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!
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!
Photo & Design: RK
Click on the image for a larger view
Having met a few teachers, friends and seniors last year, I was looking forward to meetin many more today. And the meet did not disappoint today! I could meet ever cheerful B.Vijayalakshmi ma’m, ever humourous Keshavamurthy sir, large at heart Manjunath sir, ever smiling Syeda ma’m, ever thoughtful Leelavathy ma’m. It was a real bonus to see my classmate A.Ramesh and his sister Prathibha. The regulars were there too: Satyanand sir, Kusum Talwani ma’m, Suryanarayan sir, Padma miss and many others.
The meet started with te Prayer. There was a minute’s silence to pay respects to late Shivanna sir. Also got to know that my classmate Royal is also no more. Sad.
Teachers were felicitated. There was some cultural events. The programme ended with the national anthem. Lunch was arranged for everyone. All in all, it was fulfilling to see teachers and friends with whom we share such lovely memories.
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The timetable suddenly looked so creative when two periods were assigned for the same activity. The last two periods on Friday had CCA (Co-Curricular Activity) while the first two on Saturdays was for Mass PT (aka MPT)!
CCA was both good and bad. We could make a lot of noise, hear some jokes, perform ourselves on the stage and play games off-stage when some uninteresting talk was going on. Or some of us could continue fighting with Sajith and Sureshmani which had started during lunch break over a slice of bread-jam or a few ball-bearings.
The flip side was your navy blue shorts would become ash white sitting on the floor. A patta-patti carpet made no difference as it had the same amount of dust that the floor had. Sometimes this dust came in handy when we would drag our enemy so hard as he was sitting, that it left an indelible mark on him at the base camp!
Mass PT was the time when we saw how the world looked after the assembly finished. Being a Saturday, you could learn how many shades of WHITE existed. There were some students who were always impeccably dressed. White uniform and white shoes and socks were EXACTLY WHITE. Not blueish white, or yellowish white or brownish white. There were some rare species who wore pinkish white. Maybe the white dress was washed with some red saree or shirt. But these colourful whites stood out than the actual WHITE!
As soon as the assembly got over, myself and Mahim would go to the PT room and bring the drums out. Shivanna sir would go on the stage, blow the whistle which meant everyone to take position. One boy and one girl would be on the stage, to lead the show. The boys and girls on the ground would stand with a two-arm distance (side and front). Any crooked line, anyone seen talking, Sir would come to the edge of the stage and shout with glaring eyes – “Aye, Aye” which was enough to send shivers down the spine! And if he just said “Aye” and didn’t slap, that meant he was not in his elements!
Satyanand Sir would be at the back checking the white shoes and uniform. He was not as wild as Shivanna Sir. After hearing Shivanna sir roar, Satyanand sir scolding anyone sounded so friendly. At the most, he would say: Lo, yaako polish maadilla?” Only a student can understand the relation between a white chalkpiece, a few drops of water and white canvas shoes.
Myself and Mahim would be stationed at the very back near the compound wall of the back gate, with Shivanna Sir. Sir would be on the bass drum while we were on the side drums. He would hit the first beat: DHAMMM. Then it would start:
Us: TAKK TAKK
It would end with:
He: DHAMM DHAMM (pause) DHAM!
[Yes, you got it! Now I am sure you can remember the faster version when the drill would have the hand on the hips, legs going front, side, front, position].
Amidst all this, one or two would faint. Shivanna Sir would shout: “Why do you all come to school, I Say!” Some delicate darlings would have sat near the window sill even before the drill would begin. We would see them giving a letter to Satyanand Sir, and him telling them to sit.
During really hot days, myself and Mahim would search for a shade to stand. If our beats went wrong, Shivanna sir would whack our hard head with the Bass drum stick, which had a soft head!
Minutes before the bell, we would be let off to drink water and keep back the drums, or just relax. We had to go back to our respective classes, as MASS PT was for A,B and C sections during normal days.
