Boarding Days

Circa 1996.
Place : Miss Mary’s boarding house in Vypin Island.

Now I see these old pics, I realize I am one of those girls who looked terrible ( like big said after seeing my pics ) when I was in school. 😉. But I never thought so then. In fact I had a grand opinion about myself as I lived with Anglo Indians and was growing up like then. Read – short bobbed hair, cocky half mal half English accent, fascination towards shiny frocks in happy colours and imagined going to a party was the biggest thing to happen in life even though I had no idea what a party even was back then. It was just something our boarding mistress’ s beautiful daughter Lolly went to in beautiful daughter Lolly went to in shiny pretty frocks!

My life as a half Tamil Brahmin (mom’s side) and half Nair (dads side) was going pretty ok with their respective mutinous family members trying to get me into each caste. It was hectic for me to speak to people from both families if they happen to be in the same room. I had to speak in Tamil to my mom’s relatives and Malayalam to my Dads relatives. So I was pretty doing the balancing act when my dad got an offer from Merchant Navy and decided to take it. My mom was working then so they decided tge safest and effective way for my education was to put me in a boarding house near my convent school. And thats how I became a member of Miss.Mary’s boarding house in 1991.

I loved the place the minute I was there. From my lonesome single child bound in single room life there I was in a haven of children. Most of them came for tut ions but the rest 7 boys were inmates. And I stayed with them. It faced the road leading to the boat jetty and every 15 mins, we are bombarded with the sound of hundreds of people running to catch busses to get home. At the backside of the property was in all its glory, the vembanad backwaters where I could see w island and ernakulam town in the distance. I spent 8 years of my life there, first few as a boarded and the rest going in for tuitions.

It did take me a while to settle down there but once the initial hiccups were over I was quite at home. There were just so many friends from the past..wayne, ricky, vinoop, helma, twinkle, francis, oyena, swaroop, titi, prabhu, prajesh, sachin….I dont know just too many names and faces to remember now.

There was an old portugese built church from the 16th century which was attached to our school and our lives revolved around it. We attended the morning english mass at 6 daily. For this we boarders woke up at 5. Our morning coffe would be ready on the kitchen slab and we took the steaming cups and took them to the benches near the sea and sat there till it was cold enough to be had. This was the best part of the day I loved. The honking of the ships and jankars that passed by, the quaking of the jackdowes and crows that had just woken up, the grey waves and the headlights of the boats that shone through the morning mist. It was almost beautiful like an english painting.


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