On our way to school I was part of what was called the school batch. The train from Howrah went through Jha Jha where I lived, at about 1.00 a.m. I remember my mother waking us up at about midnight and the walk to the station to meet the train. The journey took the whole of that day and night and arrived at Dehra Dun some time in the morning of the following day.

We went through a station that had these red faced mondeys (red bum monkeys). We had to be careful because they were so bold they would steal anything they could and grab anything from our hands if we were near the window. We also went through a station that sold these incredible sweets – not sure what they were called – rowries I think. They were covered with sesami seeds.

When we arrived at Dehra Dun I remember we would go to the book stand to buy books (Mills & Boon I think) that would be passed around for the next few days/weeks and sometimes got confiscated when the teacher caught someone reading during the study hour (book hidden under the material we were pretending to study).

At Dehra Dun we would buy a lemon dipped in a spicy concoction that helped with the travel sickness several of us felt as our bus wound its way up to the junction where we all had to get off and walk several miles up to the valley. We were advised to stop walking if we wanted to look up or down – and not to do this while we were actually moving because someone had fallen to their death while walking and turning to wave at the same time (when leaving to wave to the Cambridge Exam students). How far this is true I do not know. Perhaps someone may enlighten us.

The school batch was also the last to leave. On the last evening the teacher on duty would take us for a walk where we could see the sun setting -this was a tradition – (later on we would stand and watch the sun going down). As the sun sank over the horizon we all chanted -going, going, going, going -gone – because the next day we would be going home. (Why do we miss OG so much now? We could not wait to leave it.) Now I believe they go home after Founders Day for how long I do not know.

Lots of memories – Father Rice (with his white beard). He visited the Junior School when I got these religious medals that made me feel good even though I was not a Catholic; visits by our brothers on Saturday when I was in the Senior School and totally depended on them and was devastated when none of them turned up – Leslie or Winston; the tuck man and his stick-jaw; Mussoorie trips; Inter School Sports; dancing to 78s with our gramophone and rivalry between Elvis Presley and Cliff Richards fans and lots lots more to come.

Do they still have the badminton and basket ball courts where we went every evening? Do you remember the leeches we had to avoid during the monsoon season and the only way to remove them was to put salt on them? Do you know that the girls did at one time play hockey? The first time I played I had my thumb hit and I never played it again.

– Jean Heather Gomes (1966 Batch)

This article is a work by Jean Heather Gomes – batch of 1966. It was originally posted on the yahoo group blog. This content has been reproduced from a blog posted by Raveesh Gupta on June 14, 2009. Here is the link to the original post.


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