Sunday, December 13, 2009

My School

My fondest memories are from my school days. I had my primary schooling at St. Joseph's Convent, Ranjhi, Jabalpur. We were innocent kids then. I cried while being taken to school initially. I don' have many memories of my primary school but I vividly remember that one morning during assembly, my classmate Subir was called to the front after prayer. His hair had grown long. Sr Jude made him sit on a chair in front of all, called for scissors and cut his hair. It looked as if a mouse had run over his head!

After our primary schooling, we moved on to St. Gabriel's School, Ranjhi, Jabalpur which was almost adjacent, with only a small church standing between these two schools. The year was 1965. Even before we had gone there, we had all heard about Dinkar Sir. You could have loved him or hated him but no one could ignore him. And, he wouldn't leave you alone either. He was just like an omnipresent policeman. You took one small wrong step and you would find him staring down upon you!

If I were to name one person from the school who has impacted my life, it would be Bro. Frederick, my Chemistry teacher. He had a unique way of teaching Chemistry and spreading the message of Chemistry to one and all. We organized a Science Club, a Magic Club and a Photography Club. We learned science by doing real experiments. I remember assembling a telescope, a small radio transmitter and a substitute for the Kipp's Apparatus. We became soulmates while at school and I kept in touch with him till he passed away recently. I reverred him and he was always proud of me. When he was transferred from Jabalpur to Patna, we had gone to see him off at the railway station and I still remember that when the train started moving I bid him good bye and then started running on the platform after the train and waving madly with tears in my eyes. By his blessings, I was selected as a National Science Talent Scholar and got meritorious position in the Board examination.

The other teachers whom I remember with a lot of respect are Mrs Prem Kheda, Bro John Bosco, Bro Joseph, Bro David, Mrs O D'Souza, Mrs Kulkarni, Mr Khare, Sharma Sir, Shukla Sir, Chaudhary Sir, Mehra Sir, Lazarus Sir and Shrivastav Sir. We had, on one hand, a teacher with a dhoti who taught us Sanskrit whom we called Pandit Sir and, on the other hand, a suited Englishman John Peak who came to our school every year for a few months all the way from England to teach us English Grammar. The standard and commitment to academics was of the highest level.

We also played a lot of games in the evenings - football, cricket, volleyball, badminton, table tennis and what not. I was good at atheletics - enjoyed the 100 metres dash, football and cricket - a medium pacer. May be because of my overall performance in academics and sports, I was elected as the School Leader in the year 1970.

Recently, many of us from the Class of 1971 visited our Alma Mater and had a re-union at the Kanha National Park. The school was gracious to arrange a beautiful cultural programme and friendly cricket match for us. Some of my classmates are Ainsley Niblett, Avinash Gaikwad, , Barkat Singh, Bijoy Mukherji, Cashmere Fernandez, Chandra Babu, Hardit Singh, Kumud Chakrapani, Rebecca Mullick, Richard Hendricks, Rita Basak, Rita Bhambani, Shanta Murthy, Samuel Walker, Shobha Pawar, K S Rajan, Mahendra Parmar, Mukundan Menon, Prabir Mitra, Soumen DasGupta, Subir Bhattacharya, Tapas Mukherji and Vijay Nair.

I re-visited the school in the year 1976 in my new avatar as a Chemistry teacher which I remained till I joined the State Bank of India in October 1979. My colleagues were Mr O P Mehra, Chaudhary Sir, Dinkar Sir, Madam Tobin, Madam Pushpa, Bro Barnabas, Bro Philips and Bro William. I am touch with many of my students of those golden days through social networking sites.

This is just a beginning. I will write more about my days at the school soon. Meanwhile, I introduce you to one my talented students, Shashwati SenGupta, whom I adore and who is in regular touch with many of her schoolmates. She has been after me to start writing this fast and has been pressing me hard. She has also promised to write me a testimonial and be my official biographer! I am requesting her to add some more pages to the sweet memories of our school. I also invite other Gabrielites to freely contribute to this blog. I may be reached at Bye for the moment!

1 comment:

  1. St. Gabriel's Convent,Ranjhi--sounded pretty downmarket to me after having studied in a premier institution in Pune(then Poona)!

    But slowly the earthy ambience of the place soaked in and I merged effortlessly into the scenery.The main reason behind it was -of course- my friends,classmates and teachers in St. Gabriel's!

    Ever since I relocated to Kolkata(due to matrimonial reasons) and put under a microscope to be thoroughly 'post-mortemized' for not conforming to the usual standards--I have realised what a boon my friends are who have accepted me as I am and were never judgemental!
    I'm feel indebted to my school for this lifelong fixed deposit:-)