My School Memories

My first memories of schooling starts when I was 6 year old. As I remember I did not attend nursery school and I was admitted to second grade in a small town called Hunsur in Karnataka State, India. My father was working in another town called Channapatna and I was with my mother in my maternal grand father’s house. My mother was there as she had to give birth to my younger brother. It was customary in those days for women to be in their parents’ house to give birth to a child.

I started attending the primary school with my aunt ( my mother’s youngest sister) who was a year elder to me. Being new to the school I was nervous and was relieved as my aunt was in the same school. After some weeks I got used to the school and made some friends. I clearly remember how a teacher used to reward us with biscuits, specifically a variety called ombiscuit for every correct answer when she asked a question. There was lot of competition for this.
Other activity that I remember is crossing the river during summer months to get raw mangoes. My aunt was the leader of the group for this activity as she was very brave. I was hesitant to cross the river and once the group left me on the river bank and went, when they reached half I started to cry and shout, my aunt had to return and started scolding me profusely. After a while I got used to it and participated in this activity. We used to pelt stones to get the mangoes to fall to the ground. When elders came to know about this adventure they wanted us to stop this. Some times they used to scare us by telling ghost stories, mentioning that the ghosts stay in the tamarind trees near the river and telling us not to go there. 
Another incident that I remember is that of a fancy dress in the School. I was selected to play a part of Nakali Shyama ( from the story of Tenali Ramakrishna) where I was asked to cover my head with an earthen pot with holes to see. One of the trees had a type of fruit which after drying used to resemble tiger claws. We used to collect it and wear it on our nails to pretend we are tigers.

I do not know how many children of recent years including mine would have had this experience. Nowadays if some one tries to give food to others including children they should be aware of food allergies etc and they may be challenged. At least in Australia children are given play time every day in the school, but don’t know in the situation in India. With the increased usage of mobile devices, addiction to internet etc children are devoid of enjoying nature and free to play outside.