I was struggling for something to write today when I came upon this prompt – the first school memory. I have a really rich memory of my first day in school and thought of writing it down before I get real old and forget it!
This is also apt as this India trip, I am going to take my kids down and show them my school, which I have never done before – shame on me right!
In Mumbai, we start school either in Nursery (age 3) or Junior KG at age 4. When I was three years old, my sister was an infant and so I was not sent to school then. However, I remember pestering my family to be sent to school and probably thinking my mum will have some peace with me away for a couple of hours a day, I was sent to the school next to my house for a ear. This school put me in a class one year above my age which worked to my favour later. My father studied in another school which was literally 50 steps away from our home, but my mum was adamant that she wanted to send us to my school, which was a girls school and which other children in my building went. This was against my grand parents wishes who wanted us to go to the school my dad, uncle, aunt and assorted cousins went to, especially as the school was a Tamil school and the school my mum had zoomed on in was a Parsi school! Anyway, my mum got her way and I was soon taken to the school for an interview. I don’t really have any memory about the interview, but according to my parents I aced it and got admission not only in my school, but in another convent girls school nearby. Usually for Junior KG, the children are interviewed with things like name, what is this (insert object), alphabets, numbers etc. Since I had already done a year of this class, it was a breeze for me!
Also, when we were studying, we’d enter the school in kindergarten (Nursery or Jr. KG) and only leave after grade 10 which is the equivalent of the O levels. So most of my classmates have known each other from the time we were 3 or 4 years old, which make for very old friendships!
The first day of school in my memory is noisy! Some of the children came in from the nursery, but most joined with me. I remember a particular friend who cried non-stop for almost a week before she settled down. I also remember my neighbour who was in grade one when I started school would come down during recess to make sure I ate what was in my snack box! I mostly remember my teacher – Mrs S. She was already old at that time, maybe close to retirement (really and not from the perspective of a four year old! She had white hair) but was such a gentle and sweet lady! She made sure all the children learnt their three R’s and was so soft spoken that we still remember her, so so many years later!
School used to be half day for the kindergarten class and we would be dismissed at lunch for the primary and secondary sections and I remember queuing up for the bus, holding the bottom part of the uniform of the girl in front of me!
My school changed the kindergarten or the Infant department as it used to be called uniform some years back. When I was there, everyone, from the littlest infant to the school head girl, all wore the same uniform – the only difference being the shirt collar. In kindergarten and primary, it used to be a peter pan collar while secondary used to be shirt collar. Oh and the Friday uniform too – in my school in term 2 or the term after the Diwali holidays, we wore a special uniform on Fridays. Infant and Primary students used to wear something like a dress or frock and Secondary students wear their school uniform shirt with a white skirt. We didn’t wear it in term 1 as that term coincided with the monsoons in Mumbai and imagine wearing white and getting wet and dirty in the rains!
I am getting real nostalgic about my alma mater while writing this post and am really eager to meet her as well as my friends from school! I am super excited to introduce her to BB, GG and my sister’s kids next week!
I hope you liked reading this post as much as I did writing it!! More from India….