My Writings. My Thoughts.

Mis memorias escolares...

On » Wednesday, February 9, 2011 //
8.36 a.m. 28th January 2011... the Gmail notifier popped up on my laptop screen... Mail from my school! It was  Mrs. Ranjana Kolwankar Madam... It read, 'You are requested to send an article for 25 years Silver Jubilee Souveneir'... Was just going through my medical books and in a fraction of a second that mail threw me back in the past with all the sweet old memories of writing an essay 'My school' with a fountain pen. Call me weird... but that made me realise, however far you go in your life, nothing beats the smell of a notebook, the euphoria of writing on a fresh page and the apprehension of waiting for the marks that teachers would give for that essay. It was a rush of emotions blended with the same euphoria and also regret that those days would never come back, however hard one wishes it could. Excited as I was, I started writing the article, the only difference, the notebook and the pen was gone, and it was the desktop and the keyboard that replaced it.

Going back into those memories, my entry in the school was a bit dramatic. I wasn't allowed as I was below the required age to get an entry into Kindergarten. Had it not been for my Grandfather and the Late. Tarabai Vartak Madam, I would have been in some other school. I still keep the note safe in my closet where Shri. Nandan Patil Sir had written to Swati Marathe Ma'am to get me admitted in the school immediately after Mai's intervention. I cannot thank them enough for letting me a part of this beautiful institution. And then, the next 12 years were the best part of my life so far... and I mean it. 
Even though for the next half of my life I wasn't attached to the school, it played a significant role in each and every step that I took in building my future. Life wasn't easy while pursuing a medical degree, but the values that my teachers had carved in my personality proved as the most important factor in making me a doctor today. When I was in my tenth grade, I distinctly remember Raut Sir saying, "College life will be far more relaxed but there will be no one to monitor your progress or scold you for your mistakes." Everyone, including me, had not taken that seriously, thinking that finally there will be no 'burden' of homework and compulsory attendance. But how true he was. Of course, college life was fun with no restrictions, but as they say, 'You value something only when you dont have it or you lose it.' 
In my early school days, I hated school, just like any other kindergarten kid. I used to cry every other day. I was so shy that my teachers were in doubt whether I could even talk. But Swati Ma'am was the best teacher around for us little kids then. I remember, we were in the Fifth grade, when we donned the new school uniform, and we were so excited about it. There were new benches and seats in the class room... and the fresh smell of the varnish is still etched in my mind. The excitement of using the pilot pen for the first time in the fourth grade, standing in rows in the shade of the huge tree in the backyard just before the opening school bell, the huge mass drill on mondays, every single memory, whether big or small,  good or bad, always brings a smile on my face. 
Primary school was fun, like reaching school early on the first day of school, just to grab the first bench in the classroom and 'booking' it for the rest of the year. Every teacher right from my Kindergarten Miss to my Principal in the final grade laid a foudation for my future. The basics of science that Kamath teacher, Manisha teacher and Madhuri teacher instilled in my mind bore fruits, the day I took the Hippocratic Oath as a doctor. Sangeeta teacher made Geography interesting and Mary teacher reinvented History with her unique way of teaching. Though later biology became my main forte, Maths was one of my most favourite subjects and no prize for guessing who made that possible. Farid Sir, I believe, was the best teacher around for that job. Though I was fortunate (or should I say 'unfortunate') enough to not experience his famous 'thappi' on my face in the five years that I learned Algebra and Geometry under him. All of us were always keen to listen to his famous 'shayaris' in the class.
A noted philosopher quotes, 'The only weapon that becomes sharper with constant use is the tongue' and no doubt language plays such an important part in one's life. It shapes your personality and Sheetal teacher saw to it that we all were fluent in the first language of our school. I still remember how hard she worked behind every student to get the basics right in this wonderful language. Later we were privileged enough to learn English in the final grade, from the woman herself, my Principal, 'Mrs. Avril Rodrigues' Ma'am. The command that she showed over the language was just too good. Ranjana Teacher and Raut Sir saw to it that we mastered our national language as well and learn the beauty behind each and every word of it. Mangela teacher didn't just teach us Marathi, but she made me and many of us realize how important it is to be emotionally and morally attached to one's mother tongue, despite being a part of such a varied and cosmopolitan way of our lives. Apart from the books, she also focussed on teaching us moral values in each and every lecture of hers. No wonder she unofficially played the role of a mentor for many of us. 
If study was my love, Drawing was my passion. And one person who made me realise about that was Alka Ma'am. Right from Elementary to Camlin to Interschool competitions she stood behind me and gave her invaluable advice which I still remember every time I hold the pencil and the brush in my hand even today. We all know how computers have made ways in our lives today. And while using one right now, I want to thank all my computer teachers like Manisha teacher, Kripa Miss and Krishna Sir for making me love its basics. I want to quote down one incident where Manisha teacher had left the school after teaching us computers for three years. And everyone were so sad till the day she returned back with misty eyes to teach us once again. Such was the bondage between the teachers and the students. 
When it came to sports, the only image that comes in my mind is that of a tall, lanky figure with a whistle around his neck and a commanding voice. Raut Sir brought back the much needed attention towards sports. I just cannot imagine, the school would have scaled heights in sports had it not been for him. He instilled discipline not just in sports but in our personas. He was the teacher that I always looked up to. I remember writing a poem on him.
My school wasnt just about the Teachers. It was a family that even included those like Raju kaka, Ganesh kaka and Mavshi. They were always ready to lend their helping hand whenerver we needed them. Hema Miss and Babu Sir also helped us in many ways. 
I particularly enjoyed the House system in our school. I enjoyed being the vice captain of Red House in the final grade. Red House had consecutively won the Best House award for four years at a trot since the system was established. I loved writing poems, articles even then. It would be fun to watch the flags going up and down on the notice board every single day. Yellow house had given us a tough competition in those days. 
When it comes to memories, they can be sweet, sad and sometimes even naughty... I do recollect certain happenings in my secondary school and I feel I am pretty safe opening up these secrets, expecting the teachers not to punish us now. We had this Scout and Guide routine camp in our eighth grade and we were camped right there in the school campus. That night was fun, we had to prepare our own food and had to present it before the teachers to taste it and grade us likewise. We had made Pizzas, chapatis, curries and I distinctly remember how I had fought with my colleagues to let me fry the omlettes, coz that was the only thing I knew 'perfectly'! Once the dinner, the antakshari and the campfire was done, we were told to go inside the classrooms and sleep. It was obvious that 'to sleep' was the last thing that everyone wanted to do that night. It was almost one in the night. Everyone were gossiping and 'joking' around. Suddenly few of us had some wicked plans. According to them, the night wasnt that 'eventful'. 

