Sunday, August 17, 2008

Those schoolgirl days...

Time flies so quickly. Even the Internet which came into my life just a couple of years, or so it seems like, is already strewn with people I've come across and messages and posts I'd put up already half-forgotten and relegated to the back of the cyber cupboard. Some of the people have become very real friends and we have get-togethers on a regular basis despite busy lives and and hectic schedules, one or two so-called friends turned out to be freeloaders, and many have been like the proverbial ships in the night - here today, gone tomorrow, out of sight, out of mind.

The net is such a huge place it's hard to keep track of every place I've been to and left a piece of myself. One of these I recently rediscovered is my old school reunion site. I was at Mount Hermon for just a year and a couple of months but despite my all too brief stay there, it remains one of my brightest memories. Located in beautiful Darjeeling with the Himalayas clearly visible across the distance, it wasn't some over-posh school filled with snooty brats of rich parents as we'd feared at first. In fact, I never really ever knew how upscale anyone's family was because it was such a happy friendly place. Like when you came across members of the staff, academic or otherwise, it was always a casual Hello Mr Jones! Hello Mrs Gardner! That, in the 70s when things in India were still strictly starchily Brit, is a fair indication of the informal atmosphere of the school. And the GHD (Going Home Day) songs in the school hymn book that we'd start singing around the end of the year...

Also it being a co-ed school, there were a great many pairing-ups, and often after the seniors (classes 7 to 12-ers) finished dinner, we Junior schoolers would watch happily as these couples would go off in pairs in the quadrangle downstairs. A favourite hangout for these post-dinner, pre-study hour romantic dates was a long fence around the main schoolyard and couples would hang around there which prompted one staff member to coin the term "fencing." If a boy and a girl were seen "fencing", they were acknowledged by everyone to be an item. Obviously, it was a school ahead of its time but my two sisters and I had to leave suddenly because my father became seriously sick and we joined local schools. I continued for a while to keep in touch with old friends but inevitably lost touch with all but one who kept me posted with updates on everything and everyone.

Then around 5 years ago, I came across this site which wasn't strictly an official school site but was run by an oldtimer who'd brought in lots of oldtimers. None of those Facebook/ Orkut old school communities type where you see only the very young and feel completely out of it all. There were many I didn't know, naturally but there were a few I actually remembered. I found that the best way of breaking the ice and getting people to share old memories was in getting them to talk of things like bunking, past escapades and crushes. I made a post on old school crushes which evoked so many memories in the most fun way possible and many decade-old secrets were confessed to and made public for the first time ever! Among them, we found out that Lochan, one of the regulars and most gentlemanly people I've ever had the pleasure to know anywhere, had been the unknowing target of a crush by the prettiest girl in school. Apparently, they were good friends but she'd a boyfriend then and used the runaround method of loading his younger brother with all sorts of eats. He never realised it was all thanks to his brother and never told him about it either until the girl's best friend spilled the secret almost 30 years later and the younger brother finally connected the dots! I had such a hilarious time the other day re-reading all the recollections. I'm ashamed to confess though that I've since lost touch with those renewed acquaintances too. Keeping in touch is so hard...

Yellowed and mildewed - me and sisters


  1. Cute ltk. Darjeeling hi kal ve ka la chak khop mai, nuam in ti em mai

  2. Nia kal ve roh mahse it wasn't just the place, it was the people who left such happy memories

  3. Va ziak lunglenthlak reuh...
    Those schoolgirl days,
    of telling tales
    and biting nails are gone,
    But in my mind,
    I know they will still live
    on and on...
    (To....with Love lam pang tur emaw ka tia):)

    Kei pawh Team atang hian thian hlui ka chharchhuak leh ta nual mai.

  4. suih lung a leng a ni mauh...

    keipawh Darj hi ka la kal miahlo, ka kal chak khop mai...

    school kal lai kha a lo ngaihawm takxet a ni...han ngaihtuah leh hian nuih na tur a tam thrin

  5. Dik chiah, virgo, a hunlai a kan ip choih choihna thil te kha a hnu hi chuan nuih ti za mai an lo ni si thin haha. Aw ka post siam kha hmanni ka en leh a ka nuih a za bok sia ka lung a ti leng reuh bok sia ni e ka ron tih tak hluai.

    samuapa, keini ang mi un hi www-ah hian hmuh tur an vang thei eeee i ti ve thin em? team batchmates chu ka lo la try ve chhin ang but I'm not expecting much :(

  6. Min ti lungleng.... KU J

    and agree with you.. time flies and yes....internet is so vast..

