In a world of their own

In a world of their own

From the albums

In a world of their own

It felt wonderful when I was recently added to a WhatsApp group by my school friends from Sudharshan Vidya Mandir from almost 35 years back. The school was located in Jayanagar 4th T block and this annual class photograph was taken around 1976. It takes me back to a lot of pleasant times that I had in those days.

The area was full of open spaces with greenery all around and playing on the streets was great fun. The famous Ragigudda Temple in Jayanagar 9th block was considered as the end of South Bangalore at that time. Only a few buses would ply to this area but now, it has grown beyond expectations.

Our school was known for its discipline. Principal Ashwathnarayan used to address us during the assembly every morning as ‘Little Gods’ (meaning all children were equal to god).

Students were monitored closely for their performance in academics and sports and every week, merit cards were given to the best performing student. 

In those days, the student-teacher relationship was very cordial. We were all divided into groups by giving names of prominent people like Kasturba, Sarojini Naidu, Rabindranath Tagore and others. Wearing the group badges was a must. The school used to celebrate Republic Day and Independence Day and an Annual School Day and Sports Day were also organised. We used to participate in all the events.

For the Annual Day, the teachers used to train students for cultural activities including plays carrying a social message. Also, prizes were distributed to winners in sports activities as well as a ‘Rolling trophy’ for the best group. Teachers used to perform plays and it was fun watching them do so.

On the occasion of ‘Children’s Day’, we were allowed to come in coloured dresses and the principal used to distribute cake and sweets to everyone.

All the events and physical training classes were conducted in the ground opposite actor Vishnuvardhan’s house. We met him on several occasions when he came over to oversee the construction of his house.

I vividly remember my first school trip. It was a one-day trip to Shravanabelagola, Belur and Halebidu. We got an opportunity to see the famous Hoysala style of architecture in these places. This was my first trip as a student and before completing 10th standard, I had travelled across a large part of the country.

In those days, there were no hotels on highways. Normally, we would stop at some place where water and a few eatables were available for breakfast and lunch.  Nowadays, there are good roads and luxury buses but back then, travelling was a different experience altogether — the bus engine making all kinds of noises, the rattling sound of the windows, the vehicle being stopped often due to the engine heating up and above all, the condition of the roads. We enjoyed the trip, but by the end of it, all of us landed with a bad throat because of shouting and singing at the top of our voices.

When I joined this WhatsApp group, I was wondering where all my classmates have been. I got to know that they are all well-qualified and placed in good positions in India and abroad. A few have their own businesses while some are successfully running their homes. I own an advertising agency.

A meet was organised on June 11 this year. It was a very memorable day as friends from abroad and other cities had come to attend it. As we met each other after years, our joy knew no bounds. The most joyous moment came when our teachers Prabha, Rajani, Nagalakshmi, Pushpakanekal and Geetha along with the present principal and director Hema Narayan made their presence.

Hema Narayan started off with a small introduction and then memories came flooding of those golden days with Mr and Mrs Ashwathnarayan, mentors for all of us. We recited the school prayer and our first rank holder in seventh standard Sudha Iyengar Vittal recited  some of the Kannada poetries  that we had studied. Vibha, Vidhya, Vishwanath, Moin, Asha, Mala, Jayashree, Somshekar, Srinath, Harish, Lakshman, Shivaprakash, Shobha, Mrudula, Chaya, Delvi, Krishna, Lakshman Prasad, Manjushekar, Ateeth, Vincent, Arun, Nandini, Padma and myself recollected our treasured days as students at Sudharshan Vidya Mandir. Everyone had one point in common to share — the discipline the school instilled in us.

Two of our friends Sridhar and Veena were unable to make it to the meet but Veena had organised tea at her residence for everyone and we had a lovely time at her place. Soon, it was time to leave and we left with a promise to connect more often and reminisce about the days of yore.

Prabhu M B J
(The author can be contacted at prabhugee@yahoo.com)

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