The official school newsletter, Acorn was edited by senior students under the guidance of school staff. The two page publication offered news updates, articles, poems and short stories from all three schools.
An unauthorised activity to steal (by plucking off trees) raw/ unripened mangoes.
The school auditorium. Inaugurated by Madhaorao Scindia, Minister of Railways in 1988 to mark the centenary year of Oak Grove. Famously, he had said that heads deserved to roll for the injustice that the design of the building did to the ethos of Oak Grove.
Short for Oak Grove Boys School.
Short for Bidis.
The space just outside the covered shed in Boys School, facing the lower pitch. Whether the B stands for barber, or boxing, or bashing, you decide. Definitions may have changed over the years.
Short for Badminton.
Slang for Men’s underwear.
A word with multiple uses, most of them not so hard to imagine. It was often used in admiration of someone’s guts, as well as in chiding them for growing too big for their boots.
Short for Barlowgunj, home to the best bun omelettes in the area, and now Maggi too! Barlo is mid-way to Mussoorie from Jharipani, and also boasted of a bakery till the mid 1990s or early 2000s. St. George’s College, one of OG’s keen rivals in interschool competitions, is also in Barlowgunj.
Pretty straight-forward in its meaning and usage, the term was also used to celebrate OG’s resounding victories in sport whenever the opposition was beaten hollow.
The wonderful, bold, friendly and adventurous group of Class X girls in 1972.
Slang term for Bengali (of or from the region of Bengal), peculiar in its prevelance at Oak Grove. In most other places, Bong is the slang term used to identify Bengali folk.
The verbal command from a senior that usually preceded a Hob. Or as Calvin would say to Hobbes, you were asked to bend before receiving a swift kick to the backside!
The oft heard call in the Dining Halls across the three schools. Bearer Jis would always be there to feed you with affection and care.
Abbreviation for Boy Friend, who’s counterpart would appropriately be called DF, or Dame Friend, that later became GF, predictably. In the years of VHS tapes, BF also became short for Blue Flicks, as OG Boys came of age.
Slang for flunking a test or exam. Bhatting/ Bhutting, and therefore, bhatters/ bhutters. Specimens were occasionally pardoned and promoted if they performed well in other fields such as sports.
Slang for Toilet paper.
A moniker reserved for those who were rather Thick in The Head, and had a temper and burlesque physique to boot. This honourable tag was accorded to only a select few!
Often used to signify failure in achieving an intended outcome, especially in the sporting arena. Example, if you took a shot at scoring a goal but missed the shot, you Bhuss-ed, and therefore, were a Bhuss-er. Applicable to all instances of failure.
An unauthorised outing to raid cobs from the corn fields, located in the general area much behind the water reservoir and swimming pool.
Toilet blocks were called Bogs, a word that later got distorted to Box. In the Boys School, for example, there were Senior Bogs and Junior Bogs on the lower floor, and there were Bogs at either end of the dormitory for two houses each. Although the word was loosely used for bathrooms in general in BS, Girls School was more particular and used it to refer to the toilet only.
Contrary to what one might think, Bra was used as short for Brother. The female sibling had a more predictable name in Sis, and Sundays were usually marked for all Bras to pay a visit to GS to meet their sisters. If you liked a girl and her brother studied in the BS, then by a great – great stretch of imagination, he became your brother-in-law, or brother for short. This was further shortened to Bro but pronounced as Bra. As time passed the word came to be used as a general greeting to a person close to you.
A Table Tennis game with a unique set of rules that evolved in OGBS around the late 1980s, very popular with the senior boys. Those who didn’t have access to the TT Table in the common room improvised to play with hard-bound textbooks and plastic balls.
A standard term to summon or address any junior or classmate one didn’t wish to address by name. Often pronounced Bugga, this slang was used in jest as well as with authority, depending on context.
CK/ Chevy/ Chivvy/ Cave Keeping
Keeping a vigil, being on the lookout. An activity delegated to juniors or classmates while perpetrators indulged in “illegal” infractions, such as fagging, going out of bounds, raiding etc.