Before the ‘Sports Day”, Mass PT would be for at least 2-3 hours with classes VI to IX participating and practising. The two arm distance would become one-arm distance to fit all the classes, and students of all shapes and sizes. The ‘back’ ground would look like a small matchbox.
On the ‘Sports Day’, which would take place opposite our school, on Government High School grounds, the drill would look magnificent while Shivanna Sir would look magnanimous towards the students after the drill. He would give us sweet packets at the end of the show and pat our backs.
Just when you thought he had become god, he would slap you the next Saturday for not polishing your white shoes, and make you run 25 rounds after the assembly!
Being a holiday, I got up only after the newspaper was slightly warm, due to the morning sun staring right on him in my balcony.
After breakfast, I watched Chota Bheem Aur Krishna with my son. Being a Karate buff, he was waiting for the next show – Chota Bheem and Master of Shaolin.
But I was waiting for the clock to strike 11. My friend Mahim had called me the evening before and told me about the Alumni meet to be held on the Republic Day at 11 in the morning at KVM…the three letters, in that particular order, brings back numerous memories!
On the way to school, I saw a flag hoisting ceremony taking place in an apartment complex. I stood on the foot path and sang the national anthem, with the elders inside. When I was nearing the school, I was not sure whether to go through the front or the back gate. But as they say, habits die hard. And I entered through the back gate, as I did years ago.
As I entered, I saw the tri-colour, and on the stage were seated Prabhakar Sir, as usual in a suit and coat (Retd. Principal) and Nagaraj Sir (Retd. Lab Asst.), Badri Sir (Physics), Vasanthi Krishnan madam, Mulgund sir, Kanthamani madam, Kulkarni madam, Jayalakshmi madam and Subhashini madam. Kusum Talwani madam and our beloved Satyanand Sir joined in soon. It looked like they hadn’t changed at all, since I last saw most of them, and that was years ago.
I was trying hard to recognise many faces out there on the ground. Most of them seemed familiar. Some seemed more familiar than the others. I could identify VVN Kiran, brother of VVN Anand, my classmate. I saw another face which told me I had seen a younger version of it a few years back… yes it was my super senior Venkataraghavan, ever chubby and plumpy! And it was easy to identify a couple more who it seemed had never changed, like Binu (Michael Jackson) and Sowmya (singer with cat eyes).
The meet started with everyone singing our school prayer. After that, a few known teachers and some unknown spoke one after the other. Badri Sir spoke of his KVM days, the disciplined students and his beloved colleagues.
As is his wont, Prabhakar Sir regaled us with his usual wit and memorable anecdotes. He started off with his signature style of tapping the mike, and wished us. He said, “Not much has changed since your school days…like the olden days, you students are still in the hot sun while we teachers are as usually in the shade (on the stage)”. He continued, “I usually don’t attend functions, but this one was a special one. A couple of years after I retired, I was called for most functions invariably as a Chief Guest. But since 1995, I told that I would like to carry lovely memories of this school, so please don’t call me. But today, I am enjoying being here. However big shots you people may become, you are still my students. That is the advantage of a mother and teacher. ”
He also narrated the story of how the windows on the ground floor got a fence. It seems the constant attack by the cricket ball and football would keep breaking the glasses. And Prabhakar sir would summon the parents of the boy who was the offender to pay for the damage. And the parents would naturally crib, haggle, crib, haggle… To get rid of this problem, Prabhakar sir told he instantly took the decision, after getting consent from the Commissioner, to erect fences, which was done in a jiffy by asking a local guy to finish the job. He told there was no sending a letter to Delhi, getting sanction, inviting a tender…none of the formalities!
“…Most students here would either remember me for the slap that they received, or a prize that they received.” And when he asked “How many of you have received a slap?” quite a few hands went up amidst laughter.
