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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Friday, February 26, 2016

All Because Of Bullying At College!

One of the sweetest memories from my school days in pre-partition Lahore relates to my brother Yog, who having won the Best Boy Scout award, remained my role model during all the years we were together in the same school. Four years senior to me, he was so caring that after every period he would come to my class to enquire if I was doing fine. I missed him very much when he moved to the senior school, which was in a separate building some blocks away. He still managed to see me every Saturday during the combined scouts meets of the junior and senior schools after making me enroll as a Boy Scout too. I could not enjoy his company and caring nature when I came to the senior school as he graduated from the school the same year I entered the senior school.

The Government College, Lahore, which Yog joined after schooling was the most prestigious educational institute in the entire province of Punjab. In order to get admission in the college, a student had to have very high marks in the matriculation exam, which Yog did not get. But he got in because of being the Best Boy Scout in the school and the top debater in the district. Students from affluent families, particularly from the rich peasantry of Punjab, made it a prestige issue to make it to the Government College, and most did succeed, not so much on account of their merit as because of money power of their parents to bribe the Board members. And it was this class of students who would bring a bad name to the college by their dubious activities. Their modus operandi was to select some soft targets among fresh students to bully them till they became willing victims of their abuse. Yog was one such target they tried to hit, but with his scouting background he kept them at bay as bravely as he could. And when he knew he no longer had the stemina and the strength to bear their day-to-day bullying, he decided to disappear from the scene, rather than succumbing to their abuse. Perhaps, in order to avoid their pursuing him to our house which was in the vicinity of the college, he did not return home after leaving the college one day. No one in the family or amongst his friends had any clue where he could have vanished. We were extremely worried, all the more because of increasing incidents of kidnapping of good-looking boys, believed to be for abuse by by bad elements that had come to the city from tribal areas of the North West of Punjab. So far all the kidnapped boys were later let off, but Yog did not return home even though several days had passed since his sudden disappearance. My mother's fasting and non-stop prayers at last bore fruit when we received a letter from our cousin residing in Delhi, informing that Yog was fine and safe and was staying with him. He also explained at length the bullying by senior college boys that forced Yog to leave Lahore. My cousin further informed us that he would like Yog to stay on with him and help him at the coaching institute he was running in Delhi. Yog's sudden departure from Lahore and decision to stay on in Delhi was my biggest loss at that point of time which depressed me deeply and I took a while to come out of it.......all because of bullying at college.


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