A school is, ideally, a place where you gain knowledge. However true this might be, I have to differ on this opinion. It is actually a place where you gain more than just knowledge. It’s a place where one gains values, culture and a whole load of friends who, like you, are just a bunch of mischief makers.
When you pass out, and on a lonely afternoon, get nostalgic about the school days, the first things that come to your mind are the havoc you had created, how you had played pranks on a lot of people, all the headaches you caused for your teachers. In general, more than marks or anything, how you just had a lifetime of fun with all your friends. I am no exception to this. Often, I think about the extremely illogical things that we all did. It puts a smile on my face! Ah! School!
My school wasn’t that exceptional. It was a sort of school that an average middle class kid from Sadashiv Peth would go to (well, most of my classmates lived in Sadashiv Peth, some still do). The school was called Shikshan Prasarak Mandali’s English Medium School or SPM for short. God knows why it was an English medium school. No one ever spoke in English, including the teachers. If there is one thing that we Sadashiv Pethis are known for is the maaz we do for speaking only in Marathi. The school, which is also located in Sadashiv Peth, totally reflected the culture. So overall, one may think that there is nothing special with that- it’s just like any other school. But what made it special were the teachers that it had, and the friends I had there.
Now as it so happened, our school students were all exceptional, the exception to this trend being our batch। Well, it was notorious. There were only two types people- out and out mischievous (vaatrat) ones like sanmit, bangwa etc, and the hidden (“khodkar mule”) like about 90 percent of us. After we had passed out, our ex-principle(who we popularly referred to as “Kaku”) had told me that she was glad that school was finally getting rid of us as no one was able to handle us! As they say, reputations come on a basis of reality, and true to her words, our batch was actually way too rowdy.
But it is these acts that still remain fresh in my memory-acts of complete stupidity, some beyond the scale of repair, some actual damages, and well of course pranks. Some incidents like Madhushree breaking the latch of the doors between the 10th A and B classes so that all of us back benchers could escape the boring geometry lecture by Shraddha Joshi (Wolly as she was known) are vivid. Another was when I and Ameya Joshi used to sit on the first bench near the window; we were caught 11 times in 1 day throwing paper planes on the playground.
These were just time pass acts, to divert our attentions off the boredom caused by the monotonous drooling of the teachers. But there were more serious incidents drawn up by my batch. In our 8th we had set 3 dustbins on fire (I don’t know how that happened) as a protest for our footballing time (PT periods) getting cancelled- the result, no PT for an entire year. Another was a stone-flinging competition we had in our 7th, when two guys were injured and had to be rushed to the hospital. We were all given severe warnings about our conduct. As if that wasn’t enough, in the same year about twenty five of us (basically nearly all the boys from 7th B) were again “fined” for using politically incorrect language(rather acting like any normal 13 year old kid would- like swearing in the off lectures). I actually remember paying 30 rupees as the fine for that!
But the real fun started when we were in the post Diwali term of 8th. This is because it’s the age that the “jodya lavaa” game starts. No one was spared- including me(anyway,, I was a victim from 6th- so by this time, I was used to it). But now the basic propagators were me, Aslekar, and Pranav Kale. We continued to link people for the next two-two and a half years! I remember my mother telling me once that she had received a phone call from Hemlata miss telling that I was a good boy(?) and that I should not indulge in such activities. I was even made a Prefect that year so that it would knock some sense back in my head. But, I had nothing to lose. My exam results were always good, and I was always amongst the top 3, so the teachers couldn’t tell me off for not studying as well! Well, I was eventually stripped off the prefect badge. But who wanted to be a prefect anyway! (although I later regretted that; I was appointed the NIE monitor and so had to carry a ton of newspaper everyday! Mrinmayi, kahi athavtay ka?)
In 8th, we had our first extremely memorable overnight trip to Bhilavdi. Although I don’t remember it that much now, what I do remember is that Ameya Abhyankar crossed from his room to our room on a 3rd floor parafeet so that he could play cards with us at night. Other more notorious people actually went and locked the room of our vice-principle and class teacher from outside. God knows how they got out, but we received hell for that. In the same trip, three of us unfortunate boys had to share a room with this certain guy deemed by everybody to be a girl (SPMites will know who! We are still scared of him). But we ragged him so much that he eventually went off to some other room!
