In march 1967 it was beginning of spring in Jharipani, parents would return home on the very same day after medical checkup and kit checking in J.S. Dorm. Mrs. Lily Gupta, our HM would issue the admit slip to be surrendered to the M.O.D, we were all made to sit with pin drop silence in the service hall for the next few days to get acclimatised in our new surroundings.

In the morning hot baths awaited us followed by breakfast- Porridge with thick cream and eggs, slices with marmalade or honey and then we were ready for the assembly, and from there direct to our classes, class first A & B were near the tennis courts just across the JS garden, where we now have Mr. Dubey’s biology lab.

During sunny mornings in spring and autumn she would order us to be taken for a nature walk to the third plain. Jharipani’s claim to fame disappeared decades ago, this was the restaurant known as “Halfway House” owned by a German couple, the Ungeforans who sold Beck’s beer at 12 annas a bottle.

It was about that time that a company promoter conceived a plan of building a tram way up from Rajpur, a lot of people lost a lot of money that was the end of the project.
The motor road made its debut in the early thirties, first only as far as Bhatta, then to Sunny view then to Kingcraig from where it bifurcated finally to library on left & the Masonic lodge on the right, now of course one can drive right up to Landour on one side and Happy valley on the other.

The bajri road from Bhatta to Jharipani was commissioned only in the early 80’s, before that the U.P. roadways buses and the Ambassador taxies would use the old route passing through St. George’s College passing under a wooden bridge that joins the college to the Monastery (Bristle castle) inhabited by the Irish father of the Franciscan order, their staff meetings were held there, but sadly no more now, the J.P. group has converted the whole hillock into a five star hotel. We would return back by lunch time, fully exhausted, the sight of ripe Bramble bushes was very tantalising. In the evening the boys would be separated from the girls and loved to play in the boys pitch which still has a couple of sturdy oak trees. At 6 P.M. the M.O.D. blew her steel whistle and everybody rushed to the covered shed for the evening roll call followed by a sumptuous dinner. The A.M.O & Mrs. Gupta along with the matrons and sister Blake were always there without fail, after supper we were again allowed to take a stroll in the ground, from where one can see the whole range of Siwaliks beyond the valley of the Doon.

And to this day, even after 76 years from the Monastery above the watcher, the angelus rings out, soft but clear, as the sun dips below its horizon. That was the empire of Lily Gupta who retired happily in the summer of 1976 and handed over the charge to Ms. Bhaskar.

–  Shri Krishan Tanwar


This content has been reproduced from a Facebook post by Shri Krishan Tanwar on July 09, 2012.

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