My Stories (continue) MY FIRST DAY AT THE SCHOOL
BY SATHEESAN RANGORTH
School was a neat building with clean white washed walls. Children’s alphabet learning skills are still visible in the walls, as they had experimented newly learned alphabets to perfection by writing on walls. Fresh coat of paints did not cover it completely There was a small garden with beautifully laid out rose bushes. There were some exotic looking flowers in different colours. Although, I could not know its name, now I can say it was Delia and xenia, daffodils, carnations. Many more flower bushes were neatly arranged. Dear readers I beg your pardon for not writing my English properly. Last blogg was very miserable when I read it after posting. I know there were quite a lot of grammatical and spelling mistakes, which I did not correct, due to my carelessness. However, this time I shall try put my full attention to my work.
As we went, there school was al most full. Most of children assembled in front of their classes talking in louder voices. Suddenly there was hiss and silence fell down the corridor immediately. I found a person waking in with an umbrella using as a walking stick. His forehead was lavishly smeared with holy ashes in three lines and at the centre a lavish dot in sandal paste and vermilion. He was wearing an old coatIt had faded to a thin blackish grey. His hair was folded neatly and tied as a tuft behind his head. He was chanting something while he was walking. He was carrying a jute bag stuffed with a Tiffin carrier and other things. A cane was projecting out of it. From the sudden silence, I guessed that he seems to be an important person. Jayan told me that he is the Head master. At 10 am, a man in khaki trousers and shirt came out with a small hammer and started banging on an Iron bar hanging in front of entrance. The school started. My self and Jayen entered into our class.we are in class 3 A division. Immediately after there was a second bell. Jayan said it if for school assembly and prayer. Students from all classes formed a line and teachers guiding children from behind. We all stood near a plat form in an open ground. Immediately head master came a stood at centre of the stage. A boy from higher class ran up and stood in front of Head master. Later three girls walked slowly to the side of the plat form and started singing a prayer song. I enjoyed watching the whole procedure. After prayer Head master spoke for few minutes
addressing children and he talked about the need of discipline and neatness in the Premises. After national Anthem, we all returned to respective classes.
We both sat in the last bench. I was not tall I could not see front of class and master was also was not seeing me. Class teacher opened a register and stated calling out names of pupils on by one. He also told us to take note of the number he was calling against names and every day he will be calling the numbers only while taking the attendance. My number was sixteen there were forty students in my class. Girls were quite few. Class teacher introduced himself as ‘Kunjambu’. He asked every One’s name. When my turn came, I said my name feebly and he asked me to repeat again then with a nod, he said that he knows my father, who was his teacher as well
When he was in high school. I found my class teacher very handsome and wearing spotless white shirt and white “Dhoti (’ a long cloth that we Keralites wear in country side) In the process of introducing he poked fun at some students who were bigger than most of us, they have a hat trick in the same class.
After introduction, we were asked to take down a dictation in the slate. We were made to stand up and asked to sit down several times. Teachers to get the class’s full attention followed this practice. Dictation started and we all wrote what he was reading in a slow manner. I could write the language with skill.I was successful in getting full marks for the class work. My teacher was impressed
In addition, he asked me to sit on the front bench. During my school days, the facilities in the school and in the classes were minimal. Students were provided only benches to sit. No writing desk or tables like modern schools. We used to write on thin plates of slated rocks framed in soft wood. For writing slate pencils were used. In those days, even exams were conducted in slates. Notebooks were very rare. After dictation we were asked to note down text books that we had to study that year and list of notebooks required for the year. We had to study, A Malayalam reader, then social studies, science and civics. Then math. Same class teacher took all these subjects. It was declared that the class is over for the day as it was first day of the school year. At twelve pm the long bell rang, we were off to our homes.
BY SATHEESAN RANGORATH