Read "Like It Happened Yesterday" by Ravinder Singh available from Rakuten Kobo. Choose your country's store to see books available for download. I recommend to the peoples to read this novel and I hope you all will love it. --Dev Singh Jul 24, Like it happened yesterday is an amazing journey to. Ravinder Singh is the bestselling author of I Too Had a Love Story, Can Love Happen Twice?, Like It Happened Yesterday and Your Dreams Are Mine Now.
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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Ravinder Singh is the bestselling author of I Too Had a Like It Happened Yesterday is his third book. After having spent most of his life in Burla, a very small town in western Orissa, Ravinder is currently based in New. When I opened my eyes, it seems Like it Happened Yesterday! Like it was yesterday that Penguin Books Limited, Jun 15, - Political Science - pages. To ask other readers questions about Like It Happened Yesterday, please sign up. Popular Answered .. downloadd the ebook in But had a . "Like it happened yesterday" is a book on Ravinder Singh's complete childhood. From his.
Seated at the Penguin Store in Kochi, with the backwaters for a backdrop, Ravinder says his magical journey began, though, with a tragedy. In , his love Khushi, was killed in a midnight road accident. The pain of that incident grew into his first book.
Writing it gave me the closure I was looking for. I also wanted to share my story with others. My biggest wish was for a red and green raincoat and if I wanted to tell my friends anything, I would cycle across to their houses as we had no mobile phones. My first crush was on a school teacher and my greatest dream was to own an LML Vespa scooter.
Those were days when saving Rs. Like It Happened Yesterday, therefore, dwells upon this nostalgia for his childhood. The best years The book was born at his graduation from business school where friends asked him what the best years of his life were.
In the grip of my front teeth was the corner of his kurta. I was ready to tear it apart but not let it go. But Dad didnt stop. Instead, he began to walk faster so that he could escape my hold. But the fear of not being able to survive without my family made me cling stronger to him. The louder I cried, the heavier I pantedI had succeeded in creating a scene in front of everyone. And I was absolutely not ashamed of it at all! It happensthis shameless display of emotions, when you realize your worst fears are about to come true.
At that time, I was merely a child. I have seen grown-ups creating a scene too, when faced with their worst fears. Well, I kept holding on to my father with all my strength, so much so that, when he dragged his leg ahead, my little body got dragged along with him. Nahi, Daddy please mainu chadd ke nai jao please, Daddy, [No, Daddy please dont leave me alone please, Daddy] I wailed loudly in Punjabi.
But it seemed to have quite the opposite effect on him. Being older and stronger, he scolded me in his loud, angry voice and stretched out his palm as if he was going to give me a slap. Then he yanked away my little arms to release himself and handed me back to the teachers, who were more cautious this time about holding me.
I saw my father walk away from the classroom. I couldnt do anything. At that very moment, I hated him. And now that I hated my father, I loved my mother much more than I ever did. So I started missing her. I was left sobbing in the class. The sound of my crying lasted as long as it could. When all my energy had been drained, I became quiet and went to sit in one of the corners of the classroom. I was still scared, but it had been more than an hour, and I suppose I was getting a little used to the environment around me.
I also realized that it wasnt just me who was crying. There were plenty of others. And, just like me, they were all in the navy-blue-and-white uniforms. I wondered how come all their parents had ended up choosing the same clothes as my parents had chosen for me.
A girl in the far corner was still crying. She had more energy to sustain her agitation than I did. She was also louder than me. Sitting alone there, I thought to myselfWhat would I do without my family? I believed that Dad had left me at that place forever.
I remembered my mother. I remembered her love for me. I wanted to run into her lap and complain to her about Dad for what he had done to me, that too in front of strangers! But I didnt even know the way to my home. I wondered if Mom was missing me. Thinking of her my eyes became moist again, not that they had dried out completely. But, this time, I cried quietly.
I was much too exhausted to shout any more. Suddenly, one of the two teachers approached me. She raised my chin with her hand and asked, Kya hua, Ravinder? Kyun ro rahe ho? Why are you crying? The teacher wiped my wet, dirty face with the handkerchief that my mother had pinned on to my shirt. She sighed and smiled. Then she promised me that she would take me to my mother. I looked into her eyes.