Short for Cipromycin, another staple anti-biotic prescription at the Hospital besides PCM (Paracetamol).
An activity of reprimand that most students of OGBS and some of OGJS would be familiar with. Even the whooshing sound of the HMBS’ cane in the vicinity was enough to freeze us in our tracks.
If you were being oversmart, you were told to not be too cat. If you were a good looking girl, you’d be referred to as being cat. Used both in uncouth admiration and admonishment.
Pulling out the seat of one’s pants.
Slang for slingshot, catapult.
In the good old days, school was in session for nine continuous months. The students grew in those months, and were referred to as “Growing Children” and various other terms. Unfortunately, their trousers didn’t grow with them. Woe, in some cases, they shrunk and rode 2 to 3 inches above the ankles. Such trousers were called Cherapunjies or Floods.
A term used to address a junior in school, especially those who were several classes junior. Also, slang for a girl.
When you lost an argument/contest, specially because the opponent said/did something you couldn’t counter, you had been “Chopped”.
A popular game involving a bunch of rubber bands tied together in a donut form, that one was supposed to keep kicking up in the air without letting it touch the ground. The locals of Jharipani were natural champions at it.
Short for cigarettes, that were sneaked in with great care, hidden and consumed with several chicks on CK.
A term of appreciation, used by itself. Used as an adjective to refer to any superlative achievement.
The most coveted Inter-House prize in School, this shield was given to the House with the best overall performance in a year.
Dead-sure, absolutely certain, completely confident. How sure are you? Cocksure, sir!
Cheating, mostly in context of academics but not just confined to it. Cog, cogger, cogging – several forms of the same word. Copying from chits or textbooks in a test, or making a false move in a game of chess while the opponent isn’t paying attention, it was all cogging.
Short for congratulations, often used as a single word sentence.
Short for cotton vests, just like undies was to undergarments.
Short for lawn tennis courts, that were actively in use till the mid 1990s at least. One call to come to the courts, when you were a Class VI student in BS, and you knew you were going to spend the evening fagging there.
Distortion of the word “crust”, as pronounced by some members of the kitchen staff. Eating bread crusts with milk was a favourite activity of a few seniors, all they had to do was to shout out to bearer ji and ask for some crass.
Dame Friend, the complementary term to B.F., that eventually transformed to the more conventional Girlfriend.
Days Left To Go Home – a much decorated calendar on the blackboards prior to every vacation.
The most often used term to refer to Girls. Oak Grove Girls School was also often referred to as Dames School.
When one was too stunned to react, for example, by the brilliance of someone’s actions on a sporting field. Often pronounced to sound like daa’ed, with a longer “a” and a silent “z”.
Used in two contexts – to challenge someone to a feat, to reprimand someone for crossing a line with someone senior. I defy you to do this! How dare you defy me?
Short for Dehradun, the plains below, where students occasionally took illegal trips to watch movies.
Slang for our school Dhobis, or washermen, who kept our uniforms in a clean and ironed state regularly. Many of our dhobs played for Jhits Club and gave our inter-school Hockey and Futta teams some invaluable practice.
Pushing. Junior classes would, for example, be found dhugging the roller on the valley pitch before a cricket match. Or else, someone could be upset over having been dhugged by another.
Slang for smoking. Another term used for the same was fagging.
Same as bashing, used both in the physical context as well as to denote one-sided victories in contests.
Money, money, money!
Sleeping. Literally, and metaphorically. You could be called a dope if you were slow to grasp something, or slow to move too.
Short for dormitories, often preceded by a qualifying word – Senior dorm, Junior Dorm, Girls Dorm, Ashoka House Dorm…
Short for Dushman, the Hindi word for enemy. Mostly used in Junior School, when one would be branded a Dush over the most trivial fights.
The bane of school life for most, especially in the dark, cold days of the winter months, when one would have to leave the bed by six in the morning. And God forbid, if there was morning PT, then rising bells would sound a half hour earlier.
Also called Educational Tours, students at OG looked forward to these out-station trips with great fervour. Usually lasting for close to a week, school excursions have spread far and wide these days, compared to the close-by destinations to venture to in the earlier days.