If 8th wasn’t fun, 9th certainly was. I was in 9th A, Pai miss’ class, and although our class was thought to be as ‘tyatlyatyat sensible’ we had our moments of madness. Pai miss was less of a teacher and more of our friend. We used to crowd around her table, sit on it, fill the attendance register for her(stating that everyone was present), and do loads of masti. She was extremely cool with everything. 9th has some vivid memories. The stand out ones are those when our science teacher actually tied up an idiot who was an extremely mischievous kid to the window by his tie! Yet, till the time the teacher came back, the boy had untied his tie knot and was sitting down, gleaming with a sense of victory. He was thrown out of the class for the rest of the week. Another was when I and Ashwin Deshpande were doing the “Rikishi” dance in front of Wolly by wearing goggles. We didn’t get into trouble, but our goggles were kept in the dangerous items pile in the teachers’ cupboard for a week. We got it back, thanks to Neha J, who was the cupboard monitor, and our friend.
In later parts we had a stay over in school for Diwali. I don’t know why the school invited us of all the people, but im sure they (the teachers) regretted it later. We broke 3 tube lights trying to play badminton with a spoon as a shuttle and the tube light as a net. Later the same evening, while trying to remove and hide the broken tube lights, Ashay tweaked one of the fans, till it nearly fell off. We even nicked pav-bhaaji in the dead of the night. When the peon came to fire us all, people tripped him, and apparently, someone hit him. The night was also exciting. Instead of sleeping, we were playing cricket in the classroom, which broke 3 windows(Waghya put his hand through one). We were again all fined- this time hundred rupees, and all had 3 detentions. Actually the whole year was marred by detentions as all of us used to get a remark for misbehavior for having chalk fights in about every alternate lecture. After a couple of months, much to the dismay of all the teachers, most of the diaries had no further space for remarks! (with Sanmit leading the way for the number of detentions- a record; I guess)
The months of February and March were field days. We had a 6 day trip to Indore, which is just too memorable. I remember every single thing! Right from the fight we had with a chhakka(eunuch) in the train to the night where Sagar jumped off his balcony into Preksha’s to and that certain “juniors” were caught watching what they shouldn’t and that famous song “4 vaajle kombda arawla”. I will devote a separate post for this memorable trip. 9th was just way too memorable!
Unfortunately, I had to leave Pune after a month in my 10th standard. Of all the things that I regret missing in my life, missing 10th in SPM certainly wins the number one place. We had made so many devilish schemes of how everybody would never forget and forgive us, which I was not able to execute! I really had a tough time being away from all the action, all the hungama, all the chaos, all the fun, laughter, and the most important- friends. It’s astonishing how separating you from your lifelong friends actually brings them even more closer. It is such things that make you appreciate the meaning of friendship.
I left, but my batch continued its tradition of creating havoc and confusion and damaging property. Eventually, fed up with these antics, our 10th std class was all demoted to a 6th std classroom, while they were given our classrooms, so as to make our life as miserable as possible. But the real deal was that the principal thought that we should look up to the 6th standard kids as role models for behavior! This had outraged(pissed would have been a suitable word... but then…) one and all, and so as a farewell to school, people broke all tube lights, chairs, tables, blackboards, did significant garfitti on every possible thing etc (as ive heard from very reliable sources). However, there was a twist in the tale. To the surprise of one and all, in the batch of no-hopes everyone managed to pass the 10th grade with flying colours(though no one got a rank in the boards, which I guess was anyway expected), with the school getting a generous 100 percent result. Astonishing considering what the situation was only a year ago!
I had some amazing memories and some amazing friends in school- Kedar, Mrinmayi, Ameya Abhyankar, Anupam, Neha, Madhu, Aslekar, Adwait, Joshya, Dheri, Phodya, Bafana, Gogte, Mugdha, Kale, Khaki just to name a few. Actually, barring a handful of people, everyone was everyone’s friend- that was what was most unique about our batch- Unity. It showed throughout our six years in the secondary school. So although we were known wreckers of property and damage causing elements, what the older teachers (those who taught us) now remember us is for this-Unity. A good finish and at least a positive end to our school days!
This school and these friends will always remain special to me, no matter what happens. Man! I really miss those days! I just wish I were able to build a time capsule and relive those days, for old times’ sake. I will never forget incidents such as Thuse proposing Anu in the cycle stand, or Tejas Joshi keeping a bottle of milk on Nagmani Miss’ table on Nagpanchami, or the fact that he was caught drawing a heart on a wall, or that Ranjeet forgot our national anthem, when he was told to sing it in front of the entire school! There are many of these, but more in another post.
Ah well, with so much said, id better end this post, otherwise I will get way too emotional to do the other things I planned for today! But still, Ah! The school days!