Compilation & Design: Ramakrishna Bellur
Shoshal, Max, Ombark… every generation, every school, every class has some students who pronounce it this way! Feel free to add to the list!
Some of the below mentioned activities are advisable for children, some are not, while some are fine with parental guidance.
It’s time for more nostalgia on RwB. Wherever you see or read today, the one word that hits you is REUSE and RECYCLE! Just remembered a few things that we used to reuse as kids. So here goes:
Empty Cigar packs : This was between 1st standard till 3rd standard. Me and my friends dutifully hunted for used cigar packs on the footpaths, roads and near any petty shops. As soon as we got a few, we threw away the torn or soiled ones, while the OK looking ones were wiped and taken into the ‘secret production chamber’, that no parent knew where it existed! The packs were carefully made into a walkie talkie phone, which when you held in your right palm (between the index and thumb fingers facing you), would open up. The main tools used were a strong rubberband and a ball point pen (blue and red) to customise the phone to your requirements!
Any cousin or relative to visit the home would be shown the proud possession! And when they asked to give our phone for them to hold, we wouldn’t let them touch it,and we would run away to our production chamber to make some changes, lest our enemies duplicates the hi-tech phone!
Cycle tyres : Around the same time, it was a pastime to play with thin cycle tyres (Some boys would have small and plumpy scooter tyres, which made a ‘tob-tob- noise when you hit them). Cycle tyres were quite easy to get, as the nearby cycle shop owner would happily get rid of unwanted tyres. When Amma used to send us to buy a soap or when we suddenly found a 25 paise (on the window sill, with which we bought a Double Bubble Gum), we would hit the tyre along side (either with our palms or with a smooth chota stick), and as we turned so would the tyre, which obeyed us only when we had that small stick). As we stood at the shop, we would hang it on to our right shoulder, and would be back home in a jiffy if the house was down the road! Where most of today’s cars are parked on the roads would be our rightful lane to play the Tyre aata!
Magnets and Ball bearings : When with the cycle tyres, I remember collecting a box full of ball bearings (again this came free and easy, as there would be plenty of them lying in and around the cycle shop, some visible, some hidden in the dark soil, some shining, some black and out of shape…)
There was nothing as fascinating as seeing the ball bearings stick on to each other (similar to 3-4 people holding on to each other on a cliff, one holding the other’s leg) when a Magnet made its presence. The ball bearings would wobble when the magnet moved near it. Magnets would suddenly be in so much demand, that the round badge like things that Amma had purchased from 8th cross Rayara Gudi, and pasted on the metal window frame in the kitchen (or later the refrigerator) on which were Krishna, Rama, Raghavendraswamy, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswathi etc. etc. would all be left to pile up on each other in the shelf as the magnet behind them would have been robbed!
Coloured Glass pieces : This was a very short lived hobby. Maybe during 2nd standard till beginning of 3rd standard. When we used to play Mann-aata, we would suddenly get dark brown glass pieces, while digging. While walking to the bus stand with Amma, I would chance upon a yellow shining glass piece. I used to collect these and watch the world through them. Such a surreal feeling!
Film Reel : Lengthy film reels would be thrown on roads, which we would collect and try to see if we could see the characters moving when we moved them really quickly. Negligible movement! Unless I found a reel with Rajkumar in it, I would not bring these into the secret production chamber. And I never found a reel with Rajkumar in it!
Scud Missile : These were clearly during the Gulf war, when I was in 9th standard. All that was required to make the scud missile was a small wooden plank (as big as your palm), 3 small nails, a rubberband and some matchsticks. The 3 nails would be partially hit on the plank to make a triangle. Two nails would be wound by a rubberband. A matchstick would now be placed, ready to be shot. When one of the nails having the rubberband around it would become hot (due to the heat transferred by another matchstick), the scud matchstick would fly into the air, to the enemy’s camp!
Hand made Cork ball : When in 4th standard, me and my friends spent considerable time in the summer trying to make our own cork ball. For this, we would go in search of Gobli mara / Rain tree (Acacia).
Once we collected lots of pods from the tree, we would then climb on to the parapet of my friend’s house to crush the pods (Why there? Who knows!). We would suddenly realise that Oil was missing - so we would ask our friend Umesh to get some oil really quickly – he would sometimes get cooking oil, sometimes coconut oil. Now the grinding would start until it became a fine paste with a smooth texture. We would then make a ball, pouring oil on our hands and rolling the stuff in our hands in a circular motion. Then, it was the turn to keep the ball for drying on top of our house for a week.
