Memories of a boy from campus life 50 years ago that made him and his pals into men
As I grab a fork full of masala dosa at the Tajmahal hotel in Abids and gently put it in my mouth, memories of the morning service at the nearby Methodist Boys Higher High School Chapel, where I studied, paraded in front of me, and I almost stood up to sing âIn all things, be men,â which was the motto of our school.
Fifty years have passed and I still behave like a schoolboy whenever I am near my school. I smile inwardly, much to the amusement of the other customers.
One of the most reputable schools at the time, our school boasted (and still does) of a huge soccer field (bigger than the Gymkhana Ground), two basketball courts, a kabaddi land and huge peepal trees dotting the outskirts of the land. When we were bored with the school routine, we used to scarring these trees to escape into the hotel lobby, walk down the steps, pool our money and feast on dosas masala. crispy.
Lunchtime was chaos. We used to finish our lunch in a hurry. Lots of eagles would hover overhead. You would tie a thread to a piece of paper, put a piece of crumbled roast on it and throw it in the air. Whoosh, the eagle would nosy and scoop up the roti, leaving the paper and wire hanging down like a parachute. After that we played kabaddi and soccer until the second bell rang.
Our deputy headmaster, Mr. Gladstone, was coming down the steps with a bamboo cane as big as himself. We hurriedly gathered our bags, rushed into the math class, streaked with sweat and grime, and avoided the exasperated eyes of Mrs. George’s teacher. When we were not playing, we would sit on the steps of our school and play pranks, especially on our English teacher, Mr. Padma Rao. He was a big, rustic guy, and he also took NCC courses. We used to find perverse pleasure in chopping it. All we had to do was shout out his name, of course in a group, like âRao, Rao, Padma Raoâ. He would stop abruptly and give us a stern look, which would be ignored. But someone or the other would play the game with a laugh. The valves open and the chase begins. We climb the steps of Mathews Mansion High School and dive, two at a time, into the college’s Parker Memorial Steps with our English teacher breathing through our necks, until a weak and breathless man is caught. The red NCC boot will fall on him.
The big bell
As evening approached, all eyes would be on the enormous brass bell. Ganta Ramulu, as he was called, covered his ears with one hand and struck the gong. Over three thousand boys would come out of classrooms, as if possessed by the devil himself, raising red dust. It would shame a sandstorm in the Arabian desert.
Outside of school, we were looking for the remaining money. There was this sturdy, roly-poly man with lungi and a brightly colored skullcap. He came from Barkas by bicycle. We could play pranks with our teachers, even cheat on them, because they loved us and let us do our nonsense. But we couldn’t fool this man. Although there are so many dirty hands going up, he knew which boy had paid and who had not. Hats off to him.
Today, despite the concrete structure where an inn once stood, we your alumni remember you, the Methodist boys school.
I will always stand as in the morning assembly, shed a silent tear and sing in a voice choked with emotion: âWe love our school, dear MBHS, we promise you our loyalty. In all things, to be men, our motto, wherever we are, air, land or sea. â
Yes, my beloved school, and my dedicated teachers, you have taught, guided and instilled us to be men in all circumstances.