Moving on with a bow


The highpoint of our primary school life at St Anthony’s was our annual sports and Christmas concert. ‘Little Anthonians’, as we were called, waited eagerly for the two events. Our parents went a step further. They stood on benches, chairs and even ran across the auditorium and playfield to capture the magical moments of their little boys on film and video.

And moments there were a plenty — embarrassing, awkward, happy and sloppy. Little boys dressed in frocks, skirts, saris, ghagrha-cholis, plaits, wigs, tiaras, jewellery, make-up and high-heels. We performed skits, sang and danced. Somebody’s wig would fall off, or somebody’s skirt would slip down to roars of laughter from our amused parents. Each boy performed in some small way and we felt united and special in this collective experience.

For our passing out ceremony, in the dark auditorium, 150 fourth-graders strode in unison to Abba’s ‘I have a dream’. The left palm we placed on our chests and in the right we held a tiny torch which sent a glow on our tender faces. The parents couldn’t contain their tears to this solemn farewell.

Our sports day topped it all. Our PT teacher, Emmanuel, was a hard taskmaster who prepared us for months for the parade, relays and pyramids. Like clockwork the events were conducted with the help from every teacher. Months of hard work showed up in performing the pyramids. We fell at times but climbed all over again balancing our skinny bodies to the cheers and delight of our parents.

Our simple school motto, “Do well all you do” has somehow stayed with us and I hope it will stand us in good stead as it has for the thousands who have graduated from this great institution. The nuns must have done something right.

But sadly, this first home of ours will close its doors. We have moved on to a bigger school. It’s fine, but the feeling is just not the same. A group of seventh graders will be there one last time on sports day to bow, salute, and shed a few tears. For the ones who miss sports day, there is still the Christmas concert and graduation.

Dear Rahul Dravid, you are our most famous Anthonian. Would you like to join us? I wonder what Convent Road would be like without the laughter of the little boys. Finally, dear sisters, please keep the statues and the grotto for old times’ sake.

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