Today when I sit back, there are reminisces of the days of yonder that come in as flashes of snapshots.
The town that I grew up in my formative years were some of the best days of my life till date. Those were the times when the mind and heart was comparative free and unburdened by maze of realities in life.
The school I first went to was DNS digdwadi in a car (Hindustan Ambassador) with about 18 more people. This was from the heart of the city in those days. Reaching school after about 35 minutes approximately and walk inside the school gates to be greeted by a boxer and Labrador. They were among 8 to 12 dogs the school had. The school building had just come up there was still some unfinished work (Junior Building). My class that is kg1 was at the lowest level just outside there was a cement slide. This was used by us vigorously at the cost of tiffin boxes and pants that we wore. God alone knows how many pants were discarded due to the slide they tore. My mother would vouch for this.
My very first class teacher if I remember this correctly was Mrs. Bedi she was strict but with a lot of warmth. I never was a bright student, was physically weak due to a heart ailment and weak eyesight, I used to wear spectacles the lens were thick as soda bottles as you guys would call it . The spectacles had other functions to be performed, it also acted as a magnifying glass and during the recess we used to burn paper, a buddy’s palm or dry leaves. This was apart from having lunch while keeping it hidden from hawks that flew in the sky I am sure there were 100 to be seen each day during lunch and some class mate or the other had to go on a fast as his lunch box was swooped upon by a hawk.
If I talk of the building it was nearly complete and some tit bit work so there was always some activity going on apart from academics. The school had about 10 to 12 dogs as pets for security in those days digwadi was one of end of town with wide open stretch of land. The dogs German Shepherd, Boxer, Labrador, bulldog are some that I remember names have slipped out of my mind. There was this cement slide next to KG I think and lunch break and other recess time was spent sliding, and in turn getting pants torn. God alone knows how many pants were sacrificed and adding to it the scold that I got from my mother. But it was fun.
This was also the first time a CCTV was shown it was on children’s day or teacher day some us had performed and this was shown a little later to all of us . That was the first and last time I saw myself on television. It was a small skit “Import- Export “. I really do not know how many of you remember.
Talking about the school I remember some incidents that have stayed with me. I was in class 2 I guess, and had a habit of moving all around in the class room never could still in my chair. Mrs. Bahl my class teacher must have told me to sit umpteen number of times but then it was me prancing all around every day. One day first period she walked in, we all greeted her and settled in our places. She in turn turned to the big leather bag she carried, pulled out a handkerchief and tied my ankle to the chair leg, “This will keep you in place” From that day every teacher who came in to teach was told not untie me. I was untied only during the recess. When I was in KG or 1( ground floor) for a couple of days Mr. Francis came to teach mataras was one thing that I did not well even today I am lost. I could not do it right thus was told to stand outside the class. Me being me took a walk to the senior section where my cousin was Kulendu Chanchani. Fr. Hess was on one of round and spotted me. He asked what I was doing there. I told him was “going to Kulubhai’s class “ and I also told him why. He took my hand and took me back to the class do not remember what he said.
Initially we used to go to school in an Ambassador about 15-18 of all ages packed like sardines. Then we shifted to Dhaiya and we used to go in a school bus. The travel time in those days was about 45 minutes and the bus was also packed with students. In class 4 we were told that we now had to use fountain pens this was exciting, we had grown up. It really took time to get used to fountain pens, quite a few nibs were broken in becoming deft with a fountain pen. The holi week was a time to watch your back. Ink was sprayed on the back of the shirt. Today when I visualize this what if you were given the liberty to wear these designer shirts!!!!! There used to be mayhem in the bus as well. Water, color thrown. Teachers also used in the bus but who would listen to them it was holi after all.
Then I moved to CMRS branch which was closer to home. Asbestose sheets as roof a quadrangle for assembly with classes all around. A small office dark green color where Mrs. Ahuja used to sit. I was in class 4 had flunked in FRI, In fact I flunked in class 2 as well. Here was a time when I participated in elocution under the guidance of Mrs. Verma that was enjoyable. By the time I was in 6 th I used to carry novels to read. We used to travel to and fro in MEMCO bus that used to come a bit late, so that was the I read these novels. One day I was sitting and reading a Chase and Mrs. Verma was leaving for the day and she spotted me. “ Waiting for the bus, what are you reading?” I showed her the novel. “ Cover the book next time “ . In the following months novels were circulating with quite a few teachers. DNS CMRI had its first love story Mr. Pershad and Miss. S. Bhadur. Who later became Mrs. Pershad. We had Mr. Allen Barrett who taught us drawing and was also in charge of the games. Those were the days when the rod was not spared and Mr. Barrett had quite an arsenal. Rulers (wooden ones), Bamboo canes, Hockey sticks, Cricket bats. I got my share all of them from time to time. Then new blocks got added and the school became larger. The school that is there today was nowhere in sight those days. Initailly there was this small ground behind the school. Rather it was hardly a playground compared the large field that we had in FRI. Then in years to come the ground where the school is today was acquired. The new building came up a year before I left Dhanbad. Am not really sure about it.
The time spent in both schools remains a very cherished memory for me that i cannot forget my entire life.
Writer: Mr. Paresh Chanchalani