebay ( – the book is available on ebay from 24th Dec 11. ( )

Will be available on Indiaplaza ( and Amazon ( within next week.
The book will be available in bookshops within India in about 6-8 weeks.

Info available at other links:

Publisher’s website: and

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

No Man is an Island

The door is closed to keep the sounds of the world (a sleeping world at this time) out. The windows are shut to keep the bugs and mosquitos (all fully awake at this time) out. The curtains are drawn (to keep ‘them’ eyes from looking (these are looking all the time, despite the time it may be). The walls meet each other at the perfect angles the engineer designed these for. The roof is white compared to the creamish color of the walls. The floor is the shining light-cream ceramic tiles. Shining but silent. Imported but now converted. The tubelight illuminates (despite the thoughts that are flowing) what otherwise will be a dark room. The mirror on the right side of the wall, right as the man sits on the bed with back to the wall which faces the wall with the tubelight, reflects the pyjamas and trousers hanging on the hangers nailed to the door. There is a phone on the night table next to the bed. This phone is his connection. With ‘them’ all. Nothing breathes, except the person who types (and the fan that obeys the switch). Nothing lives except the short lived thoughts. He has been on this island for a long time now. He has been this island for a long time.

And then the phone rings… ‘them’ attachments are calling…


Sukhdev Singh is milking a buffalo when I call him. We are speaking after a long gap. His voice carries the same cheerful energy I remember....