Society

Shower of memories

Students on their way to school in the rain. Photo:Thulasi Kakkat   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

There is a certain lyricism to a monsoon school reopening in Kerala; a season when the skies open up to baptise school-going kids with warm raindrops that soak new uniforms, books and bags. School reopening is associated with petrichor, that wonderful fragrance of the first rain of the monsoon; of smudged writing on clean, new notebooks; of splashing through puddles; of new umbrellas that sometimes fold up to give you a feel of the rain.

Yes, there are many negatives as well. School reopening signifies the end of another summer vacation. Just when you feel like curling up and sleeping on warm beds, it is time to wake up and step out into the rain. Who can forget that stink and feel of damp socks and clothes? The thought of having to sit in those clothes in a classroom!

Even then nothing quite dampens the thrill of a new academic year. MetroPlus catches up with young achievers who go back to school to reminisce about the first day of a new school year… the good and the bad.

Yadavan Chandran

Filmmaker

The aesthetics of rain have always influenced me – the heady fragrance of the first raindrops, the pitter-patter punctuating my thoughts, my wet feet plunging into the soft soil creating rivulets of red. Come what may, the first day of school was also without fail the first day of the monsoon. I took great pride in the new uniform and stepped out of my house in crisply ironed clothes and shiny shoes. Then followed the journey in the school bus, dark, with shuttered windows, dank and humid. I always arrived in school feeling like a damp squib! It used to get very dark in the classroom, thanks to ‘load-shedding’ and often we would be without electricity as well. Only those who sat near the windows could see enough to read. The teachers would consider what to do and dismiss us – as long as we stayed put! These were great times for bonding with those seated around you and to invent indoor games. Many an attempt would also be made to start a conversation with a girl, with the relief that the low visibility and relaxed atmosphere offered. In class seven I failed for the first and last time in my academic career, and that too in mathematics, my favourite subject. I was stunned and waited for the bell to ring. I escaped to the farthest edge of our hockey stadium. My school, St Thomas Residential School, is situated on a hill, surrounded, in those days, by wilderness. Standing on the precipice, perhaps even contemplating jumping off, I was showered upon by the gentlest drops of rain. I remember looking up and closing my eyes. The raindrops on my face felt as though they came down with love, washing away the emotional storm churning my mind. I felt touched by a presence; perhaps myself from another time, something that let me know that I was meant for greater things. I remember making up a story about the rain when I was very young, a story that brought a smile to many: ‘Whenever we feel sad, our sorrows go up to the sky and become a cloud. This cloud travels far and wide over desolate lands. When the time comes, when our life is free from the sorrows that bothered us, this cloud rains down on someone, somewhere. So whenever it rains, remember that someone elsewhere is relieved of their grief.’

Anjali Gopan

Photographer

I have fond memories of the monsoon and school reopening. As a rather laidback student, I used to hate carrying umbrellas and raincoats and so I recall sharing a friend’s umbrella to reach the school building from the bus bay. There would be three or four of us under an umbrella and we would try to keep ourselves as dry as possible. In the process our bags would be outside the umbrella and invariably our books would get wet in the rain.

The ambience was so beautiful that I would become dreamy in class and keeping looking out of the window. Classrooms have no place for dreamers and so I would get punished.

Yes, I used to dread the first day in school because we would get some of our answer sheets from the previous year’s exam. I wonder why they opened schools in the rainy season when the climate was right for sleeping. It was so difficult to get up in the morning!

While returning from school, there was no need to make any attempt to keep ourselves tidy and then we would soak in the rain. It used to be an interesting contrast. I would be careful in the morning to try and protect myself from the rain but once school was over, I would not bother to do so.

John Varghese

Filmmaker

I recall countless journeys to school, Christ Nagar, in the school bus and later the city bus; shutters down, crammed together, listening to the pitter-patter of the rain on the roof. Inevitably, I’d get to school drenched but that wasn’t an issue because everybody would be in the same boat and we’d forget it all in the excitement to show off our new school bags and umbrellas. The real fun was after school hours when my friends and I would gather to play football and cricket in the school grounds or in the playgrounds near my home in Shanghumughom and after we moved to Nalanchira too. We would go home wet and muddy but always happy. Actually, even now, I’m happiest when it rains. I try to spend as much time as possible outside during the monsoon.

Minu Marie Mathew

Entrepreneur

I love the rain and whenever it rains, I feel like getting soaked in the downpour. But not when I was in school. I was unhappy about going back to school after the two-month summer vacation. And the rain just added to the glum mood. There was a certain excitement about showing off my new bag, lunch box, umbrella, raincoat… to friends. I ensured that everything was new each year. However, when the school reopened, all I could show to my friends were my umbrella and raincoat! I used to be pretty irritated about that. I used to walk Holy Angels, Nanthancode, from my home in Plamoodu. That means I would get drenched. used to feel extremely uncomfortable sitting in the class in my wet uniform. Nevertheless, I had a prized possession from that period – the umbrellas. Nobody else was allowed to use them!

K.S. Harishankar

Singer

As a kid, I used to detest having to go to school. But I used to, and still do, enjoy the weather: overcast skies and rain. It was during my high school and Plus Two in Christ Nagar that I began to enjoy school. Earlier, the end of school vacations also signalled the end of long music lessons, programmes and opportunities to perform. But getting drenched was never a problem. The rain did not even stop us from playing cricket. Moreover the splatter of the rain made it difficult for the teachers to teach. That meant free periods! Now, when it rains, I like to stay at home, sleep or listen to music.




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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 8:41:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/Shower-of-memories/article14378295.ece

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