Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Spring, Summer.

Joy! Found a couple of albums that were evading my most vigorous combing operations.... albums that featured memorable events of yours truly's life before the Liberalisation Era and fall of the USSR. These include me breaking down a part of the Berlin Wall with a sledgehammer, shooting Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife with a .45 Makarov; counselling Prince Charles and Lady Diana in Lincoln Cathedral; shaking hands with Saddam Hussein after he invaded Kuwait; with Adnan Khashyogi, Pamela Bourdes and Quattrochi in the French Riviera in 1987 and in questionable circumstances with starlet Mandakini (of Ram Teri Ganga Maili fame) during a Sharjah Cup series at Dubai.... among other no less classic moments that is. Now you must be realising why I find this album very valuable.
Today I'm gonna post a few of those (less controversial) pics; ones that capture a few stages of my rather chequered life as a schoolboy. Spring and start of Summer of my life.

Classmates came and went down the years. There were reshufflings, folk were weeded out for want of academics on some occasions, some just went away...... You'll find out that only few of the "originals" slogged the whole 13 years if you just glance through the pics.(BTW, do remember we had two divisions till Class X, and I was in Divison B throughout. Our batch, THE batch "settled" in Class VIII after a slew of eliminations and uphevals. But I'll explain all that as we go further.) I would have written a whole corpus on the colorful characters you see in these pics. But for want of space and lack of time, and inability to migrate to wordexpress now (where I can blog better), I am going to be painfully brief. Pleej bear with moi!

Hokay, I am the little bloke in 2nd to the right, top row of the following pic. Try to find me in the other pics.... that is if you don't have ANYTHING better to do! Oh, while you are at it, find out the ones who ran the whole 13 yards. ;)

I joined Loyola after storming half a dozen schools all over the city 'coz my folks moved around a lot those days. It was in the second term of UKG that I came to Loyola.... the following pic is from Class I though. If I remember correctly, it was the same team from UKG... except for Philip and Manish. Yes, Manish was definitely new then.
The lady in this pic is Grace Ma'am.... a no nonsense type who scared the living daylights off some of the kids. I found her nice though... maybe because I never caused any trouble in class, had kinda OK academics and teachers felt I was intently listening in class (from my still posture in class)....... actually I was on one of my daydreams. Never got caught then! :D


Now we come to Class III. This time we had the one and only, the legendary Maithri Ma'am! We visit her everytime we go to school. I still remember how much fun her classes were...... She was very capable, affectionate and really knew how to handle little devils like us. MM was the one who finally found out that the cogs of my mind weren't working out the finer details of Class III English Grammar behind my intense stare and still posture..... she somehow found out I was probably rewinding the Mayavi story I read in Balarama that morning and trying to find out a way to help poor Kuttoosan and Dakini..... and poor poor Luttappi! (Even back then, I liked the bad guys!) Perhaps it was my sketch of Puttalu, the arch-demon and ill tempered uncle of Luttappi devouring Raju and Radha which implicated me that fateful day. And was I punished? Yea.... she gave me this nickname "Mulgeri Lal" after that famous TV character, a name which stuck for another 5 yrs till I was knighted with another unfourtunate name! Sigh..... those wounds of childhood! ;)

Look at the pic below. By this time, I was a four eyes but I didn't put them on. They sucked! Just look at the little windowpanes Alexander is wearing to get what i'm saying.... I won't be caught dead looking uncool!


Ahhhh, Class IV. Elaine Ma'am. This is one lady you DO NOT WANT TO CROSS! Her face comes in mind whenever I read of Prof. Minerva McGongall! Vinay, Kuppi and I got into major trouble that year for "practising" the latest martial arts styles (from some Jackie Chan movie) on poor little Shenoy for ratting us out. I remember using Tiger Style that would make Pai Mei proud, Vinay attempting a Dragon Fist from Wong Fei school and Kuppi trying out the Crane Style of the Northern School. But Shenoy wriggled free, executed the Flying Snake Style (literally!) and fled into the staff room before we could fell him with the Manchu Silver Spear Style. Needless to say, Elaine Ma'am worked her deadly Shaolin Wooden Staff Style on our (now innocent and peaceful) Buddha's Palms. Yeowwwww!
Well, Sheni was something of a wallflower back then..... how he changed! (You reading this, Sheni? You and I have unfinished buisness! :P)

BTW, this time I am wearing specs.