Short, as evident, for F##k Off, and used to specify the act of running off (illegally) to places out of bounds. FO’ing to the streams, to Muss, to Dehra, to GS, you get the picture.
You were Fagging if you were smoking. But you were also fagging if you were a ball-boy in the courts where seniors played their tennis and volleyball, and you played fetch-the-ball for them. The former kind of faggers were usually seniors, whereas juniors made for the latter type.
Refer to Cat.
Slang for a) movies, and b) Stealing something. Eg., he flicked my dough to buy ticks for a flick.
Refer to Cherapunjies.
Slang for feeling/making someone get over-excited. Most likely has its roots in the Hindi phrase ‘phoonk bharna’ (inflating someone’s ego), making people do irrational actions.
Slang for trousers, or full pants. The opposite of half-tee, or shorts.
Football (or soccer) was popularly called Futta, with games on the back pitch and front pitch in the rain being a popular evening activity in Boys School.
Short for Girls School.
Also called Meadows by the older generations of Oakgrovians, Ganji Pahaadi is a bare patch of land with a breath-taking view, beyond the swimming pool in Boys School. This beautiful vista, tucked away from sight, was visited (mostly illegally) by students, sometimes to escape classes, and at others to study in peace.
The small sized trucks that Oakgrovians used in order to get to school at the beginning of school terms in the older days. Gattoos were originally deployed at the then-legal quarries on the mountains across OG to carry limestone etc.
The erstwhile corner room of the Boys School building, overlooking the open patch near PHG and Staff Mess. Now used to display Art Exhibitions on Founders Day.
Yet another familiar command feared by juniors, this was a call to assume the “murga” position, which is slightly complicated to explain in words. Get Down was also usually followed by a hob, just like the Bend command described earlier.
Fold your hands and say your grace – the instruction called out by the Prefect on Duty before every meal in the Dining Hall – followed by a quick Sit at the beginning of a meal, or Move out at the end of it.
Food, and lots of it. Especially at the start of each semester, students would bring all kinds of goodies from home to gorge on, that would promptly get raided by seniors in the dorm.
Refer to Balls
Slang for half-pants (shorts). The opposite of full-tee, or trousers.
A swift kick, usually in the backside, issued to the recipient while they were in a bent/murga position (refer to Bend/ Get Down).
Slang for gluttony (put politely), practiced often by schoolmates on special meal days such as Tuesdays (Poori days). Most Oakgrovians were natural born hoggers, but there were some names that were legendary for their feats with treats.
Short for holidays. Keenly looked forward to, since hols meant late rising days, when in school. After each year’s Fancy Fair and Sports Day, the whole school vociferously asked the chief guest for Holidays in unison, sometimes getting lucky with as many as three days off.
A rocky outcrop to the right of the Science Lab at the far end of Boys School, overlooking the valley below. “Homers was called this name because it was a rock behind the dhobi ghat that faced ‘homewards’ & looked down on the plains of India, where somewhere in the distance, our ‘homesick’ homes & loved ones lived” – Patrick Corbett (1954)
The school Hospital, central to many indelible memories of OG. Starting from the dreaded TABC shots at the start of every alternate term, to outbreaks of mumps and conjunctivitis, to the numerous escapes on flimsy grounds to evade tests or to meet someone admitted from the other side of the valley, hospi has given most of us many reasons to smile.
Slang for crying, also a term to chide someone who couldn’t take a consequence without complaining. A bad loser, for example, was a howler. So was a bad decision.
Slang for a fart. A huffer, herefore, was a guy with consistent propensity to huff.
The Inspector of Works at OG, who’s staff would be in action every time repairs were at hand. The workshop was always handy to get material issued when it was time to make models to display in the Science Exhibition on Founders Day.
The weighing-in activity that commenced at the outset of every Inter-School athletics and sports competition season. Competitions happened in Sub-Juniors, Juniors, Inters and Seniors divisions. Weeks before indexing day, athletes and players were often found trying to drop excess pounds to make it to their desired divisions.
