This DOOBLOG is dedicated to all of us GABRIELITES/ANG-DEPSIITES who, during the class, have spent their energy and talent resources in creating DOODLES while going through the motions of listening to the teacher. HAPPY DOODLIN' ! ! ! !
Our School _ A Touch of Nostalgia
Our school was established in 1962 in the residence of the then General Williams. The first Principal, Bro. Julian and his assistant Bro. Lambert, came to this city and developed the school from scratch...Not from scratch exactly as they had the wholehearted support of the army and their own organisation,The Society of the Brothers of St.Gabriel's.However, the two priests were good at their work. The school was meant to primarily facilitate in the education of the wards of the army officers, as there was no English medium school for boys. And, this appeared to be a heaven sent blessing for the citizens of the town; at least for those for whom education was primary and who had the means to avail such.
I remember very distinctly, the winters of 1962. I had just returned from Mussoorie to spend my winter holidays midst the family. One day, I was summoned to the sitting roomby my father. A padre, in his long white cotton robe (with a chinese coller) sat in a sofa facing my dad. Over tea, and by the time I got the jist of the conversation, Dad was somehow convinced enough to agree to have me admitted in this new school, a local school, St. Gabriel's Academy,which promised to provide education through the medium of English, at par with that provided by Convent Of Jesus & Mary, Hampton Court, Mussoorie, my school in Mussoorie. (formerly in U.P now in Uttrakhand) Preperations were begin for the change of education institute. Dad's word was Law ! ( patriarchal society and all that )
In the begining, i.e. the winters of 1963, we were only about 15/17 students.
The classes, namely the V and VI were conducted in, what is now, the residence of the Brothers. Those days, it was not only the that but also the school. The kitchen and the dining room havent changed much from the those days.
As we were promoted each year, so too, a new class was declared open and finally came the year when the foundation was laid for the present building. The amy came like a colony of ants and before we knew the building has been completed and inaugurated. And we shifted into the new building but with old furniture. What airs we gave ourselves ! !
The uniform was unique at those times. White shorts and shirts with blue/gold tie and belt, in the summer. This hasnt changed.
The Music -- it was the ending of the old world charm.Elvis Presley was on the wan, music had been undergoing a sea change. At this point,I was introduced to singers of pop like Cliff Richard, Egleburt Humpadink , The Dave Clark Five, Herman's Hermits, the Rolling Stones with the likes of the England based groups led by The Beatles and numerous others such as The Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits, The Animals, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Hollies and later in the decade, The Who, flooded U.S. airwaves. These were the years that saw transition music. Pop, blues started taking up huge followings.
Tight pants, (something similar to the one that are worn these days) not as tight as they are now, were very much in vogue with pointed high heel shoes (the cowboy type heel), and the usual jeans, though rarely worn by us kids.
On the other side, Pakistan had persistently tried to breach our borders and failed. Our army, one of the best in the world, gave them such a trashing they had to retreat and retreat fast.
Back at school, things were moving at a leisurely pace. In between bunking, the fun of learning under the open sky and warmth of the sun (during the winters). While during he summers, it was the coolness of the high ceillinged halls of the residence that kept us interested in the lessons. Ah ! The residence is the same today as it was in those yester-years.In the later years as we moved up in the classes, our Class VIII was shifted to the garage in which, nowadays is parked the car.
A Mrs. Gaur, ( a Britisher married to an Indian Professor) was our English teacher. Maybe it is her influence that has always kept me connected to literature. What I remember distinctly about her was the artistic talent that she influenced with. She had a unlined notebook, the pages of which had poetry and each page was illustrated with sketches ( pertaining to the particular poem) in India ink. They were very beautiful and impressive. Her class was a pleasure to attend, though she made us go through the gruelling process of understanding and working at the good old Wren & Martin.
Among the Brothers, it was Bro. Lambert, who had impressed me the most. He gave us the gift of the writing. He taught us English Literature in the higher classes. [This was after Mrs.Gaur left]. Then along came a Mr. Prasad, the maths teacher. He was tall, bald, on the thin side. But didnt stick long enough to impress any of us. I suppose, looking back, teaching was not a lucrative profession, so the young kept away.