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A True Story - The School Bus And Fort of Maharaja

The Maharaja ruled Faridkot before India became independent. This is a true story. Till the independence, the Maharaja was the ruler of Faridkot kingdom. The Maharaja was all powerful those days but got reduced to the rank of an army officer of the rank Colonel and that too honorary. The Maharaja was still being treated with respect. The Maharaja lived in the palace inside the compound which had the Java Plum trees lined up along its compound wall. But the Maharaja also had a huge fort just a few hundred meters away from this palace.

After school, our school bus would go back by a different route to the army cantonment. The route the school bus takes was a little tedious, narrow lanes lined up with vegetable vendors. This road is actually built around the huge fort of the Maharaja of Faridkot. The Maharaja's fort had some fifty foot walls which as a kid looking out of the school bus in the narrow road would look as if the walls were touching the sky. Very often there would be a road block due to other big vehicles coming the opposite way and we may have to stop over.

When the school bus stops in a clearing near the Maharaja's fort, we all would jump out of the schoo bus and start throwing stones up the fort to see who can send a stone over the fort wall. I often used to win the game as I was used to throwing stones at my home town at mango fruits for many years before my father was posted to Faridkot cantonment.

The Maharaja's fort was a great site I will never forget. The Maha Raja’s fort was so massive that the fort was actually the center of the Faridkot town. The entire local market of Faridkot town was situated inside this open part of the fort. One could buy anything in these local markets.

Today, the whole place has developed and modernized, but when this true story was unfolding in my life in 1976, over five decades back, it was not so. Our school bus would turn right after leaving the Maharaja's fort and continue its slow pace towards the army cantonment through the mustard fields usually all green and yellow on top when the mustard flowers. A four or five kilometers drive through these mustard fields on both sides of the road can calm down anyone.

A True Life Story


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