Class IV results showed nearly a quarter of the class failing to make it to the Junior-High School. Some stayed back to repeat.... some went to "lesser" schools so that they won't lose a year. The vacanies meant a lot of new faces. Those initial awkard phase when you adjust to the "outlanders"..... know what I am speaking off? :) We all hit off pretty quick though.....

Now, color pics were the vogue. See the boyz in 70mm technicolor!
Our unfortunate lady this time is Radha Ma'am. Now, I must say I am very indebted to this teacher. Till then, I was an also-ran, quite Average (capital A) type, always in awe of the "villains" like Prajit, Vinay and the Jayant-Basant twins..... even studious ones like Bipin aka Turkey, Jacob aka JaRu aka Yakub Khan, Sreekanth etc. But I had one thing noone else had, an inhumanly voracious appetite for books. Darn, I knew about Robespierre even before I got to know Giant Robot.... and in all humility I was pretty much a walking encyclopaedia in many matters. It was through Fr Pulickal and my parents that Radha Ma'am came to know about this.
There was this high-stakes pre-senior level school level quiz held by Nestle.... it was THE quiz in those times and Ma'am had to choose two kids to rep the school. Well, she chose me (surprising the entire civilised world) and Jaru. We won handsomely. I became a permanent fixure in the Quiz team (through school and college) and this tunred out to be a field I was REALLY good at. Had victories even in national levels..... I started to get real recognition and that much craved applause (atleast in those nerd circles) from that point on. My secret, intimidating fears of "worthlessness" were gone. Something even the soothing assurances and promises of my parents couldn't achieve. This was my "first awakening". Seems some of my higer brain functions started working after this incident. It was then that I discovered I had decent writing skills too....


Warning: Insanely long and self-indulgent section! :)

Class VIII.
Now we are 13. We got to wear pants after 8 years in black Daisy Dukes, showing more leg than an Ecstasy charged Mallika Sherawat ever would! Good timing too, the Chewbaccas in our batch were staring to get embarrased. In fact the biggest bear in our batch, Vinu aka CD Pothan started wearing pants since Class VII. Folks, you DON'T want to see his 6'2" frame in shorts! The all-knowing school authorities wisely passed Amendment 66 enabling him to dress up in fr1ggin' chain mail armor if he feels so..... in Class VII itself. You know, just in case the pants ain't enough.... :P
(Thats it. I am SO dead!)

That's Manorama Ma'am in the pic. Taught us science subjects till Class X. She sometimes took english classes as she had an MA in English too. Even headed, wise and capable. We luv you, Ma'am!

The blokes you see in this pic continues to the end of school days.
There was a final elimination wherein the top 45 from Class VII divisions A and B (strength 45+ each) were to be taken into the ICSE/ISC stream and the rest into the "untermenschen" SSLC stream. This was a sort of prestige exam as it was percieved this would make a lot of difference in our life.... which it did. I got selected, surprising 637 sentient races across the Galaxy and half of my teachers who immediately renounced faith in humanity..... and went to Kashi/Rameshwaram/Jerusalem/Mecca. I got the message when we were on that unforgettable South India trip I mentioned in an earlier. I still remember, it was right before we went into Tanjavur temple.
Errrr God....... The promises I made then; the ones about always staying a good boy, becoming a Sanyasi etc..... remember? Of course you do! Heh, heh.... those were kind of "on the spur of the moment" bablings, ya know? Please don't take those too seriously!