Short for importance. Used both to refer to matters of pertinence, as well as to castigate someone for acting too pricey.
Short for Junior School.
Joking. The sentence goes, “Don’t Jaleb”, meaning don’t joke.
Jab Cakes/ Jap Cakes
The delicacy synonymous with Maula Bux and his tin box, Jap cakes were loved by Oakgrovians across batches. A little bigger than a cookie, a sweet core sandwiched between two crunchy layers, encrusted with nuts, tough to bite into, and delicious to the last bite, it is a reclusive recipe that many an old Oakgrovian is still trying to decipher and replicate. .
Refer to Jhids/Jhits. This distortion seems to have been a rather recent development, in use probably since 2015.
Slang for a resounding slap on the face. You’ll often hear Oakgrovians recount tales of the Jhaaps they’ve received from teachers and seniors alike.
Jharipani, the beautiful hamlet that Oak Grove School is set in. The small stretch of shops just outside school bounds, between the post office right up till the steep curve up towards the temple, was usually referred to as Jhids/Jhits, that students occasionally FO’ed to.
Jharipani falls, or Jhits fall, was a popular spot for students to sneak off to. There were several routes to reach there, of which one has become motor-able almost till the falls. In school though, boys would often find their way from the back-pitch via foot-tracks in the mountainside that led to the streams and Jhids Fall. Occasionally, the boys were taken on officially sanctioned trips to the streams or falls by teachers.
Slang for coming in last, or bringing up the rear end in a competition. Therefore, Jhuggers.
The favourite spot for most seniors at the Fancy Fair, this is where the dancing was. A portion of the pavilion in the valley was cordoned off using counterpanes and batches were allowed entry for pre-decided durations. In the absence of Socials, this is all the dancing Oakgrovians could indulge in, for a while. Now, even the Juke Box is gone, and all the dancing on Fancy Fairs happens in groups, right in the valley.
Short for Junior, another term to summon them by.
Oak Grove’s un-missable PT shoes. Whitened painstakingly by juniors over the evenings preceding Sports Day, students marching together in crispy whites made the day a visual spectacle.
If trousers became Cherapunjies or Floods by the end of the term, then shorts at the beginning of the year were knee ticklers – a bit too long for you.
The oft used expression in OG, especially in the news column of Acorn, appreciating someone’s achievements. Kudos to the contributors for making this list so extensive 🙂
Slang for shrewd. Probably a distortion of cunning, the word was used to describe a person who could use his head to twist out of all trouble. Also associated with super smart and stylish guys, especially those fabled to be able to floor every lady teacher.
Saturdays, Sundays, and Hols were days of late rising. There would be no morning prep, and that meant the students would get a full hour and a half extra to lounge in bed. The relief that late risings brought is indescribable.
Is what you’re reading right now, the language we spoke at OG, with its unique terms and connotations. Also called Twang.
English literature, as a subject. Shakespeare was compulsory.
Slang for local/sub-standard. Sometimes used to admonish uncouth behaviour by calling the perpetrator loco.
Master on Duty, the member of teaching staff responsible for smooth operations of school activities on a given day, from morning prep to the return to dorms at night, assisted by a school prefect.
Short for magazines. Oftentimes, students would save up money to buy and stock magazines, or even subscribe to them in some cases. Mags on Sports, current affairs, entertainment, and sometimes clandestinely smuggled “glossies” made for the variety collected and shared.
Refer to Ganji Pahaadi.
The most commonly used word to address someone who you disapproved of.
Flicking, stealing. Probably has its roots in the Hindi word, “Maar-o”, that got pseudo anglicised to morrow.
The most feared announcement at the end of a meal, with seniors ordering an entire class or more to “move in” to their classes instead of taking the after-meal break. Was usually followed by sessions of scolding or en-mass punishment, with everyone quietly cursing the culprit that caused the move-in.
Short for Mussoorie, predictably, the sight of the shimmer of whose lights would make the late evenings at school beautiful.
