Monday, August 8, 2011

School Memories Of A 59 Year Old Mother! (Part - I)

I feel funny thinking about writing about my 'school days'! My sons have finished their education and are working now, I am writing about my school days! I feel, at any age, school memories will be there, hidden in a corner of our mind! I have noticed the happy faces of my sons', my nieces', when they talk about their school days...their whole faces lighten up and voices raise!

I didn't study in the same school throughout...I studied in an Udupi (Karnataka) school up to V Std., in Kannada medium and then our family shifted to Chennai. Learnt Tamil within an year and joined V again in Tamil medium (can never think of this happening to my children, but in those days, people with 5 children, did not have much choices...the children must go to school, that is all!). Then joined VI in English medium. It is not a convent though! We had sections from A to K. A section, Telugu medium, F Section, English medium (It changed to B section after 9th!). All others were Tamil medium classes. One subject was Tamil. We had Hindi from IX but due to Hindi agitation, it was abolished totally from the curriculum(1966-67) in the middle of the year. I learnt Hindi privately.

We had music classes, weekly one period, P.T. classes, twice a week, I think. Needle work and craft, one period (about which I am going to write more here!). The class rooms were quite big. I remember the class strength as 33 - 35 (I can imagine the classroom board - date, the strength and no. of pupil present were written on the top right side corner!). We had prayers in a huge hall, special prayers in a small temple inside the school where Krishna Jayanthi, Ganesh Chaturti etc. were celebrated with special songs (I was always there in the music team!). We had a huge playground. A canteen too, where poori-masal was 15p. per set! I don't remember paying any fees (maybe I have forgotten), but paid Rs.10/- as SSLC exam fee (XI Std.), which I remember clearly!

Though the medium of teaching was in English, we mostly conversed in Tamil in our class...except a select no. of students who must have come from houses where English speaking was common. So, even now, my English has got regional language influence, unlike my sons'! It can never be 'flawless' English, I know! They 'think' in English, I think in Tamil or Kannada, according to the situation (this old post of mine discusses about 'the languages in which we think'!).

Well, now, to the treasures I have stored all these years, through many transfers and shifting of houses! I had more, but they were torn and so I remember throwing them out...otherwise a series of posts would have been made to read by all my escaped!

I thought it might be interesting to know, how our needle work class was taught in those years...starts from the album cover! All the patterns were stitched by hand from blouse to petticoat!

This is my Needle Work album! Std. VIII 'F' (1966!)

1. Top Sewing and
Whipping! (this word in stitching, is new to me, now!)

2.Pleating and Gathering!

3. Petticoat!

4. Full Skirt! (Looks like English lady's skirt with 18" waist - 'Gone with the wind' Scarlett's waist!)
5. Blouse!
6. Girl's knicker!
7. Bodice with paper cutting! (my spelling here was 'bodies'!)

8. Smocking! (don't laugh, I had written 'smoking'!)

9. Aplique work? (My spelling was Aplit work!)

10. Kerchief - Rolling hemming!

11. Patching, Dawning and Button hole (Don't check my spelling!) stitch!

12. Different types of is a long list! I remember my son doing this in his school and he enjoyed doing embroidery!

13. Holly hocks (this name is new to me, now!) and Short & long stitch!

14. Blanket stitch, One line stitch and Laisy Daisy!

15. Cushion cover!

16. I thought I will show how the models were stitched at the backside of the pages!

I don't write in long hand now as I was writing in those days! I think I must conclude this part of my school story with this:

I distinctly remember this incident: English was not a common language in middle class homes in those days. So whatever we learnt from school was new for us. After I finished V in a Tamil medium school, I wrote the entrance exam in the new school. In the question paper, a question asked us to translate Tamil words into English words. The Tamil word was 'Janaadhipathi' (President) and I just translated it and wrote 'Head of People'!

Continues to my teenage years...

Edited to add on 9.8.11: Caption for full skirt (4)!

Read the second part here


Renu said...

In those days schools taught similar things I think, I also learnt these things:)..and I paid 2.50 paisa fee/month.

kavita said...

Poori - masala 15 paise/plate !My mother in law has got similar needle /stitch work samples from her school days.I loved looking at your book .And lol at 'bodies'.I always wondered about your love for Hindi music and also used to be surprised when found you sometimes comment in very good i know the reason.Have enjoyed reading this post so much and eagerly waiting for the next part.