Ok..... it gets weird from here. Something major happened to me that year you see:-

A "Get-out!" from the computer class for discrediting the sacrosanct BASIC language and being an affront to human logic triggered another "awakening" in me. Till then, I never got the "feel" of science , i.e I used to study science in "Take a Beaker. Take a beaker. Full of water. Full of water. Add the salt. Add the salt." mode. i.e Learning by pure rote! I didn't know what Maths exactly was, I didn't know what the hell a Math proof implied..... you know what i'm saying? In short, "I didn't have the logic" as S sir said once in class. That 1/2 hour spent leaning on the railing, computer notebook in hand, thinking were am I going with this half-brain of mine, somehow took me to the Twilight Zone. Honest to God I dunno what happened then, I only remember this huge rushing feeling...... a feel of KaivalyaJnana! I took a look at the program question, a (now looking simple) counter-decision loop thingie.... and everything made sense. I wrote the program in no time, verified the output and ran back to class to show it to S sir. I promise you he was very surprised! (PS: You know guys, I found that Computer Science class in Koi Mil Gaya to be too close for comfort.)

I found out that this "awakening" extended to other branches to science too..... I soon realised I won't be needing those half a dozen tutions to stay afloat anymore. Nobody knew then, but I had been going to 4-6 tutions for years, just to pass the exams! Six tutions! I convinced my parents to cut all tutions except one Math tution...... and that too was because of ze nice gals in that batch. ;)
I'm not saying I became a genius or the ultimate topper or something, but I began to "get things" faster, "see the picture" clearer since that day. Upgraded from the "Just Pass/Average" levels to "Well above Average" in a flash. I still had to take tutions in high school and never made earthshaking discoveries in science and tech or anything, but compared to what I was.... I came a long long way in that magic hour.
What happened to me that day? Blessed? Wished upon a star I couldn't see? Deal with the devil..... and he'll come to collect my soul soon? Jadoo's magic rays when his starship cruised by on a recce and took pity on this loser? I hit my head against the railing and closed the "switch" in my brain? I dunno. !


This pic was taken just before our ICSE Class X exams, during the farewell week. Our school had Class XI and XII for ISC but you won't be admitted unless you get distinction. That's why they held this "farewell"..... some might not make it to High School. Well, all except one made it to Class XI, including some folks from the SSLC divison on account of their high marks. There was a new arrival too.
And the priest with the blokes? That's the late Fr Mathew Pulickal S.J. I believe I have introduced you folks to this man in a previous Loyola post. He deserves a FULL post and undivided attention ..... so I'm not giving any "synopsis" or salient points right now.
RIP Fr......


Class XI. High school. In America dudes of our age would have beeing racing in T-Birds with dates riding shotgun, high on pot..... here all we had was Paili's Moped held together by bubble gums, rubber band and the will of the force. Heck, we didn't even have those scooters.... ummm, except for KP.
And "social life"? Does Apna Haath Jaganath count? :P The chota stalls selling all those "educational books" had a field day, we slobbered whole rivers in front of co-ed schools and our soul-mate school (Holy Angels, they were Girls only school you see!) and we broke nearly every attitude-adjustment regulation and sugestion put forward by the elders and teachers. The only thing that kept us from falling to pieces in those years was the spectre of Engineering/Medical and other career exams looking over the horizon. Paah, you all know what I am speaking about. All desis (atleast Mallus) have been through this grindhouse. But when I sang the story of these sad teen years to my American pals, you won't believe the level of "awe and sympathy factor" I earned! Ohhh, some yeevil yankees from that circle did give me hell, BTW......

The lady in the pic?
(flourish) DP.
(more flourish) Comrade at Arms. Accomplice in crime. Silent partner to our evil enterprises. Harried mother hen to countless sithspawn who defiled the hallowed halls of Loyola. Cooler than Fonzie. Sharper than the blade of Elendil. A mind more fecund than the black soils of the Ukraine. A patience vaster than the great void. A persistance more dogged and singleminded than the Borg collective. (flourish)

PS: Oh no, she wasn't our classmate! Not technically. ;)
She taught us English Grammar and Composition from X to XII .

Here's lookin' at you, Ma'am. You da boss!