After the exercise, we would wash our hands usually with 501 bar soap (used for washing clothes). However long we washed, the smell of the pods would stay for atleast for a day!
Grandpa’s Walking stick : Every house would have a walking stick -either Thatha’s, or your father’s Kashi Yatre stick, which would suddenly be more important than the cricket bat… because the stick would turn into a hockey stick overnight!
Magnifying glass : Commonly called Lens, we would keep it in our small pockets, take it to school, not to use it for what it is actually meant for, but to burn paper or dry leaves during Lunch break (January till March.) I think this was during 5th standard.
Matchbox : Collecting and sharing different matchbox covers was a hobby between 1st standard and 4th standard. But by 6th standard, only men of steel would learn the trick of using the ‘striking surface’ in various ways. Firstly, we would cut the piece and paste it onto the shoe heel. A match would always be hidden, unknown to the opponent. During a face off, the stick would appear out of no where and be rubbed on to the shoe… the lit matchstick would be put off by blowing it in a very stylish way, with the eyes seeing the opponent and only the lower lip moveing (as close to what we had seen our hero doing in films!)
[Got caught doing this during SUPW class... made to paint 15 more chairs than others as a punishment]
Another use of the matchbox was to put small insects into it and release them in school / classroom!
Peppermint cover : This was one of the earliest tricks that humans learnt. After the chocolate / peppermint is totally chewed and swallowed, the cover would be pulled tightly by both hands and held close to the lips and blown. Beginners would get a ‘tussss’ sound, First graders would get a screeching noise while the Experts would be playing with the whistling sound!
Broom stick : Ramayana made us desperate for bow and arrow. The lucky ones would get a nice and strong stick of an unknown tree which would act as a bow while we (cursed souls) would have to be happy turning a broom stick into a bow and another broomstick for an arrow. Highly dangerous… we never managed to cause any accidents, but always heard someone tell us that some one in Rajajinagar/ Yeshwanthpura / Subramanyanagara lost an eye… we never believed it…but still we were scared of hurting each other!
Edges of the footpath towards the road : This was where we sat after playing cricket, and drank ‘Chombugattle’ water!. We would discuss about the game, rag, tease, eat bubble gum… While playing, if the match was ‘single side fielding’, then the batting side would sit usually on a compound wall behind the batsman (Usually there is one everywhere!).
Empty Bottles : These were used mainly during Deepavali, to light Rockets. In our days, we used to send some horizontally on the roads, what with such less vehicles.
X-Ray sheets : To watch the sun during Grahana, we would hunt for Ajji’s Xray sheet (that she had been given after her recent visit to Jayadeva Hospital near City Market). Once we started asking for the Xray sheet, Ajji would think it was being asked to discuss about her health, and she would quickly and obediently give it, taking it out from the bottom-most part of the ‘kabbinada pettige’, only to be later told that her Xray has become a toy for the young brutes!
Newspapers : Some of us would use newspapers for various things – to bind books, to make kites, hit flies, light the kerosene stove / hande-vole-uri, as a chart sheet to make collage, to fold and keep a piece of the newspaper under the shaking part of the Godrej bureau / shelf / almirah…
Soap cover : After taking out the new soap bar, the cover would be opened and kept under the clothes, for a few days, so that the aroma spread across the clothes.
Dairy Milk Foil : The aluminum foil one found in a Cadbury Dairy Milk, would be neatly kept in a school notebook, after rubbing out any crease on the foil! The metallic sound it made every time we held it was music to my ears. Even today, when I eat a Dairy Milk (which is the BEST chocolate in the world), I cannot forget how many foils I must have preserved in my childhood!
Bangalore Press Calendar : “The empty space behind the Bangalore Press calendar was where we wrote and practiced our tables, handwriting…” father used to tell this. For me, any empty space is worthy only to be drawn. And draw was what I did behind the calendar sheets! (Good, there was no back to back printing then!)
Old socks : This was after we came back from school, and without removing the school uniform. 6th and 7th standard. The tennis, rubber, cork or leather ball we had would be put into the socks and tied to a high beam / grill. Kept hitting the ball with SG bat to get the perfect shot, feet movement and posture!
