Late rising. For most, yes. But for junior classes in Boys School, especially classes VI and VI, late rising had little meaning. The gloom set in from Friday evening itself if second Saturday was coming, which meant laundering school uniforms for seniors. Even if there was no trip to Mussoorie, it could still mean washing clothes, giving body massages, small and sometimes instant extra-curricular/cultural program for a few whimsical seniors. But the fact remains, we remember those days, well actually nights, in the fondest of ways. Quarrelling with a batchmate (and sometimes even a mid-senior) to reserve the special iron bucket for ‘my senior’ to take his religious weekly bath the next morning, saving your own washing soap for the senior’s stinky socks and ugliest white handkerchief, pacing up and down the Dhobi’s residence to get the shirt/trousers ironed so that your idiot senior looks half decent on his trip to the emotional massage session for the house’s best athlete or football/hockey player, thereby, contributing to the house’s next possible win. It was our Friday Night Fever!

Saturdays were perhaps the lightest of the days. The weight of passing week was almost off our backs. Sunday was in touching distance. It was a late rising with no morning assembly. So, one would already presume a half day! Forenoon felt brighter & warmer. The 4 classes before lunch passed off in a jiffy. The 10 -minute recess between 2nd and 3rd class came in earlier than usual always! Saturday lunch was way tastier than lunches across the week. The 10-minute recess between the 6th and 7th class though was sloppy. It seemed to have got sloppy. The only thing sloppier than this recess was the 8th period. It was the longest 45 minutes in the entire week. The moment bell rang announcing tea-time, we were Kapil Dev & the Indian cricket team kissing the 1982 WC. Some of us could have actually kissed or kicked the teacher taking the 8th period, depending on who it was. Play time was tackled like Mohd Ali floating and stinging. As darkness set in, boys were ready to roar!

Sunday was the only day when one could watch TV. Hence, late rising was only in name. The day would start early for everyone. The senior had to reach his reserved seat in the TV room timely. The junior had to fight and re-possess an empty bucket, mark it in the hot water queue, rush down to reserve a chair for his senior, rush back to ensure the bucket was still queued up and rush down back to the TV room, to watch Rangoli himself! Everyone loved these songs. In later years, much to add to the pain to most ears in the TV room, Doordarshan introduced subtitles on screen too. Buggers started the day on a wrong note, literally! Sunday breakfast had omelettes for eggetarians and non-veg folk and puri aaloo for pure vegetarians. There were healthy barters on the table on Sundays. The real fun began from there on. Some boys preferred their games on the field, some liked it on the tennis courts and a few eyed the cemented flat outside the auditorium. Adventurous ones had plans to FO to Jhids for some grub, love birds would plan to FO to Mussoorie to meet their dream girls from the other side of the valley, if a letter had arrived in time. A few crazy ones would plan a movie show in Doon. It all boiled down to how much funds could be generated. The final destination was decided accordingly. Passion had its limits! The entire batch would cover for the boys who were not present during the customary roll calls. Of course, teachers knew who was absent. They played along well. That’s why they were hated in school and loved forever. The day was well spent though between games, TV and lying to seniors about teachers and to teachers about missing batchmates. Sunday evenings were the gloomiest. In the entire day one would have invariably screwed up at some hour. One of the batches would be getting a good smashing from seniors, every Sunday evening. The heavy feeling of a long week ahead made it worse. A sad dinner menu poured sore oil into Sunday wounds. The only saving grace were the unbelievable stories that the boys brought back from Mussoorie/Doon. We knew they were bluffing. But we played our part. Until the week choked yet again. There was a fresh quarrel for the bucket, a crisp shirt was presented to a senior, a raw set of boys FOed and brought back more unusual stories. It was a new weekend with the same set of worries.

– Kanishka Mallick (1996)


This piece was shared by Kanishka Mallick on  January 24, 2021 via a personal message.

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