It is exactly 25 years to one of my most special memories of OG today. 25 years to a day that brings both a smile on my face, and a twinge of regret.
Ever since I joined OGBS as a Class VI student in 1984, I saw my house struggle in Inter-house Dramatics. At least from 1984 to 1989, Ashokians were nearly always Jhuggers, both in Hindi and English dramatics, which were competed for every alternate year.
It was no surprise then, that our house master didn’t show up for a single practice session when we were shaping up for the Hindi Dramatics in 1990. He also had no clue of the play we had chosen. Actually, it wasn’t a conventional classic. A couple of us had watched and re-watched the famous Pakistani slapstick production of ‘Bakra Qiston Pe’ at Ayub’s house (he was a day-scholar) and hashed the script into a shorter format that we called ‘Buddha Ghar Pe Hai’.
That year, it was decided that we have a pre-competition showing for the HMBS and the house-masters. I’m told the HMBS smirked at the end of Ashoka’s performance and said something to the effect of ‘we already know who’ll come last, it’s good their house master isn’t watching’
Anyway, rehearsals carried on, props, make-up and clothes arranged (we had two female characters to dress) from GS and Neeraj’s sister Sindhu (another day-scholar Oakgrovian). In the absence of staff supervision, Ashok Bagriya took up ‘direction’, and we decided to slow it down, even at the cost of over-shooting the 25 min limit, because at the original pace, we were too hurried to be legible.
Ashoka was the second house to perform in the auditorium on Sept 6, 1990. I remember being hugged by the group as the curtains closed on stage, and I remember the screams and claps in the crowd. The house master didn’t attend the play.
My most special memory is of having broken Ashoka’s Inter-House Dramatics jinx after 7 years, winning the competition with a fantastic bunch of friends, and finding myself on the Honour Board for Dramatic Talent. My twinge of regret is that I have not a single photograph of myself on the stage.
Remembering all of you today, my mates! Ayub Hussain, Ashok Bagriya, Dheeraj Sharma, Abhishek Chaturvedi, Sandeep Singh and Pramod Kumar (for averting a mid-performance mini-crisis backstage, recovering a key missing prop). I am told that Ashokians have kept the flag flying high for many a year since that day 🙂
– Puneet S. Monga (1991 Batch)
1990s Ashoka House Dramatics Puneet Monga