Used Dalda / Farex Tins : Rangoli powder in my house, neighbour’s house, or any one’s house would all be kept in either Dalda or Farex tin only! And these tins with Rangoli would be stolen to put the crease on our pitches i.e. my house compound!
Cleaning the comb: Bottom portion of any used Agarbathi would be used to clean the comb. Later on, used and dead toothbrushes would be used to clean the comb. Another typical sight was seeing my opposite house Ajji using a matchstick to clean her ears.
Old Ball point pen: We would love to fix the small pencils to the bottom portion of the ball point pen and write our home work faster than normal. Got a kick out of this simple act!
Winding the Pencil : We would twist and wind the pencil box using a rubberband and a long pencil. When left alone, the pencil would rotate, thus making us feel our pencil box is a helicopter! 3rd standard project.
Another activity was piercing the eraser with the pencil and hitting the table or the friend unecessarily, with our new tool! 1st standard assignment.
Eraser / Rubber as a seal : We would write our initials in reverse on the ‘rubber’ and print it on our text book /note book, hands, thighs, sometimes crazily on our forehead…. thus sealing our fate literally! 2nd standard.
Exam pad : Invariably, every boy’s exam pad (brown color with metallic clip) would be broken in at least one corner. That was because it would be used as a cricket bat after the exam!
Cardboard in the Agarbathi pack: would be used to as a make-believe telescope…which would be used on a hot summer afternoon as we stood in the middle of the road to see if the Joy ice cream gaadi is coming or not! Seeing through it, we always believed ‘objects looked closer than they appeared otherwise’.
Blade and Compass : To make carvings on school furniture (Some of my teachers follow this blog…so no more details)
Tamarind seed : We would have this in our pockets anytime of the day. We would rub it on the wall or the ground and keep it immediately on the cheeks or necks of those who would annoy us.
Notebook Cover : The hardbound covers of our previous year’s notebooks Lekhak, later Vidya Lekhak, would have the pages torn out, and the hard cover would be used as a table tennis bat.
This post has become much much longer than what I actually thought initially. If you’ve read it fully , thanks for getting till here. Hope you have enjoyed this post. Let me know even otherwise.
One of the earliest games I learnt in school was word-building. Vimala Miss, my teacher at Hymamshu Jyothi Kala Peetha, told the game helped in improving our vocabulary. She used to play the game with us most of the days before the last period got over. And every time, we started, she used to tell: “Children, this game is ideal for holidays or as a diversion on class trips. Come on, Krishnan, start…”
On my way to office today morning, I was dissecting the word WEBLOG, trying to build a few words out of it. And I thought this could make a good activity out here.
So folks, how many words (2 letters and above) can you build out of the word ‘WEBLOG’? Perhaps 20!…or 40…or more?! Time limit: 30 mins.
Your time starts NOW. Happy word building.
Update: ANSWERS in the Comments section.
I am sure we all remember a certain peculiarity relating to our teachers: The way they talked, they dressed, they scolded…
There was Nagamani Miss in Hymamshu Jyothi Kala Peetha who used to say, “Bad boy, what made you do such a thing?”. She used to start every sentence with ‘Henceforth’ (Eg: Henceforth, no delay in submitting the Home-Work). And end each sentence with ‘I say’ (Eg: Stand up I say).
In KV Malleswaram, there was one Mrs. Noor Fathima (History) who would enter the class and tell: Yesssss, open your bookssss (in a peculiar tune).
Then there was the SUPW teacher (forgot her name) who would tell: “Stond in line.”
Shivanna Sir (PT) was the ultimate when it came to voice modulation when scolding. We could also see the expression change on his face. The voice would start from low to high and higher range: le, LE, RASCAL, PLAY WITH A STRAIGHT BAT, USELESS FELLOW!
We had Udupa Sir who would lift his hand to slap even before hearing the full complaint. Then there was Anasuya Miss (HM) who would always walk with a scale in hand. In the morning it would be a full scale. By noon, it would be broken (a poor chap being the target).
Sanskrit teacher Suryanarayana would pinch the ear of the ‘victim’ and ask him seeing the whole class (particularly girls) in Sanskrit: Tava naama kim? UTTHISHTA! (He used the word ‘mandam mandam’ a lot and was nicknamed the same).
When we saw our Hindi teacher Malathi Prakash, we never felt Hitler was dead. She simply thrashed the boys and girls alike. And as for her English, here’s an example. Listening to the Radio (Cricket commentary in particular) was my obsession then. In her class, I got caught one day and she barked thus: Ramkishan, Badmaash ladke, I will throw the class out of you!
