… The colourful clothes and sand dunes in Montessori… And Mrs Mower’s lessons on etiquette.
… The transition to the reds and whites that became eternal to our being for the next 12 years.
… The assemblies… The speeches… The ABBAs we sung at 7 in the morning.
… The colourful rides (?) in the playground.
… The P.T. lessons.
… The basketball court.
… The gossip sessions on the tenis court.
… Taking off shoes outside the Computer labs.
… Mrs Rekha Srivastav, who to this day remains my style icon!
… Mrs Rajni Verma who, my mom told me many years later, took off her shawl in the biting cold, because her class 4 students were performing a skit without their sweaters on on a cold January morning.
… May Day celebrations.
… Discovering rock music with a band whose name I forget, back in class 6!
… The Work Experience classes, and what we really did during those 80 minutes.
… The sports days, the drills, the school band, the music, the colours.
… Walking in impeccable straight lines, irrespective of where we were headed – bus lines, assembly lines, post lunch break lines.
… Sr. Joan’s music lessons, and our motley bunch wanting to sing at the start of English classes, just so that we could stall “getting educated” for just 5 more minutes.
… The white sports uniform.
… The one act plays, the tableaus, the elocution contests, the debates, the salad dressing contests, the essay writing contests.
… Echo. Says it all, doesn’t it?
… The red and white salwaar kurtas in plus 2 that made us feel like we had conquered the world just by growing up enough to wear what we thought only grown ups did.
… The Children’s, Teachers’, and even Principal’s Day celebrations and all the music and dance that came with it.
… Board exams and how overrated they were!
… The Julie School – our first lesson in compassion.
… The canteen samosas, phuchka waala, and the piping hot dosas on dry leaves.
… The labs and how much we looked forward to them strictly because it meant no lectures.
… The oaths of a lifetime of no alcohol, that I don’t think any of us really took :D
… The earnest atteempts of those teachers to turn us wild things into what they called “ladies”. But then it only meant “no stamping your feet on the staircase” :)
… The Chapel, the Christmas celebrations, the Santa Claus, and a month of Christmas Carols.
… The socials that didn’t happen for our batch.
… The “social standing” we had among “men” in the nearby schools, and all the waiting and pining outside the school campus ;)
… The school trips – to Calcutta and Bombay and Goa and Sikkim and the Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyaan.
… The Mamma’s meets and the PTA meets that every one of us abhorred with the same intenity – toppers and back benchers irrespective.
… The dismissals :)
… The bomb blast, the suspension, and the discussions, laughters, kudos it triggered.
… The farewells and the entire year’s planning that went into them.
… And the friends, the acquaintances, the batchmates, the teachers, the principals – a bunch of spirited women – the type one doesn’t see everyday.
I may never have said this before, but of all the women I have met in life so far, the most spirited are those that belong to Notre Dame. They don’t make such women anymore. I owe almost everything I am to my school, my alma mater. And whatever I have missed will come back to me in a few years I am sure. In the small town that I grew up, Notre Dame was a different world altogether! I can only thank my stars that my parents decided to send me there, in spite of the “social standing” and the “pining and craving”. LOL! Almost a decade later, I can now appreciate how Notre Dame recognised and appreciated the individual in each one of us.
It’s Notre Dame Day today. And I want to celebrate it. But I don’t know how! If I start singing my school anthem, my neighbours will think I am crazy and I can’t even guarantee that they don’t already. But I will sing nevertheless.
Here’s to Notre Dame. Here’s to Damians. Thank you for making us the women we are!
P.S. – There’s a Sisters of Notre Dame institution here in Bangalore. And a few years down the line, I want a daughter only so that I can revisit the best days of my life :)