Jun 29, 2010

Back to School... A Walk Down Memory Lane!!!

I walked into a Staples store the other day and there were these posters that advertised some interesting 'Back to School' offers. Colorful stationary, school bags and all other interesting school accessories. Wished I was in school still.

June is the month schools reopen in Bombay. June was the month I loved because of all the new school time goodies we got to buy. New books, new uniforms, new school bags [if we managed to wear and tear the old one ;)], new ribbons to tie our plaits, new pencil boxes, new fountain pens etc etc...

We are almost at the end of June and I remembered that I had promised myself a post on what I miss about my times at school. So here it is in completely random order... just as it came to mind...
  • My school itself - St. Agnes Girls' High School, Byculla!!! I miss the huge campus walking in and out of its gates.
  • Calling myself an Agnesian - especially in the presence of girls from Gloria's and St. Annes. (do not know why!!!)
  • Red House, Blue House, Yellow House and Green House - Red House being mine and my favourite :).
  • The colorful slides, monkey poles and the towering yellow giraffe in the primary school garden.
  • The framed rhymes that were displayed across the hall in the ground floor of the primary school building. Somehow those pictures and rhymes always had me awestruck... I have stared at them endlessly.
  • The playroom that was full of colorful toys and games. I guess it would charm me even now... as much as it did when I was in primary school. It's the kid in me to blame again :).
  • The audio visual sessions we had where we were treated to some nice movies.
  • Moral Science as a subject and the notebook with colored pages for it.
  • The huge black piano and the 'singing' classes we used to have.
  • Lining up on the grounds and the assemblies that followed.
  • Sitting cross legged in those assemblies and the knee-fights that followed ;)
  • Playing Sunday Monday on the building stairs
  • The samosas, ragda and bhel in the school canteen - and the gossips about how someone found a cockroach in the canteen food :D
  • Sports Day - and the compulsory attendance rules for non-participants like me :)
  • The Inter-school sports meet (cannot recollect the name) and the endless cheering we did for our school.
  • The Agnes-Mary's girl school - boy school fights and wars :)
  • Annual Prize Distributions - and how my parents clapped with pride when I stepped up on stage to collect mine :)
  • Open Days and the exhibitions of books, craft work and needle work and the complimentary packet of Simba wafers from mom :)
  • Prefects with their sashes and belts - checking our nails, rolled down socks, shorts, badges and what not.
  • Flag hoisting and singing the national anthem on Republic Day and Independence Day
  • Taking turns in class to sit on the last bench - learnt to play book cricket on one of those days :)
  • The entire class getting punished and made to stand in a straight line on the tarred road in the hot sun.
  • The chemistry, physics and biology labs - including the skeleton in there :)
  • PT classes, Sir Andrew and his English and the way the girls took his case.
  • The green benches in the corridors that served as our lunch tables in the primary school and the huge lunch room for senior school too.
  • All of the teachers there... they all had something special about themselves and that could make another blog post by itself!
  • Baking classes and Ms. Farida and her ways!!! I remember we once ate up the extra cheese after making a dish. We got one of her 'You girls are made (read made, understood mad)!' for that. :D
  • Color dress days at school on special occasions.
  • Going around the whole school distributing sweets to all the teachers on my birthday.
  • Standing in front of a whole class of girls singing 'Happy Birthday to Priya' :)
  • Falling down, getting bruised and having that red medicine applied on to it.
  • The morning prayers and news being read out on the intercom.
  • The raffle forms for donations that we had to collect. There were another 25 odd Agnesians in the campus where I lived. Imagine rushing to every house before the others did.
  • The science journals that we needed to complete in senior school with diagrams and experiment observations.
  • The Science Exhibition we had in Class X. We went on to win it and participate in the inter school competition too. We did up something on Garbage Recycling and were super excited about it.
  • The huge library we had and the librarian Ms. Pramila Pant!!! Some of my friends got her convinced that my classmate Sriya and I were twin sisters :)
  • Polishing the black shoes and washing and applying white polish to the PT shoes - a weekend task that my sisters and me did dutifully to avoid lectures from dad.
  • My school uniform - loved the smart white uniform-red tie combination.
  • Waiting for the school bus to come and pick us up in the mornings and searching for the 'Blue' bus every evening :)
  • Travelling by BEST to school after seventh standard.
  • Walking, talking, breathing, road crossing with Nancy Drews and Enid Blytons!!!
  • Different subjects like arts, crafts, baking, community living, social service etc
  • Identifying hills, rivers and state capitals with different colors on the outlined maps of India for the geography exam
  • Standing in line to collect our corrected answer papers. Totalling and re-totalling the scores hoping the teacher had made a mistake.
  • The Khandala retreat in class X.
  • Picnics every year - from Hanging Gardens to the Planetarium to Esselworld and Tiku-ji-ni-wadi.
  • Collecting the hall tickets for the board exams, the school farewell and finally walking out of school with our SSC marksheets :(

I told you it was a long list. I am sure I have missed out a lot of other memorable things. Probably because I got carried away thinking about these. Would love to read your opinions on this.