She appeared to be telling the truth, or maybe I didnt have any other choice but to believe her. Lekin tumhe meri baat maanni padegi, [Yes. But for that you will have to listen to what I say] she offered. And soon I was game for all that she wanted me to do. I sat where she asked me to sit. I played the games she wanted me to play with the other kids in the class. There were lots of toys and balloons around me, and lots of kids playing with them.
In a short while, I had made new friends. I still didnt know their names, but I was happy. Each one of us, for whom that day marked the first day of school life, had his or her own level of insecurity about each other. But it took only a short while for us to shed our inhibitions. Human nature is strange. Just because we all had a common thing to be afraid of, we turned into friends. In that new and unfamiliar environment, the only support was seeing people who were just like meand that made things a little comfortable.
In my mind then, I was happy to think that at the end of all this, I would meet my mother and all would be fine. I would tell her about the cruelty of my father and she would never let me go again!
Two years passed by in understanding what a school was all about. By the time I got into Class I, I had finally accepted that there was no escaping school. I had a fair idea of what my life was going to look like for the next twelve years, or even more if I failed midway. My friends from the class, too, didnt have any idea about what else to do with their lives; so they accepted what their parents asked them to do.
I thought it was safe to follow everyone. And, so, I accepted going to school. But now that I had accepted going to school, my parents upgraded their level of expectations. Study well. You have to come first! When I nodded my head to that demand at that time, I never realized that I had stepped on the starting line of what later was going to become a rat race.
Happiness in Little Things Our family lived in Burla, a very small, peaceful town situated beside the river Mahanadi in the western part of the state of Orissa. Hirakud Dam, once known as the worlds longest dam, was just four kilometres from the place where I lived. Because of its importance, Hirakud Dam had become a landmark for Burlaa dam which the little, sleepy town was very proud of. If you ever happen to be in Burla, you will see this 4.
On either side of the dam, in both towns, there are two tall constructions, which serve as lighthouses.
The one in Burla is called Jawahar Minar, named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who, people say, came to visit the site while the dam was being built. From the top of the Jawahar Minar, the view of the dam is breathtaking. The length of the dam holds back the huge water reserve of the river Mahanadi on the left, releasing it partially through the canals, from which the water passes through the gates on the right and flows further east, right through the Burla town.
Giant pulleys along the length of the dam and a high-voltage electricity plant fill the scene in the east. In the south-west, there is a scattering of green islands rising out of the water. Looking in this direction, it appears as if there is no end to the waterit is hard to make out the line on the horizon, miles away, where the water meets the sky.
The sound of the running turbine is the loudest noise one can hear. One can see the whirlpool of churning water as it drops down the open gates and goes ahead to rotate the turbine. On the east of this, stands my beautiful town Burla. Back in my childhood days, everything about Burla was small. Anyone who owned a Maruti was considered extremely rich. For what it was worth, only a handful of people were privileged enough to have this car in their garage. The town was so small that one could easily travel from one corner of it to another in less than half an hour, that too on a bicycle.
In spite of being tiny, Burla was pretty self-sufficient. We had just one market to shop from, which primarily was divided into two sub-markets.
People used to call one the Kaccha Market and other the Pakka Market. There wasnt any difference in the infrastructures of these two markets, which could have been the reason why they were separated by names. The only difference was that the Kaccha Market was primarily a place to download vegetables; while, just one hundred metres ahead, the Pakka Market was made up of a range of kiraana, grocery stores and clothes stores.
Come Sunday and the Kaccha Market would turn into the most populated area of the entire town. A number of small trucks and jeeps would bring in fresh vegetables in the morning, and everyone, including my father, would go to the Kaccha Market to download them.
But if someone had to download anything big, like a home appliance or furniture, he had to travel to Sambalpur, the nearest city, because a wide variety of such things was usually not available in Burla. The town was also treated as the knowledge hub of Orissa. Apart from the engineering and medical institutes, we also had a branch of Sambalpur University. As far as the primary and secondary education was concerned, there were three different schools, each of them affiliated to a different language mediumHindi, Oriya and English.