We were 15-20 of us in that room. Suddenly two of them got a plastic bag. They had brought crackers along with them. One of  them checked the corridor to see if anyones there in the corridor. He signalled the other two who went outside and lit the long 'lari' and threw it on the playground from the first floor and ran inside the room. And boy! The noise of the crackers had woken up all the teachers and within a minute the door of our room opened, with Raut Sir holding up the strong torch beam over our faces which were trying hard to pretend that we were sleeping. "Sabh log turant ground par honge". That was the only thing he said and he went. We all woke up. Some were giggling, some terrified and no doubt those who know me well, would agree that I belonged to the latter category. We were on the ground in no time. Raut Sir once again asked everyone about who did it? But no one answered. And as luck would have it, he called me in front! Sometimes you really dont want to choose between letting down your favourite teacher and betraying your friends. But that was the day... (or rather night!) He repeatedly kept asking me. No doubt I was sandwiched. But I didnt say a word. Strict as he was, he wasnt going to cave in to our mischief. After a long pause, the punishment was served! We were told to run 25 rounds around the playground at 1.30 am in that chilly night! Okay no one had expected this. We started running... 10 rounds and everyone were gasping for breath. The 'great' unity had started developing cracks. Everytime the flock was away from where the teachers stood, some started blaming the ones who were responsible. Finally guilt overcame the few and they voluntarily confessed to Sir and we were stopped at the 13th round! Everyone collapsed in unison. So much for friendship and unity! But that was something that I cherish even today and yeah I did apologized to Sir on my way back to the classroom. The night had truly turned 'eventful'...

So that is how school life was. Its difficult to sum it up in a single article. It had its ups and downs. Sometimes you are the centre of attraction, sometimes you get bullied. But school life is all about the innocence, the mischief, the love and the bond with your teachers and your friends that you always crave for the moment you step out of the school gate on your farewell day. Each and every teacher in my school is special for me and will always be no matter how far I go... For me its an extended family which is getting bigger and bigger year by year. It feels so nice every time I hear some good news about it. And I am sure under the guidance of Rawat Ma'am there are many more accomplisments that the school is going to scale in the near future. Though its difficult for me, due to time constraints, to be physically there to contribute something back to the school, I promise I will try to do my bit every time I get a chance to do so... 

I would just sum up everything and thank all my teachers, through this thought quoted by Lily Tomlin....
"I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about... besides homework."

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