KParthasarathi said...

It is a great surprise for me that you have preserved the school album even after four decades.The hand work seem good.Which school was it you studied at Chennai?

Bikramjit said...

THose were the days .. the good old days for sure ...

Looking forward to the teenage days now ... :)

lovely nostalgic post ..

Destination Infinity said...

I remember stitching in my school days too - I was made to kneel down in auditorium for not completing my homework in stitching!!

Studying in Kannada medium and shifting to Tamil medium - Is it even possible? That in itself is a huge achievement, I guess.

Destination Infinity

Vijay Menon said...

MY Gawwd you still have that VIII F album :O I don't have the nb I used last yr

Ashwini Sriram said...

This is such a fascinating post maami!!!

The album is lovely! :) When I read diaries I had written as recently as ten years ago, I get all nostalgic! So, I can imagine how you must be feeling every time you open this album!!!

Your post took me back to the "simpler times" that I have often heard about but have unfortunately never witnessed!

Waiting to read your next.

Ugich Konitari said...

This is totally priceless. And how amazing that you have preserved these things over so many decades. I remember doing most of these things in our needlework class in school in Pune , where our teacher was a very old Parsi Gujarati Ma'am, who made us do all the smocking, the gathers , the hemming, and the different stitches on the handkerchief too. I remember doing a frock, and never getting the sleeves right. At the end of the school year, i remember not being too enthused with the needlework marks, going home , cutting off the sleeves, and wearing it as a sleeveless frock after that. And even we called it "bodies". :-)

Loved this post, and look forward to the next part !

Sandhya said...

Renu: You paid Rs.2.50?! We won't get even one nimbu for this price, Now!

Kavita: I still remember the taste of the poori-masala - it was a bit on the sweeter side with more onions and a bit yellow in colour and very very tasty! Pooris were not crisp but damp with masala on top of it!

Your mother is still preserving it? Interesting! Can we have a look? She must have been good. I remember reading that she made shawls at home.

Influence from my mother's side. Even my grand mother used to hear Binaca Geet maala in those days and I think I had mentioned about her favourite Rafi/mukesh songs in one post! So my family is familiar with Hindi. My grand father was a Sanskrit scholar and he had taught Sanskrit to his daughters too and it was easy for them to read/write Hindi. I officially(!) learnt it privately! I was quite good in Hindi even before that (though grammar mistakes surface often!).

Thank you Kavita!

KParthasarathy: It happened...I have got some school magazines too! I have displayed the school name in the album cover! If you are familiar with Chennai's old schools, it is not difficult to decipher!

Thank you!

Bikram: Yes, this is a nostalgic post! I thought even you will write some things about your school days, here! They are the best memories for everyone, I feel! We were innocent children once upon a time!

Destination Infinity: Kneel down for not doing needle work homework?! Poor boy!

I know that you cherish your childhood memories, D.I. and remember even the smallest incident which happened in your life. Waiting to read your auto biography!

I wonder how we children coped up with the language and whole atmospheric transition! We were children but my mother had a tough time, shifting to a complete different environment. We had many relatives here, who helped us at that time. Later on, within 2 years, she became a voracious reader of Tamil novels! She used to quote from Ponniyin Selvan, Sivagamiyin Sabatham etc., often!

Thank you, Destination Infinity!

Vijay Menon: Welcome here, Vijay!

Now, you know how precious your past becomes! One day you might enjoy going through the old books. I am preserving some record books, non-detail books etc. of my sons too!

Thanks for the comment, Vijay!

Sandhya said...

Ashwini: We re-live those days when we see old things, Ashwini! Whether those were the happiest days or not, we tend to ignore the negative things and remember the happy things, so we feel happy! So, preserve your memorable things for the future happiness!

Like I said 'past days are the happiest days' will be for you too...yours also were carefree days with parents giving 100% importance to you for every step!

Felt happy to read your comment Ashwini, thank you!

Ugich Konithari: The packet just survived, that is all! I was the one who did all the packing while shifting houses and again arranging things at the new place, so it is still there!

You wore what you stitched in school?! Then it must have been perfect minus sleeves, though! Yes, we gave importance even to 'needle work' classes in those days!

Is 'bodies', the right word, then? I don't know, Ugich. I thought 'bodice' was the right word!

Thank you!

kavita said...