The current principal Meenakshi Madam was happy to see the old students. She thanked Ms.Sumalatha, an alumni, who is currently working in the school as a teacher, for this alumni meet. It was pure bliss to hear Kusum Talwani madam’s endearing Hindi amidst KVM trivia. She said it was Prabhakar sir who made her lose stage fear and be a good orator and told “Prabhakar sir jab hamaare principal the, woh KVM ka swarn yug tha!” In her typical style, she ended her speech with “Bharat ka swarnim gaurav Kendriya Vidyalaya layega”.
Nagaraj Sir spoke about the early days of KVM, when it all began in 1966. In his humourous speech in Kannada, he told if he started sharing anecdotes since 1966, it will be late evening. But he shared a couple of stories of how the headmaster from the opposite Government High School had helped by accommodating the KVM students in 5-6 classrooms where the present CET Cell is situated, when our school was yet to get its present building. Also, due to the lack of space, the primary students came in between 7 and 11 in the morning while the others came between 11.30 and 4.15pm, he said. He said, “During Prabhakar sir’s tenure, KVM was just like Vijayanagara during Krishnadevaraya’s rule. This is not an exaggeration or praise. He taught us how to be efficient and work in the right way that will bring accolades.”
When his turn came, Satyanand sir got the most cheerful welcome. He sportingly said, “I don’t know if you guys are cheering me or booing me!” He too said that he has skipped many a family functions, but he was not going to miss this one for sure, as KVM was so dear to him. He stressed on the fact that parents must inculcate good habits in children and tell them the importance of both academics and sports, as both are equally important. I asked him to say a few words about Shivanna Sir, who is not in the best of health. Satyanand sir told how he, Shivanna and some colleagues used to play for a few minutes after school, before winding up for the day. It seems Prabhakar sir also used to join for the volleyball sessions, but used to excuse himself saying “hands are paining, Satyanand…time to take leave”.
One ex-student gave the command ‘Schoooool, Raashtrageet shuru karegi, shurooooo karrrr” for us to start the national anthem. We stood still and sang it. After ‘School Veeeeeshraam’, we dispersed and met our teachers and friends. Pictures were taken, memories shared.
Sumptuous lunch was awaiting us on the other side (at the front ground). Delicious Ladoo, Mouth-watering Puliyogare and cool-as-cucumber curd rice with pickles were served for lunch. Puliyogare was a blockbuster hit with the crowd!
Chatting with Satyanand Sir during lunch, I got to know that he still rides his light green Bajaj scooter 1098! Nagaraj sir told that the 1982 model scooter ought to be at Sri Veerendra Heggade’s Vintage motor collection at Dharmasthala!
Nagaraj sir said, “After a family function, we immediately leave after lunch. But here, we simply don’t feel like going”. He summed up everyone’s feelings in such a simple way.
Myself, Mahim and his better half went around our classes starting from 1 std. ‘A’ sec. Some classes still had the old furniture while some had new tables and chairs. Mahim even rang the good old bell!
A few changes are evident – like the enclosure which has been made where there used to be Ramamani madam with her Sanchayika team (next to the Staff room on the first floor), and an enclosure on the first floor next to the stairs. An entrance has been made to the cycle stand next to the rest room on the ground floor. The auditorium (a brainchild of Prabhakar Sir) on top has got a better false ceiling and the wooden stage has a neat carpet (than those thick red-green-blue striped jamkhanas full of dust…remember cleaning them with each one holding one corner and each one trying to put dust into the opposite’s eyes?!).
Titled ‘Reminiscences’, we saw some old pictures on the notice board and could see late SVL madam, Iyer Sir, Suleena Nair madam, Nalini Ravel madam, Baby Sir, Suryanarayan Sir, Ramamani miss among others. Taps look sleek and good looking, and less menacing than the ones we used to operate – during our days, some taps were so hard and difficult to press… but if you were successful at getting the water out, you could not stop the tap, and sometimes would jam your index or ring finger! It was a pleasant surprise to see less of water leakage all round the school.
It was late afternoon when we bid adieu to the place which had given us numerous memories – some good, some bad, some naughty, some adorable, some cheerful, some tearful, some lovely, some scary… the list is endless. With a heavy heart, we came back to the future out of the back gate.
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