Way before the boards, the theypps, DP’s immortal English classes, and the principal’s office, there was something. Something deep, touching. A story. It’s a story about a li’l lad, about his past, about everything that he holds dear. It’s about his school, the home away from home, his abode, with his buddies. It’s about those mindless chitchats in class, those funny lines, those happy moments, that striking curiosity in many faces, secrets among friends. It’s about staying back, playing hard, doing stuff, and finding happiness in all the little things around you. It’s about how the best of pals became the fiercest of rivals, backstabbing, and in course of time, regaining and rebuilding old ties. It’s about passion, adventure, panache, and everything in between. It’s about how we all, who started the journey together, have come to end it in the same place, only thirteen years after. It’s about meeting newbies, and assuring their place in the pack. It’s about identity, about the wackiest and funniest of nicknames, it’s about fun, pure fun. It’s about boys, with some girls in between. It’s about time, knowledge, it’s about experiences. It’s about life. Yes, it’s about Loyola.
Chapter 1 : The Giant Leap
When you are young and katchcha, you are not the one deciding anything for you. For that you have a lot of people around you. Lower Kindergarten was over just like that. With a lot of new friends, and many new teachers around, I was satisfied with my life.
Then, one fine day, my dad breaks it to me. I’m going to Loyola school. I was first confused, and still confused, come on, I was barely five for god sake! So I did whatever my mom n dad told me. Did the interview in style, and I was in, with fifty other privileged souls. From what my mom told me, and as I barely remember, I had said attitude stuff in my interview, completing with Rishi Kapoor for favourite actor, “Rangoli” and Advertisements for the most watched things in television. Yeah, I was into Hindi films and stuff already. My aunts were, and we used to see “Shanti” on DD, when Mandira Bedi was just a village girl, rather than the stupid fucking cricket mockery bitch you see today. I was taught Malayalam first, then English and I grasped Hindi from television. Yeah, that good old 14″ Optonica B&W TV. It was my favourite electronic thingy in the house. Maybe that’s the reason why I still survive in here. Come on, many of our guys don’t even read bus boards. I’ve heard they’ve installed new Route number system for illiterate people in buses all over the state. At least now they won’t get on the wrong bus!
And so a week before Loyola school reopens for my first year, I get sick and land in bed. I was weak, less immune at that time, topped with dust allergy. It was fun when dust was around. It was my biggest foe. It took me three weeks to get on my feet again. That time my mom finished her job in Kozhikode and my dad was in CET as a lecturer, in Mechanical discipline. Both of them took their time away from work to teach me my first UKG lessons. I started studying.
It was test, I think the first terminal Exam, with the time table going Exam-class-exam-class…, when I was ready to start my schooling. I just sat in my first class. Ann ma’am was telling basic things about wishing the teacher, writing on a four line book and many other things. Maybe she was repeating for me, as I was new. But then I still found many confused souls, and almost all were twice as big as me. But then I felt I was in the groove. There was Karadi* and AR*, my old pals. Karadi was in my class, but AR was in the other division. The two classes weren’t far away from each other either. There were four in each bench, and I think I was in the second bench on the right.
Two weeks went by like that. Just between old friends. The next week the results of the weekly test came. Somehow, I’ve topped the class. There were two others with me. One MY* and a Shemban*. With that result, I began to be noticed. New people, new friends. From that pool of tiny tots, I found out MY and Shemban. MY was a sophisticated guy. A tall chap, first looked French to me. He had this weird Australian English accent, only talked in English, and had a weird freaky hairstyle as though a pot of hair was poured over his head. But then apart from the English, he was a nice chap. He still is. Then there was Shemban. He was disturbingly white, but then he was normal. He talked in his mother tongue and easy made friends with people around him. So they were my very first friends in Loyola. MY and Shemban. Both had some strict followers, following them wherever they went. From sleeping periods to Drawing classes, we all moved on, as a team. First standard came and went. School days came. One year I was all rounder, the next year Shemban, at least that’s how I remember. Shemban had an elder bro, and he used o bring Shemban’s lunch to him at the start of the break. This happened almost every day, so I remember very well. Then at the lunch break, it was kinda a show-off of “Look, what my mom packed me for Lunch, What did your mom pack you??” It was a showdown. But that one ended with a teacher shouting at me for raising up a fish tail at Shemban. There were School day programs, and we were there to play our part. There were new friends. Kozhi* and Abhi*, one was a short smart guy, who talked about stuff that was way over us, and latter was a tall fellow with a build, who played football with expertise like Karadi. It was this year that we moved to a part of school called the ‘Junior’ School. It was a building in the shape of a Horseshoe, with some fifteen rooms in a row, and an easily camouflaged lavatory and toilets. The building was majestic. It showed off Laurie Baker’s expertise in architecture and planning. It was an apt place for learning and fun, with a spacious quadrangle and a ground of its own. We felt special that time. All the seniors chettanmaars were kept away from the Junior School Ground. But then we had our own favourite place in the main building too. And the place we often preferred was the Vice Principal’s office. No, it wasn’t punishment. Pullickal Father, as we called him, used to give us all sorts of stuff when we went to meet him. It ranged from sweets to books. It was fun.
That time, my younger bro, Niker, had just joined school. So, I kinda felt like a more experienced Loyolite, teaching him the ways of the Kindergarten. Soon Class 2 was over. The best thing about that year was that, we learned Running hand, from a very good teacher, Murray ma’am. She eventually converted English classes to something worth looking forward to, and the language worth studying. Come on, We all hated “Fun with Grammar”. It was the biggest mistake by MacMillan. It was a sick book with umpteen times recycled paper, which smelled like closet tissue, and which featured serif fonts. It was a killer book. All of the teachers knew that. That’s why they didn’t allow us taking that book home. It was their burden to bear. Maybe they didn’t want the book to be destroyed, burned and then urinated upon. We hated the book so much. So the bundle remained in the class cupboard with Library books mainly featuring Enid Blyton. We had library periods once a week. I think it was Fridays last period. Ma’am used to give us random books, and I ended up reading Disney’s books. And, so without any further stuff, I cannot recall, Class 2 came to an end. Annual exams, 6 page Newsletter, and Summer Holidays came.
to be continued…
PART 2 >>