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.