When we were in the Library, Padma Miss would say: Aye: Can you not read Silently? She would point to 2-3 fellows and say: Stand out. Hmmm… go!
During the NCC theory classes, I remember the way the NCC Officers from Air force stations would shout at us early in the morning after the march past: Bloody fellows, I will take the juice out of you! (we never understood then what he meant)
If that was with their speaking and scolding style, the way some of the teachers dressed amused us too. In HJKP, Vimala Miss always had a top knot and lots of powder on her face. There was another teacher in HJKP, ‘B’ section. Always ‘Haralenne face’ (Castor Oil face).
In KVM, there was Iyer sir (Physics). His sense of matching was aweful. (Many a days, it was Parrot Green shirt with Red pant.) There was Ravikumaran Nair who whould wear the same pant and shirt for three days continously. Noor Fathima would come immaculately dressed with everything matching everything. Deena Ram Singh would just look as if she is straight out of a lipstick factory. Ditto Padmavathy Miss. It would always be a silk or synthetic Jubba over a formal pant for Art sir HL Bhat. Venkatalakshmi miss (SVL) would always cover her neck with the ‘seragu’ (pallu) a la MS Subbulakshmi.
How can I forget the attire of our Principal T Prabhakar? Never did I see him wear anything other than Suit and Boot!
Just remembered all this yesterday evening as I was seeing some old school photos.
Inviting readers to share their ‘favourite’ teacher’s dialogues and mannerisms. Surely, it would be great fun reading it!
Recently, I visited Hymamshu Jyothi Kala Peetha (formerly Hymamshu Shishu Vihara) between April 1-22 to attend the Sampoorna Ramayana lectures by Sri KS Narayanacharya. I saw a tremendous change in the building although there were hints of the past. Sitting in the auditorium, nostalgic memories came to me of the place where I studied from Kindergarten to Second Standard (and a few days of Third Standard). When I studied, we used to have prayer sessions and lunch in this auditorium.
Sharing some HJKP (that’s what we wrote on the book labels) memories with you all:
Kindergarten to 2nd standard
I studied Third Standard in 4 schools. A few days into the class, my father got transferred to Kerala. So from HJKP, I went to Anglo Indian Public School in Ernakulam. It was a Malayalam medium school but teachers used to pinch students badly (I lost my skin many times) for not doing home work and stuff. Since I took time to pick up the local tongue, my arms were full of pinch marks. Just as I picked up Malayalam, my father got me admitted to Kendriya Vidyalaya Naval Base, Cochin. And just before the final exams, my mother’s health deteriorated and we were forced to come back to Bangalore and I joined Kendriya Vidyalaya Malleswaram, where I studied till Plus Two. Glorious years!
As most of you know, me and my Mother-in-law (and thousands of other devotees) attended the ‘Sampoorna Ramayana’ discourse conducted by Sougandhika, Cultural wing of Hymamshu Jyothi Kala Peetha, Malleswaram. Throughout the 22 days of the lectures on Ramayana by none other than the scholar known as Ramayanacharya, Sri KS Narayancharya, all of us were completely immersed in the great epic.
One particular day of the discourse, we saw a pigeon come and sit on the huge photo frame of lord Sri Rama for the full 2 hours. Best thing was, it didn’t mess up the offerings (hoovu, hannu) on the stage. Maybe Anjaneya himself came in that form to listen to his lord’s story!
I am really thankful to Sri Rama for giving all those who attended the lectures the opportunity to listen to the insightful and enlightening talk by Sri KS Narayanacharya. I am thirsty to listen to more such lectures ever since they concluded on April 22nd, 2007.
Sharing a few photographs taken on the concluding day of the discourse with all my dear readers.
SRIMAD VALMIKI RAMAYANA
Pravachanakalanidhi, Sri Ramayanacharya, Vedabhushana, Mahabharathacharya, Bhagavathacharya, Panditharaja
Dr. K. S. NARAYANACHARYA
Hymamshu Jyothi Kala Peetha Pre-University College,
School Auditorium, Margosa Road, Next to Tel. Exchange,
Malleswaram, Bangalore – 560055.
April 1 – 22, 2007
6 pm till 8 pm
Saugandhika (Cultural Division)
Hymamshu Jyothi Kala Peetha Pre-University College.
All are welcome.