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ravi s

Children Stories


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ravi s

Children Stories


My School: A Funny Experience

My School: A Funny Experience

4 mins 217 4 mins 217

Most of us have been in and out of schools, over one and maybe in different cities. I vividly remember that my first school was in Mysore, though it was a brief stint there. When we moved to Chennai (then Madras) I first went to some kind of playschool that was part of a church and was run by the mothers and sisters of the church. In fact, my ‘school’ was an open ground under trees and supervised by an elderly nun. There was even a duck pond where we used to watch the white little ducks swim and play. This phase must have been a stop-gap arrangement before they transferred me to the St. Joseph’s convent in Perambur. 


During my time, St. Joseph’s had boys only up to the fourth standard. Thereafter, only girls studied there. Well, when I completed my fourth year there, I had to move to a new school. Again there was a stop-gap arrangement, this time with Don Bosco High School Perambur. There was this church, not the earlier one but a new one where our classes were held in a big room. We now had a brother (male priest) teaching us. After a few months, I moved to the principal school, which was far away from my house. The school was housed in an extensive building with a large playground, and it was here that I studied until the seventh standard when my father got transferred to Delhi.


You would have noticed that until now, I had been schooled in convents-Nirmala Convent in Mysore, St. Joseph’s Convent and then Don Bosco High School. We reached Delhi with a recommendation letter from my principal to the principal of Don Bosco School in Delhi. Unfortunately, admission was denied for some reason and my parents had to find a school for me and my sister.


My father being a central government official, he was entitled to government quarters. His office was located in RK Puram in South Delhi and he had applied for accommodation in the same locality. For those of you who do not know Delhi well, RK Puram is one of the largest government complexes which housed many government offices and thousands of apartments built for the employees.


As we were expecting to be accommodated in RK Puram, my parents searched for schools in the area. There was a Central School where we could not get admission. Finally, the search for a school for my sister and me ended when my father was recommended to seek admission for us in the DTEA School. 


Remember that I am talking of the year 1968-69 when I was just about 11or 12 years of age. I still remember the day when our father took us to our new school for admission. It was an auspicious day, and the country was celebrating Saraswati Pooja. In those days, it was considered an auspicious day for schools to admit new pupils, even though the academic sessions had already begun!


My first sight of the school shocked me. We were standing before a pathetic array of tents, each neatly arranged for a classroom. My first thought was that our dear father had mistakenly brought us to a circus, but I remembered that circus tents were more colourful and big.


I looked at my sister. She too was looking at the spectacle before her, wide-eyed and mouth open in disbelief. This was our new school? I tentatively prodded my father and asked him. He looked at both of us, smiled and nodded.


The security guard, Ram Avtar, took us to the Principal’s tent. The lady smiled and welcomed us warmly. While my father was asked to fill the admission forms, my sister and I were herded to another tent where a priest was waiting for us. He wore the traditional Tamilian dhoti, sported a kudimi (choti), had the sacred ash of Lord Shiva smeared over his forehead and a bright dot of vermillion (bindi) in the centre of his forehead. For a moment I could not believe that a priest would interview us. Or was this a confession of sorts, like the ones done in churches?


The priest was introduced to us as Ramachandran Sir, a senior teacher in the school! He would initiate us into this Gurukul with a traditional Saraswati pooja!


As the school was closed for Puja on that day, we were advised to attend classes after the Vijayadashami holiday was over. Meanwhile, my father paid the requisite fees. I gathered it was 60 odd paise per student per month!


Well, that’s it. My sister and I were admitted to DTEA RK Puram school where we would spend the next few years until we complete our Higher Secondary (Class 11 then).


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