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By the middle of March 1953, Shri Nathji, Mateshwari and the boys had left Delhi and had returned to Mussoorie where they settled down to their routine.
After the boys had set about attending school and Shri Nathji had attended to the municipal bills etc., Shri Nathji called Victor to himself and told him that he had to give up his old ways, and that if he ran away again without permission he would never be able to return. And it so happened that Victor ran away again, and the affairs of his life took so complex and tortuous a turn that he was never again able to return to the house of his Beloved Master, who he had always called, “Pitaji.”
The children trudged the long distance to Allen Memorial School every day, running all the way to reach the school in time for the morning assembly. In rain or hail, or illness, they made this daily trip to the school and returned home late in the evenings, feeling tired and weak.
To add to their misery was the bullying attitude of the senior boys in the school and the harshness of the schoolmasters who carried canes in their hands to terrorise the boys into submission.
There was Mr. Geyer, a master with an uncontrollable temper that turned into a fit of rage; Mr. O.B. Craven who applied the cane to the base of the spine, Mr.Pratt whose fast swinging cane was the most infamous of all; Mr. Piggot who was rude and polite in turns and a pervert of sorts. There was the music teacher, a certain Mr. Marthand, who so forgot himself that he would cane his students on their faces.
“Spare the rod and spoil the child,” was the British adage on which the teachers operated.
And yet the schoolmasters there were using the rod to satisfy their own sadistic urges, to spew out their own frustrations on the innocent students who had been delivered to their care by their parents.
Pran Nath and Priya Nath felt absolutely suffocated in this atmosphere of sheer terror, where even a kind word from the teachers or students was mssing. The only teacher they loved was a very fat lady teacher who taught drawing, a certain Miss Gordon, who was nominally polite in the sense that she did not wield a cane.
The teachers and the school had not realised that Love was the greatest medium through which education could be imparted. Being cold-hearted and terse only served to damage the psyche of the children. The harsh atmosphere of the place had turned the school into a prison camp.
To make matters worse, the boys were forced to join in the games that ensued after the classes were over. For the boarders in the school this was recreational, but for the day scholars it meant being detained in school for extra hours, fatiguing themselves on the hockey or football field, and then trudging home the long distance on an empty stomach. Quite naturally the boys’ physical and mental health began to deteriorate. Being accustomed to the love and affection of Shri Nathji and Mateshwari at home, the boys simply could not adjust to the trauma of bullying, shouting, and caning, that was being practised in the school in the name of education.
When once Shri Nathji spoke to a certain Mr. Jobe on the telephone telling him of the great strain the evening games imposed on the children’s health, the man turned his rudeness on Shri Nathji and said: “You apparently don’t know how schools are run!”
He was however subdued within moments as Shri Nathji said to him:
“Thousands of people know me in India and have respect for me and they seek guidance from me. I would not be telling you anything that I knew to be wrong. What I am saying is in the best interests of the boys as well as the school itself.”
Although the boys were thereafter excused from the evening games, Mr. Jobe kept that conversation in his mind and took revenge upon the boys later, by giving them low marks in their subjects even when they had been at the top of the class. The situation in the school had become intolerable for the boys and they desperately wanted to change the school.
Mateshwari would say: “Priya has lost his playfulness and humour after going to Allen. The boys just don’t seem to smile any more.”
Maharaja Sarila was very concerned when he saw the boys becoming weak and walking the long distances daily, and he said to Shri Nathji: “Either put the boys in boarding school or find a school that is not so far. I am afraid this routine may endanger the health of the children.”
Shri Nathji began considering other schools in Mussoorie where he may send the children. He even began considering moving down to the plains, and wrote a letter to his admirer at Delhi, Shri Krishna Dutta to seek a plot of land in Delhi for him. This appeared to have become necessary because Mateshwari’s health was also deteriorating in Mussoorie.
However Mateshwari knew that Shri Nathji would fall ill if he began to live in the plains where multitudes would flock to him day and night and not give him a moment’s rest. She also knew of the ominous prognosis about Shri Nathji’s arm, for which the cool and dry climate of Mussoorie was a must. And thus the proposal to shift to the plains was abandoned and Shri Nathji and his family continued to stay on at Mussoorie.