My parents had admitted me to the English-medium school. Burla was a secular town and had religious institutions for all the religions. Temples of Hindu gods, including Lord Ram, Lord Jagannath and Lord Krishna, provided the religious platform for the majority of the people.
Every day a lot of devotees would visit these temples to pay homage to their deities. The biggest temple in the town was of Lord Krishna. It was well known as the Krishna Mandir, though it had idols of other gods and goddesses as well inside it. The yearly Janmashtami celebrations were held with great enthusiasm at the temple. Apart from the Hindu temples, there was a mosque at the Kaccha Market, a church near the road to Hirakud dam and a gurdwara right at the geographical heart of the town.
And this was where I lived with my family. My father worked in the gurdwara as a priest and our house was located within the gurdwaras complex. We were a family of fourmy mother, my father, my younger brother and I. The entire complex was a vast rectangle, with the central portion of it taken up by the gurdwara building, surrounded by an open courtyard on three sides.
Beyond the courtyard on both sides, a series of seven living quarters marked the boundary of the area. These quarters were owned by the gurdwara management, and the rent from them was one of the sources of revenue for the gurdwara.
To the front of the complex was the gateway to enter, and on the right corner was our house. Of course, it wasnt a house we owned, but a service house offered to my father because of his job at the gurdwara. It wasnt a well-planned house, but a good enough arrangement of brick and mortar, divided into four rooms. If you saw it, you would know what I mean when I say that it was barely meant to provide shelter. At the entrance itself was the kitchen; but because of the three chairs placed against one of the walls, it also served as a sitting room when the women from our neighbourhood occasionally turned up for a leisurely chat with my mother.
The arrangement worked well for Mom, as she could cook while chatting with her friends. Our second room was where we used to spend most of our time, and so, technically, we called it the living room. This room, every night after 9, turned into our bedroom.
It had shutters as well, which we would pull down at night and pull up again in the morning. It had slots for storing twelve channels, though there was only Doordarshan that all the antennas in Burla could tune toso the rest of the channel slots were just a wastage of TV memory.
Ever since the TV was brought into that room, we had started spending most of our time in there. I remember Dad watching the Hindi broadcast of Doordarshan news at 9 p. On one side of this room was a wooden cot which had an in-between kind of size. Its width was more than that of a single bed, but less than that of a double bed.
A wooden dressing table and a multipurpose wooden table occupied the rest of the room. The table was primarily a study table, but we also used it as a dining table for all our meals.
Mom even used to iron our clothes on it late in the afternoon. When I look back, I see how we needed only a few things to keep ourselves happy. Apart from the bed and the table, our living room had a lot of free space. A three-feet-tall and five-feet-wide trunk served as the storage for all our requirements, for the winter and otherwiseblankets, mattresses, bed sheets, cushions and a lot of winter clothes like sweaters and things that we needed to use after long intervals.
On the other side of the room, there was a closet with a glass door, full of religious books that my father used to read. My brother and I used the remaining space in that room to dance, fight and do all sorts of crazy things. The last room was not quite a room, but actually functioned as a store. It was full of wooden logs to support the intermittent construction of the gurdwara building. Against one wall, there was a wooden rack holding large containers of rice, pickles and flour that Dad would have managed to get dirt cheap as part of a bulk download.
A rope ran from one corner of the room to another. This was used to hang out clothes after Mom would have ironed them, for we didnt have an almirah to keep our clothes in. Our house was tiny, simple and yet complex in its arrangement. We loved to live there primarily because of the vast courtyard outside, where my brother and I used to play. No one in the entire Burla enjoyed as big a playground as we used to. It was quite common in many families to do so.
While my parents named me Ravinder, they named my brother Jitender. But the usage of these names was only limited to our school. At home, and, for that matter, in the rest of the town, we were known by our shorter names.
Like It Happened Yesterday - Singh Ravinder
I was called Rinku and my brother was called Tinkurhyming pet names as well! Tinku was two years younger to me, and, by the time he was getting admitted to nursery, I was getting into Class I in the same school. One of our oldest picturesin which we are together for the very first timegoes back to this time. It shows us perched on a two-seater red tricycle at a photo studio. A day I can still clearly recall It was a Sunday and Mom had got us ready by the noon.
