Remembering 10th std “c” section
As the summer of 1976 in south Bangalore set its rays on the horizon, all mundane forebodings of 9th “C” yr slipped out of my memory, virtually vanishing into thin air. But, unlike before, there’s a difference. The onset of a new anticipation! A harbinger of blissful possibilities waiting to unfold.
It was as though the euphoria of spring, authentically blessed by nature just a few months earlier was back to host yet another symphony on celestial scale. As though “spring foliage” around VHS had been mandated a renewed lease, by push of a reset-button.
Nature perhaps wished to signify, acknowledge start of a unique year for a unique group. Us!
We’re in 10th std “c” section. You, me, and everyone in this group. Yes, we’re glad all things earlier were gone. We loved the latin phrase – tempus fugit!
Do you remember that specific point in your lives? A time when we couldn’t wait to grow up? Hmm… What the hell were we thinking?
If 8th “C” was an orientation of sorts to regimen one’s mindset, it helped me ensconce into lower-than-surrounding-earth ambience of VHS, for the long haul. While enclosures with asbestos sheets making up our class seemed to verge on drudgery during first summer, the curriculum however interspersed with school activities more than made up for mitigation plan.
Science lab, school vision, core competency:
Science Lab we had indeed. Just that it seemed more like a crammed museum than seeming as a thriving place. It was strewn with meagre supply of working apparatus / gadgets related to physics, chemistry, biology. My stints at the Science Lab offered little to help me comprehend difference between theory and practice, and with clarity.
But, notwithstanding impediments, which indeed left a bit to be desired…It was the team of empathetic teachers who made a difference. The mainstream VHS engine inculcating discipline, converting regimen into tangible success.
Much like how we had been showcased Gurudutt R Shenoy, K.G.Ramakrishnan by the school, while we were still in 8th “C”. Just for the same thing to be again validated by state’s mainstream accreditation system in place. We saw best boy, best girl 3 times over. Do you remember?
1974-75: Gurudutt R, Shenoy; Brinda Sitaram
1975-76: Shaji Farouk; K.S.Suma
1976-77: S. Harsha; Sudha G. Rao
So, no qualms for 10th “C”. All got their mental faculties ready to be present in class both in thought, and deed. So much so that nobody wanted to lift hands even in RPrahladaRao’s (RP’s) class when he often queried quizzically, “ Yaaru, yaaru absento avaru kye etthi”
Everybody waiting to savour the yet-to-unfold saga of learning in what would be our last year of basic schooling.
Learning came in all forms, core subjects, languages, school-band, NCC, Volleyball, CPrasanna Kumar Road-Relay, Philatelic Club, Science Club, Gamaka class, Traffic Management training for girls, Ball badminton for all, topped up by the audio-visual sessions hosted in the school’s highly chronicled, seminar hall. In alignment with an aim for well-rounded human-development.
Intransigent Mentors put you between rock and hard place:
Hockey, Cricket, Golf, Horse-riding, Equestrian, Swimming our headmaster K.S. Chandrasekharaiah (HM) had proposed, had deliberated in the board meeting and, got a nod as well. But, the lease of land was pending with un-cleared files with govt. of India.
Just one hitch. The new tracts of land would be allotted in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Although HM was keen to explore for the sake of future generation, NTRaju (NTR), President of Vijaya Vidhya Samsthe, was the slow-link in the decision-chain.
He’d not budge from south-end circle campus. He felt the school looks like a monastery with the saffron paint onto walls and pillars. That’s all what he wanted.
Further, as a New Year gift, he’d even proposed maintaining a herd of deer to complete the look of a hermitage. But, the fact that it would hinder prayer-assembly got the idea quashed quickly. Faculty, NCC, volley-ball, ball-badminton teams all raised concerns. Prayer singers reminded they had to carry-on the tradition of singing “Yam bramha varunendra rudra marutaha….”. So, the majority won. NTR, a sworn animal lover, worried for them as well.
So, seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, whole master plan was shelved for the next generation of thought leaders to deliberate, resolve.
But, unlike so many corporate leaders proactively worrying about future plans, NTR neither groomed next generation of leadership, nor did he allow HM to run the way he wanted to take the quasi-business entity, to next level.
NTR kept on harping on Governance, Governance and, wanted to operate everything in his style, his comfort zone. Although a few confidants try to reason out, try to allude that a change of heart may be imperative in today’s world. He was emphatic in saying, “either my way, or no way”.
What a waste of intellect if a man is so intransigent…..Javaraiah thought as he picked up the last of pipettes for washing in science lab. He could hear the exchanges between the board members so easily that there was no need to eavesdrop…everything was in public domain. The exchanges surely were generating more heat than, light he worried. But, he was helpless…
Audio-visual sessions for mentally inclined, somatically flexible:
Javaraiah was called by LH to set-up a film-show in seminar hall which he was glad to help. He’d put time for his certificate course that previous summer at FTII, Pune. Now, he wanted to cash-in. But, as he was emotionally attached to VHS from his early age, he had chosen to continue the bondage and, stay put in one place so that all his 7 kids complete schooling. At least. And, he liked amoeba films shown so frequently in VHS, a lot!!!
Film-shows there were many, mostly on amoeba, cell-division, mitosis, and meiosis. If anyone put up a request to show. They would be allowed to sit through the catch-up film-show on Saturdays, after school. These film-shows were designed in such a way that they served as a back-up medical check-up as well. If you complained audio-visual session was inaudible, then LH knew what to do. He would put you through a green channel for ear testing.
In seminar hall, you had to listen carefully to audio that came to your ears amidst hordes of other noises …unfortunately all originating from the same equipment.