School days were over in flash. Off we went into different colleges, different streams, different states. Most of us became Engineers, some became docs, a vet, a bloodsucking lawyer, two architects, some went into business careers, two engineers are trying to enter Babudom..... there's even a Armywaalah!
That would be our Thomman...... a being from the deepest depths of the void. An avatar of still indeterminate mission. A Captain in the Indian Army no less! Claimed he can shoot a running Chapta at 250 metres and a stationary Chapta at 400 OR a running Paki at 300 metres and a stationary Paki at 500 (Chinese are smaller and therefore harder to shoot, he says). So we entrusted him to take snaps when one of us was getting engaged. The pics turned out pretty crappy.... all of them showed massive shaking, he never captured the intended targets too! The bridgegroom looked like the billowing sail of a schooner (with his white and white clothes) and the bride looked something like a giant orange (you guessed it, golden sari and her jewellry). We asked " WTF?! Nee evidathe soldier aaneda? You can't even take a pic and you claim you can shoot Mushy's tushy from the LoC?! "
This is what he said: "Aliyo, you know what happened? I made corrections for recoil as I always do when I shoot with my rifle. Enthu cheyyan..... sheelam aayippoi! Enna recoil aanennariyamo ee INSAS rifleinu....."
Ahhhhh..... now I am sure the borders of India are in good hands! Jai Jawan. ;)

Anyway, here's a pic from one of our regular meets we always hold in our school. Good turnout that day.... almost half of us made it. Kids have become men now, eh? I am the middle aged one with the beard and resigned expression, getting the horns from those bhais in blue.... Peri to my right and Ammavan aka Kathanaar to my left. The soldier doesn't want his pic taken as Ayman Al-Zawahiri himself has put a price on his head.... It seems our brave Jawan RoganJoshed the Al Qaeda No.2's betrothed when they captured her near Kandahar. Thomman apparently showed no mercy even as she bleated piteously for mercy. Tch Tch. Bad call, dude! These cameljockeys Laaaavvv what they eat...... and I mean it literally!
Here he's camouflaged in blue, dug in deep and taking cover behind Ammavan's extended arm.

PS: See the guy in that dark green shirt on the right? Well, that is the infamous Sheikh Jibr Ibn Yohanna-Al-KhattaKhayam, scourge of the blogosphere, axe to the creeper of the Reservation Raj, a burning fever to the King of Churhat (Arjun Singh) and a plague to the caravan of this poor Wanderer.


Here endeth this wee part of my storyeth....
Here goeth I to learneth Basel Norms and the economic critiqueth of the Britisheth.



At 2:44 AM, Blogger venus said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:45 AM, Blogger venus said...

me first!!
is this a test to find out AK from these pics??

At 4:10 AM, Blogger Jofu said...

kandu romanaanjam varunnu...
I cant belive we were so small even in 8th:D
Thanks puppy for the pics...

At 7:28 AM, Blogger Anand K said...

@ Venus: Yes! The first one to spot me in all pics wins a trip to Paktia, Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Any more questions? :P

@ Jofu: We were all kids once Joseph bhai.... The studying sucked, but that phase sure was fun.
PS: You have pics of XII, X, IX,VII,VI? I can't find them...

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Jiby said...

haha...good one man!!! thanks for the scanned junior school snaps...that was one set missing from my collection...who wud have thought in those days there wud be everything from a film actor to armymen amongst!

cant believe we both were in the same division from ukg to 12th despite all the shuffling of classes...eda i cant spot myself in the class1 and class3 pics...think i learned to bunk classes at a very young age!!!

and eda in the std.10 snap did u see dadu also standing on tip-toe like the rest of us to appear taller but unfortunately for him there was noone covering him up front and he gets caught in the act...we really were stupid as hell!!!

always feel jealous of the guys who got to stand with fr.pulickal in that one snap we have of his...infact i'll just morph my head into one of those snaps!!!

At 7:32 PM, Blogger venus said...

I'd let someone else win this, since I realize that afgh-pak border is not in my want to visit places' list!! i can think over if the winner is getting your company :P

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Pinkbury said...

"you are one step closer to downloading all your memories into the cyberspace and let them live on for ever....long after you are gone."

HAHA...that was me, doing the robotic voice in i-robot. Nice pics btw. I still couldnt bulls-eye you in those b/w pics

At 12:28 PM, Blogger Anand K said...

@ Jiby: Yeah, Jabbs bhai.... you have been a "Ozhiyaabaadha" for me! :P
Nearly 21 yrs now, right?

