BOARDING SCHOOL and a middle class kid
My parents loved me beyond belief, beyond explanation. Their lives revolved around children (us). They scarified career, money comforts etc for our education and success.
Still, all this was within the confines of a traditional Indian middle class family with strict morals & codes of conduct. Right from how many movies per year, to prayer / bhajan in the evenings, to “..study well , else you’ll be grazing bufallaoes ..”, to when to be back home daily (before 9.00 …10.00 p.m etc), a lot was regulated, for BOYS & girls.
Cigarette, Tambacco, drinks were totally taboo. Even older “uncles” who consumed these were branded as little “wayward” !! I knew cigarettes were injurious to heath, without any statutory warning because, dad would have beaten me well as he loved me so much
Home and school were safest for kids. Permitted “Outside” was Tuition class, Sports, cinema with Parents or good “reliable” friends, training etc ! Period ! Parents were Gods. Next were teachers.
In such a setting, one of the utmost fears fed to me was, “…IF you misbehave, we will send you to a STRICT boarding school, with a bodybuilder warden !! 😦 😦 …” There were some boarding schools famous for this (mostly fanned by tales and anecdotal evidence as no photos, phones etc existed those days)
When I moved to college, with all hopes and aspirations, I had to move out of town, go to a city / new place, start preparing for professional entrance exams and also ….also…..move into a HOSTEL !!!! (ouch)
I was mentally prepared for everything else, but not for HOSTEL …..
Still let me tell you, as most of you would vouch, just as a family gave me all the love and all the character, HOSTEL gave me all the courage and healthy suspicion to handle the world (except marriage !! 🙂
HOSTEL was far more fun than I imagined
HOSTEL lead to life long friendships that I could not have achieved otherwise
HOSTEL taught me to start managing my life myself. I got way more independent, way more organized, right from daily activities, to thinking on my feet. If I got cranky I had to calm down myself. Mother didn’t wake me up, alarm did, and If I didn’t wake up on time, there was NO breakfast.
Hostel taught me how to gauge ppl , though I’m no master at it, it gave me whatever skills I have.
Hostel taught me how manage a variety of foods and cultures
Hostel taught me that India has diversity and variety and diversity is NOT to be feared
Hostel taught me a lot of good and bad, but also made me “understand” and “appreciate” my parents much more
HOSTEL was much more good that I would have imagined when I was eight or ten or fourteen years old
I know some kids have got distracted , some have gotten into bad company, some have fallen during their boarding school / HOSTEL stints, but a decent HOSTEL / B School combined with “some” inner qualities have yielded better results than just sitting at home
but then I came out of HOSTEL and got into marriage !! 🙂 🙂 A Marriage that no one warned me about !!