Whether you were from Agnes or not, I am sure my school day memories would have taken you back to your own!!! Spare a moment and walk down your memory lane. You will come back smiling :).

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May 15, 2010

dil toh bachcha hai ji...

It has taken me over a month now to get over the fact that I am a year older all over again!!! I am one step closer to stepping out of my 20's and it is a somewhat weird feeling.

I am not of the vain variety who dreads growing old. I do not hear an 'aunty... aunty... aunty' echo when younger ones call me 'aunty'! I do not freak out when I see that odd silver strand on my head. Well, atleast I do not yell loud enough to let the neighbours know :)

Aging, according to many other like minded people, is a state of mind. And thankfully for me, I have managed to keep the child in me alive and kicking! There's a thin line between holding on to the kid in you and being kiddish and immature. I am guessing I haven't crossed the line. Maybe the grown-ups around me can answer that. :)

I was reminded today of all the fun things I did as a kid. Took this chance to list out some of them.

School
I miss everything about school. From classes to special classes, homework to handiwork, black shoes to white sneakers, uniforms to 'colour dress' days, Open Days to Annual Prize Distributions, Class I to Class X... I miss it all. I still remember how we had this freeze bell rule at school. Whenever it was time for class after a break, we would hear 2 bells. The first bell was called the freeze bell. It was like a game of statue. You stand still and do not move for a good 30 seconds or so. On hearing the second bell we were to line up and get to class. Funny and peculiar it may sound, but we did it day in and day out. So much that I miss it till date. Loads of memories from school time are flooding my mind now. I think I will save them all for another post.

Summer Vacations
You call it jealousy or you call it reminiscing old memories but I simply cannot stop envying all the school kids in my apartment. Their summer vacations are on... and they are in the best of spirits. This part of the year used to be the best in all my years at school. I loved making that day long train journey from Bombay to Madras for a 2 month vacation with my grandparents. I miss all those long warm summers that I spent with them and everything they did to make my vacation even more special. Love you thatha and paati!!!

Doordarshan
Satellite transmission and DTH services have taken the television by storm. Channels have run into triple digit figures. Reality shows are the order of the day with melodramatic serials not far behind. Kareena Kapoor can throw a tantrum about missing her favourite saas-bahu serial, only to see Saif recording it for her to watch later!!! Cut back to a few years ago (few is not an understatement... the kid in me adds :D). Doordarshan was our only source of entertainment on television. DD-I and DD-II were more than enough to keep us entertained. I miss all the TV shows I watched on Doordarshan as well as the movies that were telecast over the weekend. Nukkad, Wagle ki Duniya, Mungerilal ke Haseen Sapne, Jungle Book, Circus, Fauji, Byomkesh Bakshi, Tehkikaat, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Superhit Muqabla, Chitrahaar, Daawat, Udaan Surabhi, ... Oh I miss them all!!!

Bedtime@9.30p.m.
The Parent's Rule Book at our house clearly stated that we needed to get to bed by 9.30pm. That ensured we caught up on all the sleep our body needed. Over the years I have been wishing my family a good night's sleep later and later on the clock. I cannot remember when was the last time I went to sleep as early as 9.30pm. It is well past midnight by the time I retire for the day. Crazy lifestyles need a little order too. I have decided to consciously work on this. Early to bed and early to rise (the bigger challenge!!!) will surely make me healthy, wealthy and wise... on second thoughts let us make that - healthy, wealthy and wiser :)

Fancy Dress Competitions
I miss the many fancy dress shows I participated in. My mum looked forward to these more than me :). I remember getting dressed up as Baby Krishna once and as a Hawaian girl on another occasion. I won prizes for both :). We had these annual functions in our residential complex for Diwali and New Year's Eve. The whole process of deciding on what we're going to dress up as, preparing for it and going up on stage and enacting it out was a wonderful experience. I also participated in some group dances for some of these functions but somehow the Fancy Dress Competitions linger on in my mind. I will look up some of the pictures and hope to P.S. them to this post.

Kid Books
Tintin, Asterix and Obelix, Noddy, Chacha Chowdhary, Target, Tinkle, Champak, the complete Enid Blyton series, Secret Seven, Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys - I am sure all or most of these feature on your list of favourite childhood books. I used to eat, drink, walk, talk, yawn, sleep and breathe books. Somehow, over the years I have not been able to devote as much time to books. I still love reading all of these books. I actually enjoy it even more when I read them now. I remember bringing down the library shelves in our clubhouse to find the best of books. Since I could get only one of them issued per week I would hide my personal selection behind some books that were rarely ever touched by the others. This would ensure they remained there for the rest of the week :). The best part would be the glances others shot at me when they saw me climb up a chair to reach the top-most shelf. The glance would be followed by a feeling of awe and shame put together when they noticed that the top-most shelf stocked books as heavy as micro or macro economics, physics or nuclear research. They thought they needed to learn a few things from this whiz-kid called ME :)

Fun Games
There used to be a host of games we kids would play every evening. Played a lot of interesting outdoor games like Catch 'n Cook, Blind Man's Buff, Kho-kho, Lagori, hopscotch (Googled this out... we used to call it 'Tippar' or 'Tipri' :D), Kitty Kitty Coming, Chor Police, Saakhli, Langdi, Hide 'n Seek, GoooooooollllllddddddSssssppppppott (that's how we used to yell it out :D) and many more. It has been years and years since I have even made a mention of these games. I have not seen kids playing all of these in the last so many years. Let your kids be kids and let them come up with silly yet interesting games like these and give it a name of their choice. Urge them to use their PC games and TV videogames as stress busters when they are much older.
*******

Wow!!! This post has been such a refresher. It took me back down memory lane and brought back many pleasant memories... each with a smile on my face. There sure are a lot of other things that may come to my mind. Will share those on my blog space later.