Replacing this 1950’s equipment had to go through 6 layers of justification in board-meeting and, everyone felt compliance was the best option rather than going through exasperation. But, if you did not complain, you survived the system.
“Ah!”, the films on cell-division glorifying postulates of Robert Hooke…were enjoyable indeed… especially for a pleasant drowsiness they seemed to induce generously onto all of us with fair equanimity. On an equitable distribution basis.
Sooner the film-show arena was packed, and the projector noise sank into the human mind, alas! the Methyl-isocyanate syndrome kicked in. It would cause everyone to succumb temporarily till the audio-visual learning-mode was switched off decisively and, kids allowed to breathe fresh air.
Intrinsic, extrinsic factors converge onto seminar hall proceedings:
The projector diligently took the role of a sleep inducer especially due to:
· low decibel rattle of the projector
· cramming of students in the dark hall like sardines
· film-show timing invariably coinciding with an impending lunch break
· constrained silent ambience
· projector often needing change of reels
· LHanumanthaiah (LH), fixing some snags on the fly
· No expectations set on what to expect in film-shows, especially on relevance with topics being discussed in class.
All these contributed, converged together making audio-visual sessions a key-differentiator in putting many to and, thru… siesta….It blissfully induced everyone some rest. But, siesta in a seminar hall?
Even if LH was impacted by this, he would not show. He had done it enough number of times on a similar projector in Melville, NY. He was a master in feigning normalcy.
For me, it did not matter what the main topic and sub-topics were… I only knew it was something on cytology and cell-division glorifying postulates of Robert Hooke.
Seminar hall cytology film-show triggers ambitions for a movie-buff:
How nice if class topics were tied-in more with film-show content, as well as timing?
But, something to celebrate. Every one of those film-show days, I happily reported to mom, “I saw a film show in school”.
But, for an aficionado of kannada silver screen, the urge would have been to see Rajkumar, indeed. Full blown movies of Rajkumar via 1950s projector in seminar hall, would be sublime…babruvahana, sannadi appanna, girikanye, mayura…would’ve been a catalyst to improve attendance of whole sections at a time. Even NTR would bring in his entire entourage to the monastery.
How could we forget Raghavendra?
Especially, a boy named Raghavendra who had relocated from Varthur and, joined us in 10th ”C”. He used to live and, commute to school from Tyagarajanagar. Just amazing how often he’d escape classes to see a Rajkumar flick …be it in nearby shanthi theatre or, sanjaya talkies. Just vivid in memory.
As though this was not enough, the kid had glibly disappeared once mid-way through YVN’s class. Mid-way is the key word, here. Oh boy!, what a prankster…?
Pedagogues, an overview:
But, we had a set of exceptional teachers who were all-rounders. Batting, bowling as well as, fielding. They brought compassion into the classroom. This included, but, not limited to PSChidambara Murthy (PSC), JRSeetharama Sastry (JRS), TSMohan(TSM), KNarayan Ballal (KNB), MRVidya(MRV), DJShashikala (DJS), SQuesida Banu (SQB), PAKumar (PAK), PManjula (PM), TSMohan (TSM), TKSundaralakshmi (TKS), MNarayana Rao (MNR), YVNagarajaRao (YVN), as well as the highly committed maths teacher MVenkatachalaiah (MV) who had his own way of saying “Cheepay Kaayi” for guava, whenever he quoted an example cost for an article, all… in the course of his class. Do you remember?
Others can add your own favourites. I will agree to it…:-)
Not to forget LHanumanthaiah (LH) who’d convince a novice that he had just arrived from New York, that same day, that very morning … after a 10-yr stint of teaching Physics in a grammar school in Melville, NY. And, sooner he finished saying, he would run fingers of his left hand through his hair to compose himself for further discussion. Do you remember?
Well, surely is it unbecoming of us to judge our pedagogues?
Well, no…just an entitlement of an opinion. A bit of sense of humour, chuckled chaddi chikka as he pondered over yet another VHS get-together in 2018. Mobilizing enthusiasm amongst a lot who have spent half of their lifespan already.
A group which needs to cherish a camaraderie, support each other’s motivation to do the right thing. Shun the snobbishness of elite. Uphold dwindling values of middle-class. No matter where you live, what school district your home is in…or, what car you drive. Alvaa?
An urgent need it is…perhaps, especially before the relevance of this group folds up.
Coming back to our class, we earnestly looked for anomalies, be it LH or, the more innocent CNKrishnaMurthy (CNK). In all his talk during prayer-assembly, and otherwise CNK was closely monitored by our listening skills to account for how many times he uttered the word “Gottaayitenri, Gotthaayitaa!”. Do you remember?
We were mischievous, and as such this is to be seen purely as a sense of humour. We got transaction-hungry that was set in a restless mind topped off by a mix of adrenaline, and physical energy that seemed limitless.
Amidst the trivial many, a vital few pedagogues tried to hone our unbridled, boisterous mannerisms. Looking back, we try to sugar-coat it calling it “spirit of enquiry”.
But, then it is a fact of life. We are at receiving end from our kids in a world where the only thing constant is “change”, 108 diversions for the gullible, plethora of silver-linings for the discerning.
That change from 9th “c” on ground floor behind seminar hall it was a progression to the better. Progression to a newly constructed classroom where you could still smell freshness of the walls. What were missing are the portraits on the walls, like we had in earlier class. We had bid goodbye to Shanthi Swarup Bhatnagar’s portrait. I saw it every time I walked past front of the class.
Was it a coincidence that 10th “c” was directly on top of 9th “c”….let us invite more perspectives on this moot point, as well as the eventful year that it was!… A ploy I adopt to get your inputs for… my next blog.
Have a wonderful weekend!