My Hindi teacher was Padma mam , she too belonged to Chennai .I have very fond memories associated with her .
I will share my mom-in-law's sample work sometime in fb.At present she is fed up of my kids ,they mess up with her things all the time .I have gifted her one long scale to scare them but nothing seems to :)

Deepa said...

What a lovely trip down memory lane. Using a needlework book!! Some of the names are familiar to me. Like blanket stitch, lazy daisy!! :)) Nice read Sandhya. Take more such trips.

Ugich Konitari said...

Actually , "bodice" is the correct word. But what amuses me terribly is how we all started calling it "bodies " without thinking.....same mistakes made in our time , across all latitudes and longitudes. :-)

And no, the frock wasnt perfect. I couldnt get my hands into the sleeves. We were supposed to make it in our own size. So I just wore it sleeveless at home. Unlike today, we didnt dare turn up our noses at clothes....

Sandhya said...

Kavita: Your Hindi teacher was from Chennai? Nice!

It would be nice to see your mother in law's work!

You have gifted her a scale?! I was laughing while reading it and it went to coughing! Great family!

Deepa: Lazy-Daisy? Huh, one more new this the correct word then? I have learnt a new word today, Deepa! Thank you, haha!

Ugich Konithari: Because English was still alien to us...yes, we did the same mistakes throughout our country!

' Unlike today, we didnt dare turn up our noses at clothes....' You are very right, here! Thank you!

radha said...

You kept the album so carefully! I had a mean needlework teacher. She cut up a sample of mine with her scissors, just because I redid the seam thrice and it did not meet her standard. I hated the class. After that I got my mother to do all the sewing samples that did not have to be done under her watchful eye.

R. Ramesh said...

maam kalakitingo pongo...supera irruku...haha Janaadhipathi' (President) translated as "Head of People'! athil thavaru onnum illenu ninaikiren..coz my tamil and yr tamil r same...keep writing like will help u build an autobiography...wishes always

Varunavi said...

Good that u kept that book for so long,thanks for showing us ur supw work....

I too have a similar book like urs in which i pasted all the stitches i learnt in that year and also the peticoat,frock etc...

When i read ur post in the morning i was all smiling as it brought my school SUPW classes and i searched for my book and i got after searching a lot..

Poori for 15 paise....

A said...

It is good you have something of your childhood. I don't have anything. Actually I don't even remember much.

Great pictures.

Sandhya said...

Radha: That is a very bad experience! It will stay in our mind forever, Radha.

I used to stitch a lot, even my blouses. Now, got bored and stopped stitching completely!

Ramesh: This is the longest comment you have ever written, I think! Thank you, Ramesh!

Varunavi: Yes, poori for 15p and Vadai for 5p!

Waiting to see your display of school work. It is funny to see ourselves as children!

A: You might remember about your schooldays when you meet your classmates or your cousins who are of your age. More than me, my sister remembers a number of incidents from the past!

Next time when you visit or go across your school, you might remember many things, I feel!

SM said...

good old memories
nice post

Swaram said...

What a sweet post Sandhya. Bahala channagide :) Loved it!

Hema said...

Sandhya ma'am your write up reminds me of my needlework class during class.. I too have my note till today. Though my work wouldnot be as cute or neat as yours. Its so true when my English teacher said, you get to go to school only once your whole life.. You can always join college, but not the school and definitely only one childhood full of innocence

Sandhya said...

sm: Thank you, sm!

Swaram: Thank you Swaram!

Hema: Even at this age, I remember a lot about my school days, Hema! Please treasure whatever you have, for many more years! You can see them again and again after a certain age...we feel happier!

Thanks for the nice comment!

Megha said...

I am visiting your blog for the first time, and I loved going through this journey of school days :)

I had learned embroidery in school, :) It is fun. These days not many girls know it here around Delhi.

School days make us nostalgic, reading your post.. I almost remembered my Activity periods in school, and P.T. classes.. :)

*Unforgettable* ..


Megha.. :-)

Sandhya said...

MEGHA: Welcome, to my blog, Megha!

Most of the girls/boys cannot stitch even a button in their shirts, nowadays, including my children! Nothing is repaired now! Throw it and buy new clothes!

Thanks for the comment, Megha!

Usha Pisharody said...

Loved this.And your samples, lovingly kept, over the years, are treasures! While I disliked needlework in school, I've taken it up over the past few years, and love doing it :) Sigh. How our likes change, sometimes!

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