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Monday, November 29, 2010


Year 1995, Saint marys residential central school,Thiruvalla,Kerala,.

I saw that huge campus from the windshield of our white color maruti 800car. I was asked to wait in the office room while my mom and dad were called to the principal’s office.. I sat there looking at the grilled notice board and the various trophies on the shelf. Later I was called by the principal.

“Whats your name?:


“Aww that’s a good name. There are many famous personalities with that name”

“Yes, Sharad pawar is one among them”

He was impressed. He dint expect a boy seeking admission for 5th standard to know about sharad pawar.

Then I followed my parents through that narrow corridor which had a huge hall at the end and a staircase on one side. The staircase led to a huge dormitory which has around 100 double floored cots.I was asked to select one and I took the upper bed which was directly beneath the fan. There was a door on the corner of that dorm and beyond the door, was the dorm of +2 students. On the end of the dorm there was a way leading to the left direction. I just walked through it and it was again a corridor. On the left, instead of wall, it was a grilled window through which I could see the vehicles on the road.On the right, a vast area which has around 15 taps. Passing the taps, there were around 10 toilets.

I came back to the dorm and my mom kissed me and said “Balu, be a good boy. Study well. We will call you and write letters to you every month”I saw a drop of tear on the corner of her eye. From the window, I saw our car moving out of the gate,I felt moist in my eyes. I dint know why.Later I realized I was admitted to a hostel, somewhere far from home.That night I slept with a weeping heart and my pillow was wet with tears.

Next morning, 5 A.M.i woke up by hearing the shouting of Sulochana, our caretaker. I had to attend the christian prayers, which was the routine of the hostel.First day of class.I felt like an alien. It was difficult for me to find the 5th standard class which was on the top floor.Atlast I found it and sat on the middle bench. First lecture was Malayalam.I was pretty good in that subject.When the teacher asked something I stood up and replied “Teachere enikkariyam athu” (Teacher I know that).Class burst out into laughter.I dint know why.Later I realized students in that school address lectures as “Miss” instead of “Teacher” and that was why the laughter for.That concept dint digest me much.I continued to address her as teacher, ignoring the laughter of the entire class.Gradually, I got accustomed to the rest of the kids and I was gradually changing. I was becoming one among those NRI kids.My homesickness reduced and I felt okay of not seeing my parents.

At St.Mary’s, all letters the students would get from their parents would be first read by the warden and the students would get only opened envelopes. Those letters which I used to receive from my mom always brought tears to my eyes.Whenever I get letters from my parents I used to go near those grilled windows and stare at the outside world. I still have those 14 year old letters safe with me like a treasure.

It was then my brother also joined the same school for +2.It was a relief for me eventhough he was in another dorm, which was near the cabin of Vice principal Mr.Duke.Duke was an anglo Indian, heavily built. An iron rod with a small oval round shape at the end of it was his trademark.It was impossible to spot him without the rode and Duke was the nightmare of students.I had enormous respect for him due to his personality and also a bit of fear when I hear the name Duke!!! Donno why but he was always nice to me. He stayed with his wife n kid in the hostel itself.Did I mention our dorm was on first floor and the second floor was assigned to girls dorm.Next to girls dorm was the mess hall. My first love of life, Blessy Ann Mathew, lived there and we used to exchange that cute smile during our dinner hours.

I used to perform mimicry, mono act,speech, poem and many other art forms from childhood onwards.Youth festivals were always the days of joy, fame and appreciation for me.My mimicry and imitation of film stars were well received and it made me the kiddo star of the class.May be blessy was attracted to that.Anyways, I feel love is in our blood.My brother was the known romeo of the school.Visakh Menon.I still remember when a chechi(a girl much elder to me) named as jancy, started to mingle with me more and gave me many gifts, chocolates etc.Later I came to know that she was my brother’s girlfriend.Jancychechi was smart, n goodlooking.I liked her a lot for the gifts she give me.One was a toy of an eagle which balances itself on top of a cone.Well, as you guessed, it was just a teenage love of my bro.

Jerry, Ninan and Jyothish were my best friends then. Jerry was the studious boy of the class.How he became my friend is a story.One day there was an announcement in the class.”All students who are here from more than one year may enter bus no:2”I was a newbie and sat on my bench itself all alone.Later I understood, Jerry’s father had passed away and all students had gone to his home.So our friendship started on that sympathy but later he became my best friend.I should mention about Kuriakose Sir, Our geography lecturer.He was somewhere in 50’s then, thin, with a big spectacle and a long stick in his hand.He used to beat up the students mercilessly and was a real terror.For skipping his class, I used to hide in the hostel itself.There were many days when I was hiding in te hostel without food and being unnoticed by Sulochana.

There were many nights which I slept with flowing tears. My solitude life had begun at that age.It was then homesickness went away from me.It became an unknown feeling.I left the hostel by 10th standard.5 years of the hostel life made me stubborn and hard.Being away from home was never a problem for me.May be for those who had lived their wholelife with parents, and when asked to move away, it would be a great problem.But for me, I parted my dear family while in 5th standard itself. 5 years in school hostel. I graduated by staying in an college hostel again. From the last 3 years, I am away from my family. May be my likeness towards solitude had started then.

St.marys hostel moulded me. It gave me both good and bad experiences.To be away from home or away from parents never became a problem for me.I rarely visit my native.Once in 5 or 6 months.I love to be alone.Yes, at times, lonliness kills me, but at the same time its difficult to find someone of my same wavelength.So I prefer to be alone.While alone, I bare no responsibility to others.I can do whatever I want.But in one corner of my heart, those olden memories still hurts.My parents were forced to drop me in a hostel as they had to travel abroad when I needed their care the most.I don’t blame them at any cost. They taught me in a good and renowned school.That experience taught me to stand on my own feet. Till 10th I used to read bible daily and still respect Christianity to the most as same as Hinduism.Only because my parents left me in a Christian school, I came to know about the value of Christianity.Altogether, when I sit back and remember now, those days have a golden touch, eventhough at that time I considered it as the worst phase of my life. Days at school hostel and college hostel would everlast in my memories. Still there are hundreds of memories which I want to share.Everything is in my mind with a faded black n white touch….everything…..

-G.Sarath Menon

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