Schools set to take a digital leap : The Times of India
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During my schooldays, by the time our Summer holidays started, a month of fun and frolic would have been over for my friends studying in other schools with State syllabus. When their exams got over, our school (Kendriya Vidyalaya) would still be completing the last chapters or would have just begun ‘Revisions’!
Now by the time our exams started, there would be complete chaos opposite my house, where the matches would be played or the sittings and discussions would take place – in short, opposite my house was our ADDA.
Mine being an old and small house with a huge empty space in front, which ever place you shifted base to study, it made no difference as I could hear the score after each ball. This was all the more frustrating because only my body would be in the house while my mind was on the street – I would be under ‘house arrest’, made to study forcefully! In this atmosphere, I would be made to spend one whole week. In the morning, while going for the exam, they would be playing. While coming back from the exam, I would see them pouring water over the head and still playing. Until 7 in the evening, they would be cheering and booing each other. Then they would sit till 8pm and only then go home. It was sheer torture to sit and TRY to STUDY while the main action was happening elsewhere. I was not allowed to see my favourite CHITRAMANJARI on Thursday. I prayed god (not for my exams) but for the only reason that no Rajkumar movie should be telecast on Saturday till my exams finished!
By the last day of my exam, I would have been tamed by the four letter word – EXAM. But just as we came out of the school gate, we would enjoy the 10 paise Guava, 25 paise Joy Ice Cream stick, throw stones at the Mango tree in the opposite house and eat one or two and hit each other with the rest, buy pickles from Krishna Stores or GK Stores opposite the bus stand…. Wow! We would act as if we had really achieved something great by studying, attending, writing and coming out of the exam hall intact, in a single piece!
This thought in mind, someone would suggest we ought to treat ourselves with Veg Sandwich at the nearby JB Bakery. That would be 75 paise for a double sandwich. We would have a by-two! The assistant boy whom we all knew quite well, would be more than happy to give us hot sandwiches and Dil Pasand, just out of the oven. I would suddenly feel an urge to have a Masale Dose at Agarwal Bhavan, diagonally opposite our school back gate. But sipping a Torino, I would literally feel ‘fullfilled’ in life!
We would walk near the Sankey bridge after playing some cricket inside the school – the exam pad acting as the bat. After the exams, our mind would remember just two dates – the day of the results (usually May 2nd or 3rd) and the reopening day (usually June 26th or 27th). To complete the final rites, we would bid adieu to our close friends, while tearing the exam sheets into pieces and throwing them on our year-long rivals, who would be chased out of the school front gate, only to be seen hiding near the back gate!
Back home, we would behave like KINGS! “I want Thums Up”. “I want to watch TV from start till the end”. “I want to see Rajkumar’s film in Geethanjali TODAY ITSELF, and again tomorrow!”. “I want to go to Janatha Hotel”…
On the day of the result, we would again see our classmates. Our Princi would tell us to read useful books and do some projects during summer holidays and then announce the reopening date. He would mention a couple of names and everybody would clap till the said persons would come on stage and shake hands with the Princi. Our class teachers would distribute the Report Cards (one year Pink, the other year Yellow, or Light Green or Blue) While some of us would get a stern look while receiving the Report Card, some others got a ‘Keepi tappppp’ or just ‘Gooooooood’!
Mother would start making my favourite Kobri Mithai once the results would be announced at home. She would be able to see the marks card only by late evening, when she would be slightly free after entertaining several visitors while cooking, serving and also making sweets. She would wipe her hands dry and hold it so very delicately and read every letter on the marks sheet. She would give the sweets after telling me to do better the coming year. I would say a quick “Yes, Yes” and would be more bothered to eat the sweet!