Dadu's attempt has been frozen in time, immortalised for posterity. AFAIK, Dadu maintains Peri standing behind him tickled him (pointing to Peri's maniacal laugh in the pic) and what you see is just reflex. The jury is still out on this matter. ;)

Fr Pulickal was so close to all of us, yet we have only few pics of him. Maybe we should ask the shutterbugs like Kicha and our other schoolmates for more pics.... I personally am saddened that I don't have a pic featuring the both of us.

@ Venus: Wokay Ma'am.... I'm in! Chalo Afghanistan!
Thanx for your vote of confidence... even in the depths of hell, you shall be safe with me!
Kalari Parampara Daivangalane,
Lokanaar Kaavu Bhagavathiyane,
Puthooram Veedu Gurukkalane,
Ithu Satyam, Satyam, Satyam!


@ Pink Berry: Thanx Pink! :)

Now that you mentioned this, it reminds me of a very acclaimed X-Files episode called "Kill Switch"... A scientist uploads her "self" onto the internet, modelled closely on the AI (now very powerful, renegade and loose on the internet like Skynet of Terminator series... and attempting to kill it's creators) she and her two partners created. She realises she might be (physically) destroyed trying to fight the AI (how the AI achieves it and pulls the strings is sheer diabolical genius) like her lover and her mentor. Along with the program created to seek and destroy this disembodied AI throughout the net, she uploads her "self" (probably through pics, diaries, personal logs, personality "template" etc) on the internet. They kill each other in a climatic showdown, set to the music of "Twilight Time" by The Platters (the kill program is encrypted within a music CD featuring this album)..... this was kinda surreal I tell you! Later on, the protagonists recieve a message from the net, a cheeky catchphrase which was always used by the dead scientist.

Cyberpunk novels and series like Star Trek also feature this conversion of the human self into data bits.... Like that Star Trek episode where Scotty "lives" for nearly 200 years inside the Transporter Room computer as a block of data before he is re-created as matter by the Star Trek: Next Generation crew....

Ohh, look at me rambling off again. This won't make much sense unless you are a sci-fi fanatic like yours truly. :)

At 11:32 PM, Blogger calvin said...

You managed to bring back some of my own school days memories . Dude , how do you manage to recollect so much things ?

btw , in that last pic , "Nalla moontha " ( Moontha as in Moonji ) :D

Sheikh Jibr Ibn Johanna-Al-KhattaKhayam's sister was my classmate. You know what ? no one would believe that Khattakhayam was a renowned poet in yer olde dez of Mallu litrature , except me of course :)

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Maya Cassis said...

hee hee so lots of visuals in here and I see how a cute kid gets transformed into a*just kidding*
your new profile pic is good
will be back again to read in more details:)
enjoy the sundae

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Pinkbury said...

yup!! vaguely remember the episode. Watched it on a rerun!!!

Its a very interesting thought to live on forever by means of thoughts, memories and the jazz, but personally I dont want to exist forever. I want to live life to the fullest & make a decent exit. And when I go & really want to go. Not be a floating piece of useless data in cyberspace.

BTW, i liked your old pic better than this one...u look a lot more civilised in recent one ...well lets just say u need a shave.

At 4:11 PM, Blogger silverine said...

Aiyyo!!!! The rogues gallery ..India's most unwanted er.. I mean wanted, who wreaked terros in Loyolanadu for 13 years till the powerful exorcism rituals of the Pandits of Yesu Kristhu bore fruit and the demons were evacuated and the streets of Loyolanadu made safe. :))

Good one, really felt like I was reading about my schooldays. We used preen and primp when it was "photo-taking" day and the Teachers had a hard time threatening 45 girls to "wipe that lipstick off your faces or else...!!!" Then there would be a lot of giggling and shaking and " Oh my God my shirt is so crumpled!!" to "My hair looks awful today!!" and the photo session would have the teachers popping in Gelusil tabs by the dozen and the photographer's patience stretching thin :))

And no matter what we always felt that we looked awful and that the next girl looked really good. Ah! The differences between the gender starts very early ;)

Lovely piece this.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger Dhanush said...

I didn't know what Maths exactly was, I didn't know what the hell a Math proof implied.....

Math's Theorems !!!

