Thursday, October 13, 2011

Aitchison Days - Junior School (ii)

When we were kids ..... During my days in Gwyn House, there were other Ali Raza s as well. They were S.M. Ali Raza Gardezi, Ali Raza Sukhera, Rai Ali Raza, Irfan Ali Raza and Ali Raza Qureshi. So most of the time, for clarity, we were called by our surnames like Qureshi, Gardezi, Sukhera, Rai and maybe Irfan Ali Raza. The friendships that we developed back in that stage are still thriving now. We are still in touch to the most extent even though our responsibilities have increased ten folds.

K-1 was so much fun to be in. There used to be only a handful of boarders, like four or five, and mostly day scholars. Normally we were good friends with everybody. But since boarders used to eat, sleep, play and do everything more often than with the day boys, so they used to drift together in the classrooms as well. Therefore, they got isolated and day boys did not seek friendships or study partners with boarders. And slowly but surely it was seen that boarders are on different mental level than the day boys. Boarders thought that day boys were 'mummy - daddy's ' since they talked about tv shows, video games, eat burgers and stuff from the canteen, have fancy stuff etc. And boarders, not having access to the television and their parents, were mostly of playing field games like football and hockey, were more like outlaws and all. The day boys didn't quite fit in the friendship profile for boarders and vice versa. But I think they were all misconceptions. After all these years, I am still very good friends with many of my day boys and I hardly see any difference amongst any of us.

For K-1 boys, emphasis was normally on grooming good habits. Like we had ayas and helping bearer. We were told to call our bearer and the security guards 'chacha'. Our clothes were checked regularly for cleanliness. We were taught how to make our beds, take showers, and polish our shoes. And our nails were cut, hair were trimmed, the khaki shorts in the summer were creased etc. So there were all sorts of things that we had to do to meet the higher standards of discipline. We were shown an English movie once a week, normally on Friday evenings. So I never became a tv junkie like other kids because I didn't have access to tv shows and cartoons.

I was lucky that the Junior School has ample grounds. So we had all the space to play any kinds of field games we wanted to play and there were always plenty of kids available to play with. Cricket was the favorite one not only because Imran Khan was the captain of the Pakistani team in those days but also because we needed only a bat and a ball to play this game. We used our brick walls as the wickets and put something to mark the bowler's end. And played this game for hours. Second best was hockey.

More to come...

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