    After moving down to Mumbai, from Pune, most of my best friends are from the virtual world.. !!! huis..

  7. i won't say i miss my school life but i do miss my classmates and old friends. ah, the things we did and got into trouble for. *nostalgia*

  8. p&b, you'll get more nostalgic as time goes on, and by the time you get to my age, you'll find yourself missing even things you don't miss now :)

    mnowluck, go out and connect with virtual friends in realtime!

  9. Being a late blooming Narcissus I did a google search on myself and what should I see but a weirdo Mizo site talking about me and about the most pretty girl of all times having a crush on me.

    C, you have captured the elysian times ca. early 1970's very well in your blog. Those of us who were there can vouch for it.

    "I wish I had a time machine, I could,
    Make myself go back until the day I was born.
    Then I would live my life again,
    And rearrange it so that I'd be yours from now on."
    -England Dan and John Ford Coley

    Reading this blog has made me wish I really had that time machine so that I could rearrange my life so that I could be back in MH Darjeeling ca. 1970's.

    At MH those days food was rubbish, academics and sports were just above mediocre but the atmosphere was terrific and friends amazing. Life as a student was difficult in general as we missed home and parents who were days or weeks away from us. The only means of communication was through what is now known as snail mail.

    However travelling a short while through life with good friends made it easier. Now without those friends from school life is more difficult and melancholy. I am reminded of Princess Oku (Japan: 661-701) who wrote

    "Travelling together,
    that high mountain in autumn
    was almost impassable.
    How can you bravely hope
    to make that journey alone?"

    [Futari yukedo
    akiyama wo
    ika ni ka kimi ga
    hitori koyuramu]

    Thanks for the wonderful memories!

  10. Thanks for making it here, Loch but "weirdo Mizo site"? Arghhh! That's a beautiful poem btw. Don't tell me Japanese is one of your many skills? Oh and I always meant to ask you for a pic of Tip as she looks today. Even Joy looks so svelte and sophisticated now so Tip must be oooh I can't even begin to imagine..

  11. I will send you picture of Tip as she looks today. ummmmmm not exactly today but say about 2 years ago.

    Weirdo? Yes of course. Normal and conventional is boring. Eccentric, weird, extra normal and unconventional is good. Capito? Please do not become normal. A little bit of crankiness is good for life.

    As for Japanese, well I love the food, culture and people and the country in general. It is a truly amazing place. I had learnt the language by myself but have forgotten quite a bit.

    You love poetry. So I would suggest you check out Chinese and Japanese poems. They are different from the usual run of the mill English language ones. Indeed poets like Li Bai ( 李白)from the Tang dynasty period have inspired poets and writers in the west as have Japanese artists like Hokusai (葛飾北斎) with his ukiyo-e of "Kanagawa oki nami ura".

    Our education is so west oriented that we do not know even the basic things about the great cultures of our northern neighbours from China to Japan. It is not too late to start to learn about them and definitely not at all late to teach the young ones in your part of the world about the great cultures, thoughts, ancient wisdom and philosophies of China and Japan. Enrich their lives and make sure they are not stuck with the standard western thinking. Afterall, Aizwal (or for that matter Kohima and Itanagar) is closer to Kunming than Delhi.

    We are at the cusp of a great powershift from the west to the east so it is a good time to teach the new generation about the new cultural centres. Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.

    Think about it.

  12. Hey, i envy you folks feeling lungleng! That sweet delicious emotion seems to have deserted me. Perhaps due to old age. This post sure is stuff that should call up that.

  13. Mesjey / Calliopia what is lungleng? Please enlighten! Perhaps due to old age???!! Snap out of it. As I gain years I become younger.

  14. Loch, lungleng = nostalgic.

    mesjay, maybe you dont feel that because you don't miss school much. I went to 5 schools in all and I certainly don't feel even a twinge of nostalgia for 3 of them! It's like phew, I'm so glad that's over for schools like Loreto, Shillong. The girls were so stuck-up there!! And I wish you wouldn't call yourself old. You're not. If you were, you wouldn't even have the energy to read all this :)

    Loch, I'm still waiting for that pic of Tip. And "weirdo" is not a compliment in my book!