Day of Rain : The Day of Tributes
studied in the St. Xavier’s Boys’ Academy in Mumbai. It is a small and
friendly school where both he and Sonam had studied. Being only ‘Boys’
Academy there is always a vibrancy that a ‘boys only’ school has! The school is run by Jesuits
Christian fathers from many years and they are a great
educationalist. Nawang studied here for 6 years (1986-1992) (earlier he
was in the New Era School where his father had studied).
As a past student he was of course well-known to all the teachers and
some of the present students also knew him.
morning of 9th July, when the function was to be held started with heavy rains.
Such heavy rains are a specialty of the Mumbai Monsoon and if it continues for
long, entire Mumbai goes on an impromptu holiday. Of course schools are closed !
So we were wondering how we all will gather. But gather we did and the hall was
full with friends and students.
Deepak remarked at the beginning, ”I am certain, in such rains Nawang would
not have come to school”
school had organised the function starting at about 8 a.m. After lighting a
traditional lamp at Nawang’s photo, students paid warm tributes by reading out
passages and poems. First speaker
was Mr. Singh, or “Singh Sir” as he was known to Nawang. He spoke in Hindi
with great affection. Nawang was his favourite student. From the early days in
school Nawang used to discuss with him about possibilities of joining the army
and Mr. Singh encouraged him. After his ‘Passing
Out Parade” Nawang had visited school
and spent almost a day with Mr. Singh and other teachers. Mr. Singh, who hails
from Varanasi had visited 39 Gorkha Training Centre to meet Nawang on 10th
November 2000. Next day, on the
11th Nawang died in action. He remembered a Hindi poem before ending his
so it went on. One after the other, teachers and students
paid tributes and remembered
incidences and events associated with Nawang. Sonam was deeply touched and was
almost in tears when he read his tributes (Sonam's
speech) ending with a quote from T. E. Lawrence. Deepak, his childhood
friend spoke from the heart. What he said was relevant. He said “Nawang was an
ordinary person. But what he did was extraordinary and it only goes to show that
we all can contribute to life and Nation if we care. Most normal and
worldly persons amongst us can be a hero”.
Mr. D’mello, a teacher at the school ended with warm tributes and mentioned
events from his association with Nawang. It
was still raining heavily outside and one can also feel wetness in every
eye in the hall too. Teachers, school and students had hoped that Nawang, as an
army officer would be
present at their various functions like “Sport’s Day”
to bring glory to the school. But now instead they had gathered to pay a
tribute to their glorious son.
sooner the function was over children surrounded some of the officers and many
questions were asked. Some were simple queries to know why they wear a
specific badge, some wanted to know about life in the army, how to join,
what was their training like and where they were posted. Mumbai student have
less opportunity to meet the Army officers and their
curiosity knew no bounds.
Lt. Abhishek was crowded with children and spent almost an hour
replying to their queries.
all were not ‘general’ queries
only. We received an e-mail from a past student who stated emphatically that he
would advice that everyone should join economic activities only to make India
progress. There is no need to be in “risky”
areas like joining the army. Of
course not everyone has to join the
army but he was reminded that without the borders being defended by them there
will be no economic activity at all ! Both the activities, like most activities
in a Nation, are interdependent and one cannot be taken in isolation without the
was aim of this gathering that 9th July 2001; to raise questions, start
discussions and pay a tribute to a glorious student of the school, Lt. Nawang
Kapadia. And the event succeeded in doing that
in a large measure, just like the heavy rain that day.
Click on the pictures to see an enlargement