She made us wear the new clothes she had bought only a day before. The two of us looked nice. We had first looked appreciatively at each other and then stared at our own selves in the mirror. As soon as we were about to leave, Mom applied some talcum powder on our faces with her handkerchief.
I guess that was the make-up sure to make us look fairer! After that, we proudly climbed on to Dads bicycle. In no time, we were at a photography store in the Kaccha Market. We had been all excited knowing the fact that someone was going to take our pictures with a camera! It made us feel special, and, on top of it, our new clothes made us feel extraspecial. At the photographers studio, Dad shook hands with the studio owner and exchanged a few words. All this while, Tinku and I were helping each other to tuck our T-shirts in and rearranging the creases of our half-pants.
When Dad called, we both ran inside the studio with him. We looked around wide-eyed. For us little boys, it was an amazingly beautiful place, full of the possibilities of all sorts of adventure. Till then, wed only seen a studio from outside, and this one offered so many things to explore! There were big stands with white umbrellas on them inclined at different angles.
While the corners of the rooms were dark, the centre was fully illuminated with the light reflecting off those umbrellas. There was a lot of light in that space, much more than we would have seen at our home. My brother and I ran around in the studio and explored everything. There were wires running here and there on the ground. The wall in front of us had a number of background options. They were a sort of curtains. We pulled out a few to see how they looked, and then pulled out a few more.
There was a dressing table with a mirror in one corner, along with a small plastic comb that had a few missing teeth, some talcum powder and a few lipsticks. All those items smelled bad, so I kept them back as soon as I lifted them.
There was a huge carton in another corner of the room. It was way above our height, so we could not find out what was in there. At that time we didnt know that the box contained something that would change our lives forever! Soon, the door opened and someone walked in. He said hello to us. There was a camera hanging from his neck. He was our cameraman. He was paying us so much attention because we were special for him.
And, sure enough, he told us that he had got something for us.
While we wondered what he was talking about, he walked towards the big carton at the other end of the room and pulled out a red kids tricycle for us. Oh, wow! Tinku shouted. Then, as soon as the cameraman placed the tricycle at the centre of the room, he ran to grab his seat on it. I too ran after Tinku. We were about to enter into a scuffle when the cameraman intervened and shifted Tinku to the back seat. I loved the cameraman when he did so!
Tinku protested, but the cameraman told him that the one who would sit on the back seat would look better in the photo. I silently thanked the cameraman for being secretly on my side. So my brother took the rear seat without protest, while I sat in front and jammed my feet into the pedals. Somehow, the front seat with the handle in my hands made me feel more powerful and special!
Sitting on that tricycle, with the umbrella lights focused on us, we were the centre of attention for the cameraman and our father. We took a considerable amount of time to settle down well. It wasnt easy to stay put in one spot, or to hold a pose. But the cameraman was an expert. He kept on guiding us and then suddenly he said, Smile karo baccha log, and we did, and he clicked us. But our smiles did not last long.
They vanished as soon as we realized that this place wasnt a toy shop selling that cute red tricycle to us. It was only a photo studio, and that tricycle was a prop belonging to the studio owner. We never wanted to get up from that tricycle. We wanted to pedal it down to our home. Daddy, asi eh chalaa ke ghar javaange na? Dad laughed along with the cameraman and explained to us, while pulling us out, that it wasnt our tricycle to take home.
As soon as Tinku heard this, he gripped the front seat and almost dug his feet into the ground, retaliating at Dads attempt to pull him out. While Id understood the truth and got off, my brother was screaming and shouting. Dad tried to scare him with his big eyes and also raised his forefinger to his lips and said, Shhhhh It was a warning for him to stop shouting and behave himself.
And thankfully, in no time, his melodrama was over. I held Tinkus hand in mine as the two of us followed Dad out of the room. The red tricycle remained in the centre of the room, alone, surrounded by the focused umbrella lights. It was heartbreaking to leave that beautiful toy there. But I will never forget my younger brothers eyes in those last moments, when Dad was making the payment at the counter on the other side of the room.
As the two of us stood next to Dad, another family with two kids entered the studio. The same cameraman led them to the same tricycle. The kids joyfully ran towards it and climbed up the seats of the tricycle, which was only a few moments back Rinku and Tinkus tricycleour tricycle. The parents lovingly adjusted the positions of their kids on the tricycle.