My take on growing up would be - Grow up as you are doing anyways but remain a child at heart always. I love to pamper the kid in me. I try as much to do everything I loved doing as a kid. This post has only helped me strengthen my stand. The kid in me is happy! The kid in me is jumping with joy! The kid in me is waiting for more! The kid in me is nudging me to hum along... 'dil toh bachcha hai ji' :)

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May 11, 2010

Have you seen your golden house yet?

Got this story as an email forward. Food for thought I must say!!!

the house with the golden windows

The little girl lived in a small, very simple, poor house on a hill and as she grew she would play in the small garden and as she grew she was able to see over the garden fence and across the valley to a wonderful house high on the hill – and this house had golden windows, so golden and shining that the little girl would dream of how magical it would be to grow up and live in a house with golden windows instead of an ordinary house like hers.

And although she loved her parents and her family, she yearned to live in such a golden house and dreamed all day about how wonderful and exciting it must feel to live there.

When she got to an age where she gained enough skill and sensibility to go outside her garden fence, she asked her mother is she could go for a bike ride outside the gate and down the lane. After pleading with her, her mother finally allowed her to go, insisting that she kept close to the house and didn’t wander too far. The day was beautiful and the little girl knew exactly where she was heading! Down the lane and across the valley, she rode her bike until she got to the gate of the golden house across on the other hill.

As she dismounted her bike and leaned it against the gate post, she focused on the path that lead to the house and then on the house itself…and was so disappointed as she realized all the windows were plain and rather dirty, reflecting nothing other than the sad neglect of the house that stood derelict.

So sad she didn’t go any further and turned, heartbroken as she remounted her bike … As she glanced up she saw a sight to amaze her… there across the way on her side of the valley was a little house and its windows glistened golden… as the sun shone on her little home.

She realized that she had been living in her golden house and all the love and care she found there was what made her home the ‘golden house’. Everything she dreamed was right there in front of her nose!


The little girl's story higlights the fact that we tend to, more often than not, take what we have for granted. We tend to conveniently overlook what we have and how much it matters to us. The grass on the other side of the fence always seems greener. What is not ours appears to be bigger and brighter than what we have just earned.

It pays to be ambitious in life with newer milestones being set everyday. But it pays even more to spare a few moments to celebrate what we have already achieved.

The little girl in the story represents each one of us. I am only hoping each one of us have seen our golden homes... shining back at us with a smile :)

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Mar 23, 2010

Random Ramblings

THIS IS MY BLOG AND I STILL OWN IT!!!

Guess I needed that disclaimer given the fact that I have been in hiding for so long :).

My blog ranking on indiblogger got promoted to 43!!!! Yaay!!! All the more reason to write more and keep my space online alive.

I was not sure what to write about and that was when I realized that there are so many thoughts zipping through my head. I thought I could simply share them with you all... at the risk of rambling randomly :)

I have begun to love cooking and I enjoy learning and trying out new dishes once in a while. For all you novices like me, here's something you could refer to when you're left wondering how much sugar and how much spice :)

I have realized that aerobics is a fun way to lose weight. I have no doubts about the fun part, about the weight I will have to wait and see :)

I read in the news about how this psychic excise officer shot and killed a young girl and got killed by the police himself!!! Some people think the police should not have opened fire! I think it was better he paid the price for what he did. Otherwise this too would have ended up as long drawn legal battle that would go on endlessly till the girl's distraught family finally gives up.

I read somewhere that Raj Thackeray has been pulled up for calling VT... 'VT'. For me Victoria Terminus will always remain 'Victoria Terminus' and Bombay will always remain 'Bombay'. So I really do not see a problem with the way Raj Thackeray referred to it. They are having trouble remembering the names they have given. Doesn't irk me one bit!

There is a lot of talk and tweet about the Womens' Reservation Bill. I am confused whether I should celebrate because my clan has been empowered or whether I should worry about the probability that 33% of the Parliament could be filled up with remote controlled Rabri Devi clones!!!

The IPL is on in full swing. I know because that is the only thing that runs on TV at home and also because it has been a fortnight since I have even seen the TV remote and even more so because my husband pretends like he's paying attention to me... only when Akshay Kumar begins to laugh like he's been bitten by the Rahul Mahajan bug :D

Bangalore is getting hotter and hotter. Very unlikely they say. Grow more trees I say!

And on that note, I think I have a blog post ready to publish :). I hope to come back with something more concrete soon!!!

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