Photos: RK/ Rambling with Bellur
Lunch time in school meant loads of fun. Lunch was between 12.10 to 12.40PM. While in Third Standard, myself, Arvind and Suresh Mani ate sitting on a small yellow stone, inside the ground, slightly away from the Back gate. Invariably there would be only two stones. Arvind and Mani would sit on them and I would have to sit on the fine red mud. That meant my navy blue shorts would become partly light blue shorts!
In Fourth standard, I don’t remember going out to eat. Most of us ate sitting in our designated places. Studious thy name was Yours truly!
In Fifth standard, our class was on the first floor. We still ate inside the class, looking out of the window. This was mainly because three teachers – Noor Fathima, Deena Ram Singh and Anwarunnissa came to our class and ate. The aroma from their huge lunch boxes were awesome! Biriyani, Palak Paneer, Veg Kurma…. All three teachers shouted at us when they ate, and felt we were BADMAASH LADKE! The reason for our noise was we played lot of BOOK CRICKET back then!
Sixth and Seventh standards were terrible. For others. Myself and Hanuman were notorious in pulling the chairs JUST before some one sat. We exchanged pencil box contents and ate from others’ lunch boxes. If we had PT period before the lunch break, that was it. We would be playing and suddenly vanish from the ground and enter the empty class. We would know who brought delicious lunch and opened their boxes. Mahim’s round steel carrier was our first target. He would bring yummy Chapati with Alu Matar, Idly Chutney, Palaav! Palaav in a lunch box those days was something very rare.
Priyankaraj was another guy whose lunch was much in demand. The presentation was what attracted us to open his box. Salad, cream biscuits, cakes, and juice in colourful plastic bottles…we loved it!
Chirag, Vinay and Ramadas would give a spoonful of Sweet Avalakki or Rice Bhaath. A spoonful of good food would only make us want more of it!
Myself and Hanuman would fight while eating others’ lunch boxes, as if it was ours. We would leave just a little hoping that we would not be caught, and ALSO out of humanity.
Arvind’s mom used to bring piping hot food for him everyday just before lunch break. Some of us, foodies in the making, envied this. We already knew the value of hot food! She would always take him to one corner of the Stage (on the Back Ground), and spread a pink towel on the floor. Arvind would be ready with hands washed. She would hand him the Happala and open the first steel container with Anna, next with Saaru, and third with either Majjigehuli / Kootu. Curd rice would be ready in a separate box topped with pickles. We would be playing nearby, and keep an eye on Arvind’s progress. We would only wish we were as fortunate as K. Arvind!
Some boys and girls from north would ALWAYS bring thick Chapati with alu/ baingan. One or two from the neighbouring naadu would only bring curd rice with pickle. Some would bring food wrapped in an aluminium foil. Sometimes, they would force us to have a bite, seeing our food fetish. We would ask for another bite, and they would start giving gaalis! Some would be very tough and not share even a morsel with anyone, nor would they ask for a bite. They would be despised by the foodie group.
Sometimes, some of our classmates would be ill, and sit inside the class during PT period (before lunch break). We would hate it. We would try to send him/her to play or threaten the person of dire consequences if he/she complained. Later we would forcibly give them a small bite, so that they would keep mum.
So lunch time in Sixth and Seventh meant more of play time, as we would have finished lunch. My lunch depended on my mother’s health. She was a class apart in whatever she made! (that’s another post)
L-R (kneeling): Parashuram, Gopal, Vinay, Arvind, myself, Praveen, Vijay
L-R (standing): Kalyan Srinivas, Preetham, Sridhar, Ramesh, Vivekananda, Priyankaraj, Mahim, Chirag, Hanuman, Manalan, Suresh Mani
Eighth standard was when we ate sitting on the 18th cross Bus stand Wall. Once, while sitting and eating Dose, an eagle snatched away my green plastic box, only to be dropped empty minutes later.
In Eighth, we would also go out once a while for JB Bakery Bread toast (75 paise each), Agarwal Bhavan Masale Dose and Krishna Stores Pickles/ Nimbehuli peppermint (5 paise). Everyday after the school at 3.10pm, we would haggle with the guy selling Guavas and Mangoes. When we didn’t have money, we would act as assistants to the Guava guy in smearing salt. We hoped he would be impressed with our services, and give a guava/mango piece for FREE!
The Kulfi selling guy was dark and lean, always with a blue checked lungi. 25 paise for Kulfi and a Bread toast was too costly for us. Those days, to collect 1 rupee, it took days.
By Ninth and Tenth standards, some guys had lost the thrill of lunch time, as they had already started worrying about Life after 10th, +2, LIFE after SCHOOL! But some of us still were as bindaas and careless! We used to start having lunch right from the first period. And the entire row would be partners in crime.
Once during Vijayal’s class, she caught me chewing gum. She always addressed me (quiet correctly) as Paramahimsa! The reason she caught me was, she sat on the teacher’s table, and had a good view, (moving her neck like the jimmy jib camera) of the ongoings ‘under-the table’!
Well it’s lunch time now! Got to go and have lunch from MY box!
Would be fun to know your lunch time stories!