Notre Dame… And Everything It Means to Every One of Us

… 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 :)

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17 Responses to Notre Dame… And Everything It Means to Every One of Us

  1. APRAJITA says:

    Thank you for writing this Tamanna! This blog of yours has got me the finest of memories from yesteryears. Although I really can't recall a tennis court in the campus but the rock band which I secretly admired had a lead who was nick named as “Sunny Boss” then…I wonder if the band still exists…(??!!)
    Wish you too a very Happy Notre Dame Day!!

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  2. hey aprajita! the TT court under the trees right next to the place where we used to play throw ball and occassionally, baddie? they were only cement tennis tables used for eating lunches and gossipping ;)

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  3. divyanka says:

    If I recall it right, the name of the band was Swastika :D
    I remember how crazy we would go in Julie Hall when those guys performed…wasn't “It's My Life” by Ace of Base quite the climax for us?

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  4. Ah yes, Swastika.. And yes, it was quite smthing. I remember Sunny patting our tiny Suravi's head when she went crazy headbanging to It's my life in class 6.. LOLOLLL!!! :D

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  5. APRAJITA says:

    Oh yes! And I just thought tennis meant lawn tennis…lolz…

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  6. ankita says:

    Tamanna di, im feeling so nostalgic rite nw! I wasnt thr wen u guys were in cls 6 and joined nda only in '98 (7th std)..the band u guys r talking abt,i dnt hav an idea but i do remember a 'rock show' where some 'jolly (bhaiya :-):-)) performed..

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  7. destr0yed says:

    oh yes it was swastika.. & i faintly remember divyanka shouting out the name of some band.. god! that was crazily sweet..
    miss school.. miss you gals!

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  8. Sur says:

    Hell yesss!! I completely forgot that bit..Swastika and tht guy Sunny who I used to think was utterly cool..torn jeans et al :D

    Awesome post tammy! They instilled in us the right mix of sanity and insanity, didn't they? ;)

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  9. rachita says:

    Great post Tamanna…
    That band of course was Swastika! I remember after they sung 'pretty woman'…two 12th standard “Didi-s” had a fight, each claiming it was on her requst…God it was fun!
    I still think the sand enclosure in the Montessori section was one of the coolest things we had on campus. And the 'salad dressing contests'….it so prepared us for the big challenges in life! We truly had the most amazing school life…when I talk to my friends here who went to these hoit-toity schools in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi or even Timbuktu…they find it hard to believe that a school in Patna can have so much to offer! Totally agree with -“of all the women I have met in life so far, the most spirited are those that belong to Notre Dame.” Cheers

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  10. Ankita, I THINK remember you telling me about Jolly Bhaiya during one of drives to school? Or am I just imagining? And I think I missed Jolly Bhaiya's show because I was on suspension :P

    Soma, welcome to the club :)

    Su, yea.. I mean after all these years, the women I REALLY relate with are the ones I met in school. That says something about our breed :D

    Rachita, I know man.. The hoity toities are soooo not happening!! And Notre Dame still rocks :D

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  11. saima says:

    Sunny bose… rmbr he came to sing with a broken leg… man i thought he was the coolest guy ever … :-p

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  12. Awesome post ..Its same everywhere I guess ..Though we dint have swastika and sunny and Mrs Rajni Verma ..I think most of things are same .But awesome post ..after reading it I felt I should have been a Damian too.

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  13. Sai, I don't think there's any Damian from those times who didn't he was the coolest guy ever :P

    KS, :)

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  14. 'SWASTIKA'!!! Gawd! Sunny Boy! :P

    Remember tamz the only thing we wanted was to get outta school ASAP! Life outside was more alluring. Take a studio apartment in mumbai and enjoy our independence. 'Fish' 'Zhakora' 'Manchester'…theses words will stay with me forever…Given a choice, I will still go back and walk those corridors….

    Thanks All!

    We Rock!!!

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  15. Sonya, dunno why but I saw this comment only today.. And yes.. those days were awesome.. And Zhakora.. Ye kya yaad dilaaya :D

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  16. Thakur says:

    “Taking off shoes outside the Computer labs.” I'd forgotten that altogether. Such sweet nostalgia! Thanks Tamey. :-)

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  17. Chetna says:

    Loved every bit of ur write up and it does take one back in time….Though I don’t have any remembrance of any music band. Don’t know why….
    Whether montessori or primary or high school, the memories at Notre Dame are profound and always bring a smile! Also, our generation saw a different brand of schooling and teaching which is not there anymore. It won’t be wrong to say they made us what we are today.

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