It was as if, right in front of our eyes, those kids were celebrating their victory. My brother stood calmly and watched everything without blinking. I watched that family, and then turned to look at my brother.
I felt protective of him. It hurt me that he had wanted something so much, and yet he couldnt have it. Soon Dad was through with the payment and asked us to follow him back home. I remember saying those final words to my brother as I continued to hold his hand, Ae taa chhoti tricycle hai. Asi taa vaddi cycle lavaange! We will download a bigger one! With that, I tightened my grip over his hand and we walked out of the studio.
Heads, I will stay back. Tails, you will, he suggests. The sound of gunfire and the boulders behind which they are hiding, in the hills, fill in the entire scene. He tosses the coin.
Its heads. Jai shows the coin on his palm to Veeru, and asks him to immediately leave along with Basanti, and come back with four cartons of ammunition.
Soon, he is all by himself, fighting the bandits on the plateau. I believe he will make it. I believe he will kill everyonethe way he has done so far. But the next time he opens the chamber of his revolver, there is only one bullet in it. Something tells me that he is going to do wonders with that one bullet. He has to. That is when he spots a bomb over the wooden bridge, which is the only connection between him and the bandits.
But time is running out. The bandits have already stepped on to that bridge, and are making their way towards him. He has all my attention. It is a dangerous moment. I love Jai and I want him to win.
But he is all alone. I cross my fingers. I shout and tell him to wait and not to come out into the open. He is safe there behind the rocks. Besides, I am furious at Veeru, who hasnt yet come back with the ammunition. Veeru kyun nahi aa raha? I shout and leap up, wondering why Veeru hasnt showed up. Just then, from behind the rock, Jai jumps out into the open to pick up an abandoned revolver.
Oh no, Jai! I shout and inch closer to the TV set. His body rolls in the dust.
A few more rounds of fire are heard. I am worried about Jai. I pray to God for his safety. He picks up that revolver and walks straight to the bridge. The bandits are advancing from the other side.
Oh God! I say and grab my forehead in my hands. Jai takes an aim at the bomb with his revolver in the left hand. Right then, I see a spot of blood oozing out of his body.
Goli lag gayi Jai ko! I screamJai has been shot. An injured Jai shoots at the bomb. It explodes, and the bridge collapses. A few bandits are killed, while the rest of them run away. The blood-soaked Jai is lying on the ground. Veeru arrives on his horse and calls out Jais name.
My heart sinks to see Jai lying like that in Veerus lap. He says that he wont be able to tell their stories to Veerus children. That confirms he is not going to survive. I am about to break down. I still pray to God that my fear should not come true.
Jai continues to mutter Veerus name before he finally takes his last breath.
Like It Happened Yesterday
He dies. My hero dies. My Jai dies. The sad tune of the harmonica that Jai used to play follows his death. And I start crying. Tears roll down my eyes. I grieve for the loss of Jai.
I finish watching the rest of the movie in a state of deep agony.
If the Thakur wouldnt have finished Gabbar off, I had pledged to find that beast and avenge Jais death by killing him myself. I spend a sad day thinking about Jai. Occasionally, I cry. Later in the evening, when my father is watching the news in the prime-time bulletin, I spot Jai in one of the news items.
I cant believe my eyes. I shout, Jai is alive? Dad looks at me and asks, Why? What happened to him? And his name is Amitabh Bachchan! No, he is Jai! He died this afternoon, I say, my eyes still focused on the man on the screen. There are a lot of people around him. He is signing something for them and smiling. He watched Sholay today and the characters death in the movie has made him sad, Mom updates Dad. He bursts into laughter.
Dad then explains to me that movies and serials are just fiction. News is for real. I listen to him very carefully. Just before going to bed, I go to Dad. He is in his bed and fast asleep. But this cant wait. I wake him up from his sleep and ask, Daddy, youre sure Jai is alive, na?
Fear of the Needle If there was anything that I was afraid of as a child, it was the hospital in our town. The hospital building was the biggest structure of brick and concrete in Burlaa light pink colour, and surrounded by tall green deodars and gulmohar trees, with seasonal orange flowers in them.