Hence prooved

Its So Simple Man. I can't figure out why you needed Maths Tutions. ;)

Excellent Post. Good Old School Days

At 10:45 PM, Blogger >|' ; '| said...

hey there ak47

didnt knw tht u were sabari bhai's bro


the chronicles of loyola trapped me to the monitor for some time time now..nicely put! dude u watch a lota kungfu movies! >:D<

somehow i dont have this fondness towards mah alma mater.

pei mei, wong fei hung et al will be proud of ye :)

At 12:51 PM, Blogger quills said...

Hey!:) So exams over :) I am sure you are going to come through with flying colors. :)

I have been really busy with work (actually been traveling too) so could not really pen anything. But tomorrow vacation hopefully there will be times in between. I am praying comp and connection at home also cooperates now. Sigh!!!

Btw, I have been reading your latest post..the Anando tales from school..but since its a neenda tudarkatha, i have been reading it bit by bit. Will comment soon tho. :)

At 7:12 PM, Blogger keerthy said...

long..but really good. brought back memories of school days.. gosh!! u have all those class pics still.. damn! shud have kept them. would have made excellent blog material..

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Anand K said...

Johnny's baaaacckkkkkkk!

@ Aashik: Thanx Aashik. :)
I guess I have a good memory.... those zillion mementos and pics helps a lot too!
You are right about Jiby.But just between you and me, I must tell you that Jiby's THE black sheep of the family. ;) Poor folks, what have they done to deserve this....

@ Maya: Heh Heh, ascent of evil eh?

@ Pink Berry: Sigh.... I thought the rise of Junior B had legalised the rugged, unshaven look! Truth is, I hate shaving... though I prefer the clean shaven look. I deforest only when it starts to itch ;)
Ahhh, about existing as mere packets of data. See the Star Trek TNG episode when a scientist transfers his persona (which he uploaded to the computer to cheat death) into the android officer, Commander Data, for he could truly "live" in such a vessel? (NJAHAHAHAHA.... I bet you haven't seen this one!)

@ Silverine: I can imagine! Remember tearing out my hair in despair whenever I try to take a snap of my classmates in college. (Damn! Too many wimmen in our otherwise fair class!)
OTOH.... we, males, i.e men are less vain! Go males! See the Class XI pic in this post; you can see one of the guys flipping a birdie!
Now do you see why it's a man's world? :P

@ Dhanush: Ahhh, Chal Dhanno! Would you believe if I said I didn't "get it" till that day? I still remember my old Maths teachers' glazed looks when I spell out my semi-retarded uvaachas! :)

@ Poison: yes, I am his wastrel brother, the black sheep of my family! ;) You were a year junior to him, right?

I just lavved Kung Fu costume dramas.... the corny lip sync, the dubbed speeches, "You killed my master" storylines.... wow! Those were the innocent days of HK cinema till the heavyweights like Ang Lee crashed in. What wouldn't I give to see another classic like "Fantasy Mission Force" or "The One-Armed Boxer"!

@ Quills: Quillsji.... long time no see! Hope everything is settled out there, you were away for long.

@ Keerthy: Hi Keerthy, welcome to my blog.

Yeah, I make it a point to keep pics, mementos and detailed diaries. What good is life if you don't have these memories to cling to, eh? :)
I dunno, but I always keep looking back, squaring circles and you know, "keeing an account".

At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

:) So sweet of you. Settling down..still busy, and no high speed internet. But good to be back in home town. :)

At 12:22 AM, Blogger Neil Padayatty said...

That's any Loyolite's story! Thanks for the nice post! I regret spending the money given for class photos on ice-cream soda. That was another moments pleaure which stole the priceless forever!

At 12:29 AM, Blogger Anand K said...

@ Neil:

Hi Neil, sorry for the delay in replying....... was travelling for a few days. Thanx for the comments. :)

Ice Cream Soda was something! Dunno what they used to make it... IIRC it was vanilla essence and sugar on ordinary carbonated water. Somehow the mix was great and it went pretty fine with the paratha and beef grub from the canteen. Wonder if they still have it.....

At 8:11 PM, Blogger 日月神教-任我行 said...



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