At the behest of HMBS

A tall, quiet, unassuming boy from Chittaranjan joined Oak Grove in July 1985. Pramod was the quintessential small town boy. He was simple at heart, shy, reserved, almost introverted. I distinctly remember, after his first meal in the dining hall, he was about to wash his hands in the plate, as he would have been accustomed to doing, before he was pointed to the wash basins. Oak Grove was a new way of life to him, and he took to it gradually.

When I think of Pramod, certain qualities of his come to mind instantly. I mostly remember how calm a person he was. Always dignified, seldom losing patience, hardly ever would you see him raise his voice or lose his cool. Be it with teachers, staff, seniors, classmates or juniors, Pramod was always calm and collected in his demeanour.

He sported an almost stoic expression, that would sometimes change to a smile, but I don’t remember him ever breaking into unbridled laughter. He was reserved with his emotions. I don’t remember him ever deriving any pleasure from teasing or pranking others, nor do I remember him reacting to pranks adversely on too many occasions.

Only sometimes, something would get to him. Even in his anger there was a certain calmness. He wouldn’t shout about or curse much. His ram-rod straight tall frame and large hands were menacing enough, when he needed them to be.

Pramod was a person of principles. He was honest to a fault, diligent, hard working and very disciplined. At Oak Grove, he promptly enrolled himself in NCC, probably because it came naturally to him, given his penchant for routine and discipline. Although now it seems like that time with NCC laid the foundation for his service to follow.

At Oak Grove, Pramod would meditate regularly. He absolutely loved Yoga. We used to call him Buddha for this reason. I would occasionally ask him where he’d find a place to meditate without disturbance, specially during our evening games time. He would just say he had his spots, but never divulged them to me. Of course, telling someone would be inviting the very disturbance he wanted to avoid.

Pramod was never the person who coveted limelight. He was happy doing his bit wherever he was asked to, with complete dependability. Solid. There for you when you needed him. Pramod always had your back.

When pushed to the forefront, he would lead by example. He would do more than he would delegate. He would work with his team rather than asking them to work for him. Guided by his unflinching morals and his willingness to put himself out there, he made for a leader that was one amongst his own, loved and respected for that.

I remember the Inter House Dramatics competition in 1990, when Pramod was the captain of Ashoka House. In the absence of the house master, Pramod attended every single practice session. And during the final performance, he saved us from a major faux pas by retrieving a key prop that we had left behind in the change room. As I said, he had us covered.

Above everything else, Pramod was a genuinely nice person. He was honest, gentle, modest, soft spoken and warm. Once he opened up to you, he considered you, looked out for you and protected you like family.

Ever since that first day at Oak Grove, that’s exactly what we have been.

It is surreal that I am recounting my memories of Pramod, referring to him in the past tense. I suspect, if he could, he would come to my dreams now, just to tell me, ‘Thank you Monga, par yaar ye thoda zyada keh diya tu ne.

I wish you do come to my dreams, Pramod. I would really like another conversation with you!

– Puneet S. Monga (1991 Batch) 


This content has been reproduced from a post created by Puneet S. Monga (1991) on the Oak Grove School, Mussoorie Facebook Page on August 24, 2016. A slightly elaborate version of this tribute was also published on The Quint on August 29, 2016.

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