Do schools still have Moral Science lessons? Is there still a Music hour? Are children forced to learn Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram and write essays on Cleanliness is next to Godliness? Do canteens still sell vegetable puffs and bread channa so greasy the oil soaks right through the paper plate? Are uniforms still as unattractive as they were all those years ago? Is there still English I and English II? Do class seven students reading the unabridged version of Twelfth Night still giggle when Lady Olivia falls in love with Cesario? Do Book Depot Aunties still insist on being called Ma’am even though they don’t teach? Did teachers still yank at long oiled braids when homework hasn’t been done? Does ‘Fingers on your lips’ still echo through cobwebbed corridors? Do knees still carry the imprint of sand and gravel stone? Do dispensary sanitary napkins still look like balls of cotton wrapped in gauze? Do fingers still carry the stains of Royal Blue ink? Are Schaeffer pens still waved imperiously in the faces of Reynold bearing mortals? Do March Past and Mass Drill still strike terror in the hearts of the fairest of the fair? Do students still cheer as half days are announced when school correspondent’s die? Do notebooks still slide surreptitiously in to bags as the clock hands inch towards the end of a day? Is chapathi kurma still looked at longingly by children who are sent idli molagapodi?
Do all these things seem wonderful only because they are all so long ago in the past?