Although I never attended any Summer camp all my life, Summer would simply fly! Me and my friends would have loads of activity lined up, when we were not wielding the willow. If we got bored with Cricket, we would switch to any of these -Hide and Seek, Lagori, Soor Chand, Kings, Ghost stories, Gate-Gate or Tree-Tree, Tennis (using palms) – lines drawn using a brick piece on the road… There would be doubles games also while playing Tennis. Some of the smashes would take the ball down to the edge of the road or to the empty site full of parthenium plants. There was also a game where we would shout, “Crocodile Crocodile, which co-lo-r dooo youuuu choose?”
When some friends would go out of station, then our dear Ajji would always pitch in by playing Chowka Bhara or Pagade with us. I have never understood how to play Ali Guli Mane – too complicated! Always had this notion that only girls were better at it.
Mango smell and mango dishes would over power you during summer. Manvinakayi Chitranna, Mavinahannu Gojju, Mavinahannu Seekarne, Mavinakayi Uppinakayi, Mavinakayi Chutney… and apart from these, just eating the raw mangoes with chilli powder or ripe mangoes till the ‘Vaate’ was bald and white was sheer fun with my cousins, who would loyally visit us every summer!
Overnight, our house would become the destination for Carrom or Chess matches. These games were, to begin with, not in my favour, as all elders would say “you are young, we’ll take you in the next match”… and that never happened. Sometimes, I felt like getting rid of the Carrom or Chess board!
Rains would have started, thus bringing end to Summer. And my friends would have already finished a month of schooling, as their classes would have begun by May end itself. I would still be absolutely unaware that it was a week into June!
Suddenly, I would have a desire to buy a new bat. I would wait for months for my father to fulfill this wish. My father would one fine day make a bat himself using some old wooden plank. An old cycle tube would be the ‘grip’! I would play with it only inside my compound, not very happy to take it out for the matches on the street, where branded SG bats would be in demand. [Only once did my father buy me a bat from a shop in Malleswaram. My misfortune that the handle and the blade got separated a week later! It would be back to the old bat.]
Rubber ball – Magenta or Red or Blue, with an ASIAD APPU logo printed on a yellow patch would be bought for two rupees from Popular Stores. Tennis ball was a rarity. Still don’t know how much one costed then (in the early and mid ’80s)! Would ask my uncle in the US to get used tennis balls when he visited. That itself was a luxury.
Having lived in a dream world for over two months, I would one day see my father dusting my old school bag – the military type – yellow color with two pockets at the front and two buckles which had sharp metal edges. I would ask him – “Can I get a new bag this year at least?” He would look at the bag once again and reply, “This bag can last till your college… and if you keep it properly, even your son can use it!”
That was enough to bring you back to this world. And that meant it was time for school!
Will be fun if you could share your Summer Holidays flashback with me!
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.
It is that time of the year when grandparents stop watching serials and parents cease to talk loudly. There is a ‘smashana mouna’ in every house of the street. One particular room will have the light burning longer than usual. ‘Boost / Complan / Bournvita’ is supplied continuously to the victim inside the room. Mother is awake along with the victim. Ok…you might have guessed it by now – the victim is none other than the boy or girl studying for the exams.
My son has his exams from next Monday. He and his mom are academically a very successful team. Both are preparing well for the exams. Power goes. I hear my wife ask me (without raising her head from the textbook) to get the emergency lamp from the shelf and switch it on. My son just then says: Appa, why can’t we get a UPS for our house. Why only for the Comp?
I tell him: Isn’t it a great feeling when power goes when you are studying during exams?
He gives me a weird look. Gen-Y, you see! (They are called so because most of their sentences starts with WHY!)
Cut to the time when I was studying. Exam season. Power cut around 7pm… just when we have started to study “Aadhi Maanav”. And you could hear joyous sounds from many houses! (Some poor souls were cursed to say ‘Two-one-za-Two’ till 20 when there was a powercut!) We all (blessed souls) used to gather on the road, under the electric pole (which acted as wickets), to continue our unfinished game of Cricket. “3 balls 4 to win”, Vijay tells. Gopi disputes. “4 balls 3 to win… the last ball was a wide when we went.” Harish is taking strike when Ravi shouts Harish was run out in the previous over. Power comes. We hear a mom shouting – Ravi, baaro! Each one is blaming one another for the delay… the game is unfinished still.
