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Children of Lesser Schools

Date: 11-Jun-2017

Children of Lesser Schools

 

          Frankly, I don’t think any of schools I read in, ever remembered or celebrated founders’ day with celebrities hopping around or big splashes in newspapers, and I am sure I represent at least 99% of population, that has access only to schools of lesser God. These are schools catering to kids at grass root level who eat with bare hands and never heard of silver spoon.

            One fine day my parents got fed up with my loitering at home and I was pushed into the wilderness of a Government school of a sleepy town, without much fanfare. I twas a harsh transition from cosy protective ambience of home to a class of rustic rowdies where age was no criterion. There was no entrance test, no hefty donations, no uniforms and no doting parents in luxury cars to see off or receive kids. Actually it was a story more of have-nots than haves. But did that hamper our overall development or deprived us of opportunities in life? Well I guess it made us more realistic and taught us values of life practically rather than cramming from a book.

            It brought us closer to nature as our classes were held under a tree and made us down to earth fellows as there were no benches or chairs and we were obliged to sit on terra firma. It taught us how to look after our belongings, bullies of the class would snatch pen, pencil, eraser or whatever fancied them without batting an eyelid. No housemasters to protect likes of me or to penalize bullies, only one teacher to look after so many classes and so fed up with complaints that any attempt to lodge one would be effectively nipped in the bud with a sound slap, accompanied with the dictum “You do to him, what he did to you and don’t bother me”. It taught us, likes of me who were diminutive by any standard, art of diplomacy.  I learnt to keep an extra pencil or extra parantha for the bully who would then protect me from other rowdies.

            During rainy seasons, school taught us to survive in mob when all classes would be crammed into few available rooms. Importance of natural resources was never lost to us.Every student was supposed to plant a tree on the premises and then look after it throughout one’s tenure. We all were budding entomologists as sitting under a tree, we got to know all the insects close up. One of the boys was too good at catching hold of big black ant, squeeze it and when it opened its fangs, he would plant it on ear of anybody sitting in front of him. Favorite past time of our physical trainer was wrestling match between me and another boy, both the size of pocket editions and he would enjoy with grandeur of a nawab watching his favorite cocks fight.

            We never got spoiled because our teachers never spared the rod. They never shouted at us,slaps and canes spoke louder than words. Another trick was squeezing hands with pencils stuck between fingers, very effective and required least effort. We all knew lengths and breadths of all the play grounds by heart, so many times we made rounds of them as murga,  holding ears with arms twisted around legs and bent down. Games at school resembled rural sports Olympics or jungle games of Uncle Walker. All classes cleaned and maintained the playgrounds turn wise. It was a no-frills implementation, a concept which all the airlines are now considering mantra of success!!!!

            All said and done,it was experience full of virtues. Teachers were a respected lot, more respected than dreaded. To put it in their own words ‘made humans out of donkeys’. There was no tuition culture, teachers made sure that we were taught everything in class. Writing on wooden boards with kalam and ink gave us beautiful handwriting. We never heard of drinks, drugs or cigarettes, a glass of milk was the order of the day. And I can count many of my schoolmates who made big in various fields, albeit not in the tinsel town.  So do I miss the star studded founders day and media coverage? NO. What I missed out on was nursery rhymes, which I am learning now with my kids!!!

 

 


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