I dedicate this blog to my dear old  friends with whom I had been for seven years  ,  from class one to class seven , in a boarding of S.T.THOMAS CONVENT  SCHOOL , OLAVAKKODE ,  PALAKKAD .  Actually  more than  friends  they were my sisters  with whom I shared my bread, my bed , my naughtiness, my mischievness, my happiness , my sorrows  and what not  all my childhood memories are blended with them . Though it was a short peroid  of seven years  it holds memories for hundred years.

Once  when I was in class ten  I had been to  CALICUT  airport to receive my father ,  a beautiful  girl came up to me and asked ,  “Are you Shoba Menon  who was in the boarding of S.T.TH OMAS CONVENT ? ”  To my utter amazement she said , she was PADMINI  ,   four  years senior to me  and  who was with me in those golden days. She said ,  she was  leaving  to  BOMBAY  and have got engaged with  RAVI , who was in LONDON .  She looked more beautiful but her curly   hair  have changed to long one.

She was the most most beautiful girl  not only of our boarding but even of our whole school. She had won many trophies in district and state youth  festival competitions  for Bharatnatyam , Mohiniyattam , Kuchipudi ,  and group dances. Every one in the boarding were fans of  her.

Once  busy  in shopping  for my   brothers wedding ,  a  soft pat at my shoulders made  me to  turn back and a  respectable lady  in her thirties  ,  pointing her fingers towards me asked ,  “You  Shoba Menon ,  Am I right ? ”  She introduced herself ,   “Me BEENA RAJAGOPAL  , now senior correspondent   in    “MATHRUBHUMI “.   How I wondered  to see the eight standard  girl  who was with me  ,  have changed  and  grown up to be  an   owner of  such a  strong  personality !!!

We girls used to represent our competitors to other schools  where the youth festivals performed. Those were very tough competitions and  we  support our participants by  cheering , clapping and  shouting with all our spirit. We return back  singing and dancing ,with huge trophies in our hands.

In the beginning , our seniors were provided rooms upstairs and we juniors were in down stairs. Later  , our  boarding SISTER  found   the senior girls  flirting  through their windows   with the boys  standing in queue  to seek a glance at those beautiful girls. She shifted them to down stairs and we juniors were send upstairs.

In my room   were twelve SWEET   girls of class seven and class eight. We did all the mischievness and naughtiness in that cute , charming room.  At  night  we  used to change our rooms    to meet our friends in other room . Each  day  our  SISTER  visited the rooms io watch   whether the lights have switched off  and the inmates have  gone to bed. We managed to keep our  pillows straight  covering it with bedsheets and she used to return back satisfied  on seeing ,  all of us in deep sleep.

LATHIKA  ,  a beautiful girl with long straightened hair of class eight , was one who shared my room. Once ,  her parents came to take her back home. It was not a vaccation time and we girls wondered , why is she packing all her clothes and books with her. She looked shy and one of my friend  said  , “She is going to get married” .  We  saw our seniors  wishing her and I too beleieved  she was going to get married in that very small age. Two weeks later she returned back wearing new dress  and looked even more beautiful. Our teachers and seniors welcomed her with sweets and flowers and I stayed wondering , what  had happened with her.  Later   I  knew she have grown up to become a complete girl.

PREMLATHA  , our ENGLISH  MISS   was  unmarried  but  her  features showed  she was little aged.  A man in motor cycle often visited her. She always said , she had a resemblance with  ” POORNIMA JAIRAM”  , a  renowned  actress of  that  time.  Actually , she looked  like a  jocker with dark lipsticks and overmakeup.

Once  on our free time ,  ME and my  friend RITA MADHAVAN   perfornmed a mimicry , imitating PREMLATHA  MISS .  We imitated her way of  walking ,  her way of  speaking ,  and her way of dressing .  She used to wear  silk  sarees with one layer in  front  and we used a  silk shawl to imitate her.  My  friends supported us with  good  applause.

