On the side of the hill as the valley explodes; GEORGES!
Memories painted among plain frescoes. A subliminal form of art talking about the most trivial things that indefinitely define all forms of happiness. Pursuing happiness that only time can reverse. A time long forgone and though preserved lost in the blink of an eye. If only, if only I knew that these are the memories that are the true pursuits of happiness; I would’ve embraced each moment and made it my own. Hugging my foes for they make up malicious fights the most happiest of memories. For when I look back now, they seem so Kiddush.
St.Georges Holmes aka Laidlaw Memorial School. I still don’t know why we had 2 names? Maybe, the British wanted Georges and the Indians mispronounced it as Laidlaw. Jaarrjus (Georges) became Laidlaa (Laidlaw). We are capable. Trust me.
Time FLIES in Georges. I remember the abundant pine trees and how as a kid I used to play football with the pine cones. We used to call it ‘gutter goals’. There were two CLEAN gutters on either side and the objective of the game was to kick the ball on the other side of the gutter. You have to keep moving forward and the goal has to be ahead of your opponent. I remember how I spoilt most of my shoes kicking the damn thing!
We used to get a good share of spooky stories from our seniors about how every tree in Georges is haunted and how some dorks practiced black magic and what not. We did have some real kooks.
I used to make it a point to wake up early and use the loo just to get that 15 min of extra sleep before a sadistic 2 km odd run and a grueling exercise at 6 in the morning with temperatures varying from 14 to 20 degrees.
Wash up, get ready and then we had to study in the morning. Doesn’t matter which cottage you are put up in. You have to be in your classes by 7 to start studying. If your late and if the teacher in charge had a bad night with his misses, you get wannabe Sachin’s strokes on your bum. I still don’t remember if I studied a single bloody thing in the mornings.
Once you start with such a miserable day you are put to more misery (making it very clear that your parents put you in the god dam school for stealing the candy at home) by stuffing yellow things with white outlines (apparently an egg) for breakfast. However, the bread is the softest you will find in all of Asia. I mean, the Chinese are the only closest competition but they don’t know squat. And, even if some genius does make awesome bread the government is going to shoot him anyways :P.
Later we have chapel and we have to line up in three’s with our one arm distance until the principal arrives in his tuxedo. Depending on the princi’s (toad affectionately) night with his cricket match, he may make us stand on the ground for half an hour or get on with the prayers inside the chapel. (Legend has it that if India loses a match nobody goes near him! Also, if you want a favour from him, PRAY that India wins EVERY match) Towards the fag end of my days in Georges I realized that sweeping the class was much more fun and gave me the opportunity to bunk chapel and hang out in the woods for some time.
After that we have classes till 4 where people with robes rant about some bolshie and Greek mythology. We also had western abstract art (mathematics) and DUMB charades (History) between boys and girls. I mean, how can I forget how the manner in which i learnt about the Aryan civilization?
After being woken up from the deep slumber by the death knell we had to run down to our cottages and change into our Physical Training kits. Assemble in front of the dining hall and have your tea. After tea is the grueling wait for cross country. I can picture the fear and every other synonym for fear lingering in my head as we waited to complete a 7 km jog (for a junior) 9km (for a senior) in 30min and 45 min respectively. Only the most sadistic of people would’ve ingeniously planned such a horrific act. If you don’t make it within the stipulated time and even if you are a minute or 2 late you get wannabe Sachin’s strokes on your bum. Talk about discipline! This is a whole new level.
We get an hour’s time to breathe after the jog and this time is mostly spent on reminiscing chocolate soufflé, freshly baked cakes, and chicken kebabs from home. The death knell rings again and in a matter of fifteen minutes you have to be in the dining hall with one arm distance to begin the phase 3 of the torturous march inside the dining hall; where we will be TREATED with Chapattis that are actually discarded Formula-1 tires. We also ship in the famous New Zealand balls whose tastes are associated with the word. After the sumptuous meal we hit the classrooms for studies. After an hour and a half of looking at each other’s pathetic conditions and the Nazi refugee camp like treatment we make the silent and fateful walk to our dormitories. Some people hit the bed with their shoes on out of pure exhaustion and some faint during the course of the walk to the dormitory. There are the chosen few who wash their socks and their inner wear. I would like the reader to believe that I am part of the chosen few.
(Sometimes I wonder why I dig my own deep grave. No seriously! Girls, I am a very clean physically and mentally. My mom always told me that cleanliness is next to godliness! (like I would listen to that cliché :P) There I go again!!! Damn! I ain’t writing anymore. Shhhhh!)
Needless to say the 4 years in Georges were my BEST. I am forced to say that after my dad spent nearly 8 lakhs or maybe more on my maintenance. When I have my old school meets and eat the food in Georges it is next to none. I miss the climate, the ‘all is well’ weather, the camaraderie, the fights, the seasonal games, the competition, the world’s slowest internet connection in the labs, the desks painted with ‘my parents don’t love me’ , the smell of H2S; which by the way we had to like and get accustomed to every Chemistry class, the toe jam, the pots, the girls whose skirts get shorter with each passing year, the caning, polishing the planks every Sunday, dissin’ with a select few, bribing the barber for keeping our hair long (100 BUCKS!!!!) , bunking to a village to buy 10paisa honey sweets, bribing the cook for an extra piece of chicken, building camps in the jungle, eating cloggers, and hitting the loo immediately, growing passion fruit in the jungles, chasing wild boars, getting bullied by seniors and bullying juniors (pass on the tradition.), making your bed, polishing your shoes, intellectual conversations (yeah right!) in the washroom, stealing bananas from the kitchen, playing gilli danda and marbles and the list is endless.
For those of you in school… these will be THE BEST DAYS OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE. Live it to the fullest, you will know the value of these days only once you leave ooty.
crafted by Adi