As soon as I reached home from Office yesterday, Manoj Lal, a friend since School called up. Always the one to take the initiative to get old school buddies reunited, he once again had a surprise in store. He had invited Rajesh Chopra and Vivek Sanyal , both School mates, and wanted to know if I could join...
My mind went back into the past, 32 years ago. The year was 1978. Rajesh and I were the only two students of the class who appeared for the NDA examination to join the 60th course starting July 1978. I was medically rejected, and Rajesh made it. He left School and that was the last time I saw him.
We met up about an hour later, at the restaurant owned by Manoj. We talked about old times, enquired about other friends especially those in the 'fauj'. We also talked about the present and future. About families, children careers - almost everything. There was so much to catch up on in such a short time.
Rajesh now - Colonel Rajesh Chopra - and soon to be called Brigadier Rajesh Chopra, became famously or infamously well known by that one single act that he performed in the Biology lab one day during practicals. And this was to become the folk lore amongst the present School kids as well as Alumni.
Here's what happened.
The class was learning to dissect frogs. One of us who wanted to have fun at Rajesh's cost, challenged him to cut off a frog's leg, put it in his mouth, chew it and basically eat it ! And the bet was for Rs. 10/- a somewhat princely sum thirty years ago. The bet money was obviously collected as contribution from all those who wanted to watch the show. No one was worried about the money going anywhere, because Rajesh wasn't going to eat a frog's leg....
And then - he did it ! He cut off a nice long leg from one frog. The skin had already been removed. And then, to every one's horror, he put the frog's leg in his mouth. While everyone stared at him in shock, he seemed to enjoy biting into the meat, chewing the leg and finally swallowing it..(After all, frog's legs are a delicacy in some parts of the World aren't they ?).
To cut a long and 'sickening' story short, Rajesh walked away with the ten rupees, and his body had some extra protein that day.
Thirty years later, when our classmates reunite and try to jog their memory and recall who Rajesh was, the one clue that works without fail is - "the guy who ate the frog's leg"
And thirty years later, I am still wondering -how did he do it...?