A never-ending row of bicycles and motorcycles would make a serpentine line in the shade of the trees. Every time I crossed that building, I used to feel a chill run down my spine.
From the outside, everything was just so quiet and normal. But only the people who would have walked into it would know about what happened inside. I had walked into it a couple of times. I was made to do so, against my will, by my father. So I knew what went on inside. My brother and I had not been given our inoculations at birth or in the few months afterwards, as was the usual practice.
Our tragedy was that by the time our parents realized the importance of those injections, we were old enough to understand that injections hurt. Therefore, we used to run away from them. But they were necessary. So Dad, very cunningly, never told us when he was taking us to the hospital.
He would make the two of us sit on his bicycle and tell us that we were going out for a nice ride. Tinku, as usual, would occupy the front bar while I would sit on the carrier, holding on to the front seat, on which Dad would be sitting.
Only when he would miss the right turn towards the Pakka Market and continue to go straight, where the road led to nothing but the hospital, we would be clear of his ill intentions. And then suddenly my brother and I would start squirming on our seats, knowing what was coming our way.
Daddy, assi kitthey jaa rahe hain? It was quite common for our father to not provide an answer to that one. So I would tell my brother, Tinku, Daddy saanu injection lagvaan lae ke jaa rahe hai.
So I would tell him, Daddy ne jhutt boleya si. The bicycle would keep moving. The two of us would keep talking. I always wanted to hold my brothers hand then.
He too would want to see me. But the two of us used to be separated by our father. Right at the registration counter, our fear would take a mammoth shape. The clerk at the registration desk knew our father very well. He would smile and fill in half the details on his own. Our father would take two slips, one for each of us, and we would walk with him, holding his hands on either sidethe two of us in our half-pants and T-shirts, ready to be poked! As we walked up the staircase, I would realize how close we were to the terrible process.
The peculiar smell of disinfectant would fill my nostrils and virtually choke me. The dark galleries of the hospitals outdoor wards would terrorize me. The sight of the green curtains, the nurses in white and the number of sick people around would make me also feel sick.
The whole atmosphere in that government hospital was that of a horror story. That horror multiplied by several times the moment we would reach our ward.
As usual, there would be a vampire-like nurse whose business it was to draw blood from peoples fingers or arms, besides injecting poor little kids like us. We knew her well.
She was acquainted with us too. We were a challenge for her. Many times, we had created a scene in front of her and the rest of the hospital, crying, screaming and running out without our pants! Knowing our desperation to escape, Dad never forgot to lure us with items of our interest.
Most of the times, he would tempt us by saying that he was going to treat us to Frootia popular mango drink if only we agreed to take the shots. We were madly in love with that three-rupee drink, which came packaged in a square green Tetra Pak. The front of the packet had an image of two ripe, yellow mangoes, with droplets of chilled water sliding down them.
Dad knew very well how much we loved this particular drink. Insane as it might sound, our deep love for Frooti overcame our fear of the injections, and our father knew how to use that. We would willingly lie down on our stomachs on the medical bed, baring our bottoms for the injections. In our minds, we would see the shopkeeper taking the chilled packets of Frooti out of his freezer, just for us.
In the meantime, the nurse would take out the needle from the boiling water over the electric heater. Our dreams would progress, and we would now be holding our coveted drink in our hands. The nurse was constantly in the process of preparing the injection, pushing in the nozzle to flush the air out of the syringe. And, as we imagined piercing the tiny round foil at the upper corner of the Tetra Pak with our pointed straws, the nurse would pierce our behinds with that injection.
The reality of that moment, for the next few seconds, would break our reverie and leave us in great pain. But, we knew, the key for us was to keep holding on to our thoughts, to relish them enough to be able to overlook reality.
Soon it would all be over, yet we continued to lie there, exactly in the same posture, happily imagining sipping our Frootis, smiling! Two brothers, lying half-naked on their stomach, with their eyes glued to a daydream and smiles pasted on their faces!When Dad called, we both ran inside the studio with him. I had walked into it a couple of times.
But how could I relaxwhen I was being taken into that same building? The dentist was now extremely irritated. There was a camera hanging from his neck.