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Old School Fun

Ah, school. The smell of chalk dust in the air and of poorly aimed urine streams in the toilet. The reek of sulphur from the chemistry lab and the stench of the stuff someone dissected last year and forgot to clean up from the biology lab. And above all, the general undercurrent of missed opportunities to learn.

For those of you who haven't yet managed to guess, I'm writing about school today. Not the education system, about which I have expressed my... ah... not-so-positive opinions at regular intervals on both my blogs, but about school itself, the temple of learning that it is, and what I like and dislike about it.

For the past two months, I have been on summer vacation, doing absolutely nothing and being pleasantly surprised whenever I remembered that I had (62-x) days left before I had to return my nose to the grindstone of old. However, this week, school landed upon me in a crash of homework, incredibly voluminous textbooks and a fervent desire to put as much distance between myself and the incomprehensible but strangely hypnotic drone of my chemistry teacher as possible.

After ten years in one school, I have now moved to a different school. While both the schools are owned by the same family - the husband was the director of my present school and the wife is the director of my previous one - their varying outlook on how young minds ought to be educated could not be more clear. Everything about the schools seem to reflect some aspect of their differing opinions.

The headmistress of my old school, whose name I do not wish to mention and whose numerous nicknames I cannot mention for fear of causing offence, was someone whom you definitely did not want to cross. Standing tall at a height of about four-foot-eight, she managed to be more terrifying than every muscle-bound seven-foot-high gorilla in existence combined. It seems to be her sole purpose of existence to keep the students as downtrodden as possible. While I may not know my new headmistress anything close to as well as I knew the old one, I gather by the fact that she does not spend five minutes on a stage every morning bemoaning the three students who didn't wish her a good morning that she is rather less dedicated to discipline enforced with an iron hand.

The other major difference is the way my new school is perfectly willing to accept all sorts of hairstyles. I've believed for a long time that the first indicator of the quality of a school is how many of the kids in it have dyed their hair orange. In my old school, the number was none. Anyone whose hair was a single tone of their natural hair colour or, if they happened to be male, was not between half an inch and an inch in length, was in danger of being hauled off to the barber down the road to have the majority of their hair sheared off. In my new school, however, we have people who dye their hair whatever shade happens to please them that day. A friend of mine has been growing his hair out since last August and has not yet been ordered to cut it, and I myself go into school sporting a hairstyle which would have given my old headmistress a heart attack on the spot.

All in all, I liked both. My old school probably gave me a grounding which I would have lacked had I been in my new school since first grade. I say, "probably," because I have absolutely no idea what the grounding was. At the end of the day, though, I have friends in both, and I imagine that over the course of the next two years, I will come to love my new school at least as much as my old one. And on that note, I really have to go and finish off some homework, it's due on Monday.


  1. 10 years hence, Ritwik, you will look upon your old school 1 and 2 with a wave of nostalgia !!


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