The other day  I had a quarrel with  my  friend MEENA  , who shared her bed next to me.  The very next day  she  went straight to the staff room to meet PREMLATHA  Miss and  complained of our perfomance.  On our Englih class   PREMLATHA  Miss  , with a  long cane stick in her hand  called both of us to stand in  front of the class and ordered to   perform the mimicry once  again. We both stood still and she began beating us twenty one times each  on our small tender legs.  Blood shoot up and with severe pain we went up to our seniors to complain this.  They consoled us but didn’t show the courage to question the proud  PREMLATHA  Miss.  Even my friends who supported us with applause dared to speak a single word against her.  MEENA , No regrets or complains , Love to see you 🙂

MINI MARIA MATHEW  ,  yet another good  friend of  mine was  beautiful  with   sharp dark  eyes.   A  dacecollar boy  of another division used to wait for her in our school corridors . Gradually she began talking with him and once our SCIENCE MISS   caught them together. On seeing  ME  waiting for my friend , she asked – ‘Do you too have a lover’? I was shocked for a moment, then replied , ” No not now , but I  might find one in future.”  I am  forty one now and this was an outrageous remark to make more than  eighteen years ago. 

REEJA  m y  friend , competed with ME  in a light music competion   held in our school.  As always  engaged with other mischeivness , I didn’t take proper rehersals.  She ,  who took competitions seriously  did hard work and presented a beautiful song.  Me , the next participant started singing with much confidence but forgot the lyrics in the middle.  Stunned for a moment , I managed to complete the song by adding my own lyrics .  The JUDGES and friends  greeted ME  with huge applause , but no one noticed the game I have played.  To my utter surprise I  won first and  REEJA   got second in the competition.

Later in the evening , I erased my name from the certificate  and wrote REEJA’S  name in place of it.  At night I went up  and handed her the certificate  .  She hold me tightly and kissed  ME  in both my cheeks.  Still I used to wonder from where did I get those four lines from?

Once our boarding SISTER   gave us permission to see a devotional  movie which  was playing in one of the theatres  of our  town .  We were represented by beautiful  unmarried teachers , who stayed with us in the hostel . Teachers and senior girls preffered to see  a Malayalam movie named  ‘ VENAL’  . It was an adult movie  and the hero and heroine were SUKUMARAN  and JALAJA  respectively .  On our way back , teachers  made us to promise  to keep it as a secret.  Our SISTER   was waiting for us in the parlour and on seeing us she asked to explain the story . My friends looked startled and my teachers rolled their eyes in a special way .  My WARDEN  apprached  ME  to describe it  and  I boldly began explaining – “JESUS CHRIST   a  hero  married  an heroine JALAJA  and  later on  JESUS  left  her and JALAJA  married  another man .  SISTER  looked rudely at the teachers and later my  SCIENCE MISS  pressed both my ears with her sharp curved nail. 

Yet another  incident I still hold with a sense of guilty consious , happened with me and my dear fried USHA BALACHANDRAN  . We both lost our Malayalam texts  and  our MISS  made  us both  to stand  outside the class for the whole day.  Pointing her long cane stick she warned , she will use it the other day if we didn’t bring the texts with us .

On evening we both began searching for our texts on every nook and corner of our room . At  last I got a text from the lower basement of a cupboard , with no cover and no name on it . I said  it was my book and USHA  persisted it was hers . The book was presnted before our WARDEN  and she with her long cane stick asked us to tell the truth . USHA   showed an  artwork done by her in one of its pages  and claimed it was hers . The long cane stick of my MALAYALAM MISS   played swinging in  front of my eyes and by closing both  my eyes I promised it was mine. We  both got enough  from both our SISTER  as well as from our MALAYALAM MISS .

Again there are  lots and  lots of  MEMORIES  related with my  other friends BEENA KURIEN , REENA JACOB , RESHMI , ROSHNI ,  SHIRLY CHAKO ………and if I go on  writing  each of them I couldn’t take my fingers from the key board.