I feel like talking about my school today.
I studied in a small and very humble school in South Calcutta. I suspect my parents didn’t want to waste money on another Birla education.. or they were not going to be around to drop me to a school too far. So I was packed off to attend Montessori classes in the (now) colourful building in Bullygunge place.
I don’t remember much about that part though. Except maybe the fact that I used to love going to the loo and do nothing. And the occasional home-skills training we got – how to pour water in a cup, how to mix sandalwood paste, how to make a garland of flowers etc. Also that was the time when I learnt how to make paper boats on a rainy day. I have not forgotten that ever since, though with time I have become more untidy.
With primary school came the uniforms and prayers and (oh god!) tables from 1 to 20. Till date I have not learnt what is 13 times 7. Or any such with double digit numbers. That’s the time I went ahead and challenged anyone who would say ” meyera emni kore na” (a girl shouldn’t be doing this). Resultant effect – I threw someone off the jungle gym and boxed some kids whom I don’t remember. My mother was called to school for the ‘serious concerns’ that my teachers had. If I knew those people now.. I would probably say sorry. (And if they stick to what they said.. I’d push them again. And then jump with high heels).
High school was the best place. With all the fights, gossips, exam tensions – we were a happy bunch. We had friends whom we stood up for, and friends we would want to kill (but not let others lay a finger on). We studied some, talked more, had much more fun. In simple, normal ways. Without CCDs and without much movie viewing and cell-phone chatting.
Once I graduated from school I kept thinking it was a bad decision because we never really had any extra curricular activities to speak of. I had never taken part in a single quiz save for those arranged by a substitute teacher because someone was absent. I had not played a single sport or tried my hand at dancing or playing an instrument in school. And I was too scared to talk to other children from ‘smarter schools’ because I had this nagging doubt that they would look down upon me.
But at the end, I think it didn’t even matter. My school is unknown to most outside the city – as are all the other schools. However, I still love those friends of mine and hate the others I used to. I am still scared of posting something on facebook which might offend my teachers. I was sad when I heard about a teacher passing away – a teacher I had not even spoken much to in school. And I still get goosebumps when someone posts an old photo of the ‘teen tola-r classroom’ or when I meet someone way older than me but a student of my school. I chat with my father’s friends about my school and I defend it with all that I have. Yes, its not the best school in the world – it lacks the modern day infrastructure, the course materials are not fun and there is no growth of our inner self.. But it is my world. Our world to many.