We go back to our homes shouting loudly that during the next power cut, there will be no more arguments – match will resume at 4 balls 3 to win. Power never goes. And most of us are forced to study that night. Some amongst us were very brilliant – in the sense they hardly came out to play, while some of us were very clever – we hardly went home to study!
Honestly, some of us loved it when power went, and indulged in simple pleasures like playing cricket, antakshari, chatting, hide and seek… The only time we didn’t want a power cut was when we were watching our favourite films / programs / Cricket match on Doordarshan!
Today’s kids hardly know the difference between having power and having no power as most houses have a UPS connection. In most apartments, there is just a flicker when power goes, within no time the lights are on.
During class tests, assignments, we had the audacity to tell the teacher the next morning that due to power cut, we could not study / complete the project, and even managed to get away with the excuse! The UPS has snatched away an important excuse from today’s kids.
I sometimes feel ours is the last generation that enjoyed the power cuts (how much I prayed for one during exams). Ours is the last generation to have seen a host of things: mainly Rukavat ke liye khed hai (Adachanegagi kshamisi), Over to Delhi (Ideega Dehalige) – on Doordarshan; Enne snana on Sunday; standing in a queue in front of Ration shop at 5 in the morning for Rice-Sugar-Kerosene every fortnight; Calling the beggars roaming in the night shouting ‘Kavala Thaayi’ to take the leftover food; seeing Amma-Ajji bargain with the Steel-Paatre Saamaan fellow in the afternoon over an old silk saree and a small steel tumbler; sitting on the lawns of an illuminated Vidhana Soudha on a Sunday evening and enjoying Garma Garam Kadlekai, going to the Bank just to read the various newspapers, pressing the flat toothpaste tube with a metal stick (kept to break a coconut) and trying to squeeze out some toothpaste, taking the transistor (with a thick cover with holes) to the bathroom so that we didn’t miss our favourite song… the list is endless!
We have seen the stingy side in our parents and grandparents who tried to value even a ‘Sabeena Powder Cover’, and we are seeing today’s ‘USE n THROW’ generation. The former overvalued everything, the latter undervalue everything…. perhaps the invaluable insight we can take is that give the value each one deserves - nothing more, nothing less!
Hope I post this before the power goes! The UPS is already beeping!
An event that took place during my schooldays is getting a judgement during my issue’s schooldays. If the judgement is questioned and taken to the Supreme Court, another decision may come only during the schooldays of my issue’s issue. Hence it is called Ayodhya Issue.
ನನ್ ಮಗನ್ಗೆ ಇವತ್ತಿಂದ ಟೆಸ್ಟು. ಆದ್ರೆ ನಾಳೆ ರಜಾ ಅಂತ ಟಿ.ವಿ. ಪೇಪರ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಬರ್ತಿದೆ.
ಇವತ್ತು ಬೆಳಿಗ್ಗೆ ನನ್ ಮಗ ಕೇಳಿದ: ಅಪ್ಪ ನಾಳೆ ರಜಾ ಅಂತೆ. ಯೇನ್ ಹಬ್ಬಾನಾ?
ನಾನ್ ಹೇಳ್ದೆ: ಹಬ್ಬ ಅಲ್ವೋ. ನಾನ್ ಸ್ಕೋಲಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಾಗ ಆದ ಗಲಾಟೆ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನೀನ್ ಸ್ಕೂಲಲ್ಲಿರೋವಾಗ ನಾಳೆ ಯಾರೋ ಯೇನೋ ಹೇಳ್ತಾರಂತೆ. ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ರಜಾ!
Update: Verdict date postponed. But no change in the above story!