Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My kiddo years

Nostalgia is an amazing thing. The online Webster dictionary sums it up very aptly as 'a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition'.
All it requires is a triggering agent and the sluice floodgates of the mind open thereby letting in past memories flow back. The memories that were lying dormant somehwere in the deep recesses of the brain become active. I had such a triggering reaction today. As i was casually browsing through the newspaper, i came across the headline saying 'Geodesic to buy Chandamama for Rs 10 Cr'. I didn't have to read the entire story. What actually ensued was i was transported back to my childhood days. The days when Chandamama,Nandan,Champak and Nanhe Samrat formed the staple food for the curious mind. The invasion by the westernised versions had just begun then. Archie was far removed from the Indian style of living. So it didn't have much calling. Action sequences-be it deshi or videshi could never keep me riveted for long. So Super Commando Dhruv,Super Man and their ilks were always out of the question. That left me with the Chandamamas and the Nandans. But awesome were they. I was specially a big Nandan fan. I still wonder why. The stories in Nandan generally had a brave 'rajkumar' and a divinely beautiful 'rajkumari'. And there was the quintessential villain- the kind of plot that has been lifted with clockwork regularity by stupid bollywood flicks. Champak was outright idiotic. You had scatterbrained animals trying to play humans. I know 'Animal farm' rocks but this came nowhere close. The scheming fox, the super duper helpful elephant, the wise owl and God knows what. Nanhe Samrat was one magazine which prided itself on the detective stories that it churned out with the claim that they were not plagiarsied. Regardless of the tall claims, they sure were!! Some were lifted straight out of Sherlock Holmes. Television was Doordarshan which meant that these comics were always very much in demand and they always ended up burning a hole in my father's pocket. Not that he minded it much. Then there was this very unknown english magazine called Target. It was totally Indianised and all the stories were meant for children. It had some of the most weird stories that i have read/heard till date and i had subscribed to it for a year. After six months, i stopped receiving my copies. I tried contacting them but in vain.Years later, i was told that the magazine went bust within a year of its inception. I won a few elocutions by reciting poems directly out of that magazine. And i still miss its weird stories.

But in a nutshell, these magazines/comics were pure unadulterated fun. Television/internet is an unnecessary evil which has almost killed my reading habits. But before i sound sermonising, i shall sign off on the note, happy reading !

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Schools and Sainthood

There is something about schools which really bugs me. No! It has got nothing to do with the schools no longer being the temples of learning but merely a means of minting money. Neither does it concern the kind of supposedly 'hifi' education that the neo schools claim to impart. This post is also not about the 'super smart' schools which insist upon interviewing a kid's parents before they deem the kid good enough ro merit an entry into their 'coveted' school. This despite the child having aced the mentally torturing and nerve wrecking written tests.
This post stems from my concern about the nomenclature of schools. I can wager a bet that ATLEAST 50% of the schools, especially in the smaller cities and towns, have a name bearing the suffix Saint(St) before their names. I think i am really smart because i have a theory to explain every smart phenomenon on this planet earth. So i also have my very own theory to explain this fad. It goes something like this. The dimwits behind the naming of any school first sit down for a brainstorming session over a jug of some very high content alcoholic drink. The first step is to come up with some Anglicised name for the school. The imaginations are allowed to run wild. The person who comes with the most common sounding name is then made the principal of such a school. This helps kill two birds with the same stone.The school has a moron as the principal and the school has a name..almost that is. The dimwits still feel that there is something thats still missing from the name of the school. Enlightment dawns upon these poor souls all of a sudden and they prefix the name with a St. (short for a saint). Everyone heaves a collective sigh of relief. End result-the common man has to put up with outrageous sign boards painted in the most unprofessional manner in 'dhinch' colours. These can be seen at every other 'gali n nukkad' proudly claiming that the 'gali' has St Ignatius, StMauritius, StThomas, StRonaldo, StFederer, StSchumacher, StSchwarznegger-name them and they have them.
Some schools do not stop at this. They believe in stooping lower. The signboards are further spiced up with claims like 'English mediumICSE education till 9th standard'. Or something which goes like'Teaching same as in CBSE board' when the CBSE board might not even have heard of the existence of any such school. As for the english that is used while designing these repelling boards, the less said the better. But this should take another post. ...

PS: This post in no way tries to berate the so many schools using the St. prefix. There are many
that have done a great service to the nation and have produced top class alumni. So sincere apologies to such temples of learning. For the other so commons. feel free to criticise ..