An officially sanctioned trip to Mussoorie. Usually, students from Boys School would go to Mussoorie on the second Saturdays of the month, walking their way to town and back, via Barlo and the shortcut through Wynberg Allen to Picture Palace. Seniors would eventually get resourceful enough to take cabs instead, as time passed.
The occasional outing from school, especially on days when the weather cleared up after a rainy stretch, to areas in close vicinity of Jharipani.
Nips was short for Naya Paisas, back when stuff could be bought for paisas – Muss trips with two rupees in the pocket, movie tickets for 75 nips, lunch for 25.
Inter-school athletics competition for the schools affiliated to the Mussoorie School Sports Association, held in older days at St. George’s College, and eventually moved to Wynberg Allen. Based on recent updates, Oak Grove doesn’t participate in this competition any more, and holds its own version of it every year.
Short for Paracetamol, a staple prescription at the Hospital by the doctor.
Back in the days, each House was allotted a piece of land to maintain a garden in. Even up till the 1990s, gardening was an activity for which there would be an Inter-house competition. PHG was Patel House Garden, a patch of land behind the Staff Mess in Boys School, with a beautiful view of the valley beyond the pushta wall, an Oak tree in the middle of the garden and a bench to sit on under the tree. Boys would strive to clean the soil of stones, and grow flowering plants along the fences, just like in the NCC garden opposite the HMBS office. All this is now only part of folklore, only the Oak tree remains.
Pocket Money – the grant handed out to us by our House Masters that made us feel all royalty-like, even in meagre amounts most of the times.
The Prefect on Duty, who would assist the MOD on a given day to keep the days going smoothly. Ringing activity bells, checking the dining hall for meal preparedness, handling issues with the boys, these were a few of the normal responsibilities of the POD.
Refer to Chop. Pack was used in the same context.
The person from across the valley, that one was officially (by classmates) paired with. Designated boyfriends/ girlfriends, who were consequently considered off-limits for others.
Slang for taking a piss, also used in the context of someone “wetting their pants” in moments that mattered.
To pill was to tell tall tales. Therefore, pilling, and pillers – those who would spin false stories to eternity.
Fail the exams. For a more elaborate alternative, check out Bhatting.
The most dreadful start there could be to a semester, a visit to the hospi to get your TABC injections. Administered mostly at the hands of Usmani Ji, pokes could hurt you for the next three days, and give you fever too.
Tuesdays were a hogger’s delight – Pooris, Chholas and Kheer to boot, it was a vegetarian dinner for everyone at Oak Grove. Legends were born from the exploits of a talented few, in terms of the number of pooris they would devour.
Slang for pornographic material. Whether it was books, magazines, or movies of varying degrees of explicit content, it was all Pondy in general.
Father, predictably 🙂
Marks obtained in unit tests by virtue of your popularity with a particular teacher. These were marks given to you over and above those you got because of your merit.
Short for practicals.
Short for preparation, Preps were periods of self-study that were built into the schedule of a typical Oak Grove day. A morning prep before breakfast, an evening prep before supper, a night prep after supper, and several preps on hols, mostly upon the consideration of the MOD.
Short for Principal, OGS.
Nothing comes to mind. Please let us know if you have something to offer.
Records, those beautiful vinyl discs in the Common Room that one would listen to, on the record players in the days gone by. Over the years, the collection of records in OG grew to a variety of genres, before tapes and CDs became the norm, and LPs and EPs were all but forgotten.
The regimen one would follow typically before Indexing days, if one was trying to drop a few pounds to make it to a desired division to compete in.
Apply Floods or Cherapunjis to Girls School, and you’ll get a Roman Soldier.
A plain paper note book to take rough notes in, always available on demand from the stationery room.
Unlike its conventionally accepted slang meaning, the word denoted only self-pleasure activities at school. Consequently, if you were lackadaisical at something you were expected to do well at, you could well be accused of shagging at the job.
One of the most unusual terms in OG lingo, sheisht essentially meant dropping everything and just taking a break. Sounds like a distortion of the word siesta, teachers were sometimes happy to let the students sheisht in classes soon after a heavy lunch, or on dreary days.
The ultimate punishment, being thrown out of school.
Short for sister. For the complete picture, refer to Bra.
Pretty much in line with the word’s internationally accepted meaning. If you couldn’t help but complain, or run and sneak to the teachers, you were a sissy.
Swimming on the sly, especially in the summer afternoons, during afternoon rest time and prep time. The bolder guys used to go for swims at night also.
Slang for tattling, or secretly telling seniors/ teachers something that someone else had done or said.
An event wherein BS invited GS once a year, and vice versa, also once a year. In addition to this, there was a Prefect’s social and a class social for the Senior Cambridge class. Activities that were indulged in were party games, dancing, a lot of sing songs and dining together. The boys had to actually bow and request the girls for a dance, under the watchful eyes of the teachers. Socials are also a tradition of the past in Oak Grove.
Used as a term of admiration for someone’s actions, in reference to the Spirit of Oak Grove award, that was a title conferred rarely upon a student. Conversely, the word was also used in sarcasm while pointing to someone’s deliberate actions to impress figures of authority, or someone’s self-righteousness.
Slang for Potatoes.
Socks, and preferably those that had been in continuous use for a week or more without washing. Pronounced with a “V” sound and not “F” as in “of”.
Loosely based on “sticking it to someone”, it was used as a warning or threat of impending beating, by saying, “…I will stik you.”
Another FO haunt for the brave-hearted, reached via several kuchchaa routes down the mountainside, from near the back pitch and ganji pahaadi.
Slang for Cigarettes, just like ciggies.
Typhoid A, B and Cholera vaccine, the dreadful poke to begin every new academic year with. The shot that would give you a swollen, painful shoulder, and a fever to boot.
Refer to sneak.
Slang for a bull-headed person, usually with a temper to boot. Also used for “slow” people, who had a hard time understanding basic concepts.
Slang for a collection of rules that defined the code of conduct for a junior at OGBS. All new-coming batches would have to memorise tidbits and abide by them.
Short for tickets of all kinds. Raffle tickets on Fancy Fair, movie tickets, or train tickets that one went to Mussoorie to book.
Yet another unique OG Slang, this was the word used for shit. Therefore, a toady smell.
Same as bashing, dhunning.
Snacks and light bites to gorge on, that one would store in their cupboards, well hidden from the prying eyes of seniors and classmates. In the early days, Moula Bux would come to school with his tin box filled with goodies such as Jab Cakes, that students could purchase and devour. Now, students have personal Tuck Boxes in JS, where as in BS, they purchase tuck from Jhits to stash.
Same as Shag.
Language. Refer to Lingo.
Short for underwear, new pieces of which, one would often find missing from the drying spots along the bogs – only to have them mysteriously appear in other areas of the dorm several days later.
Our glorious valley green, with wooded hills around. As games we play with vigour keen, Doth oft with shouts resound.
The official communication from the school to your parents, if you had made serious transgressions against school rules. Three warning letters, and you were shunted.
Clothes were sent to the Dhobs in bunches, that were collected in a session called Washes. For each washes, a list was made to mark the type and number of clothes in the bundle. Again, when the bundles of washed and ironed clothes were received later, they were cross-checked against the list to ensure everyone received what they had sent.
Refer to Pondy.
A sporting club that the locals and Jharipani had created, under the aegis of which, they participated in tournaments in and around Mussoorie, the most famous of them being Jackie Football Tournament in St. George’s College, Barlowganj. Yuva Club also helped give some serious practice to the inter-school teams from OG.
Just inside the bounds of OG past the main gate, a path goes up to Girls School on the left. The gate there had a plaque announcing the “Way to Girls School”. Once in a while, the words “Girls School” were cut out and “Zoo” was scribbled on it.
This is an ever-growing collation of words, phrases and slang from all eras, that Oakgrovians have been using in their conversations. Presently, most of the terms featured here are from OGBS lingo, and entries from across the valley are eagerly awaited!
If you have more words to contribute to this list, or if there are errors/ more connotations to any term mentioned here, please do let us know and the same shall be promptly updated.