Some unsung and lesser known people on our school campus

It is said memory is like a child moving on a sea-shore, will pick any pebble or shell and store in its treasure. So also memory is like a person’s own literature stored in his mind. However, big or small, significant or insignificant an episode, sometimes people, places and faces are etched in your mind.

There was one Ossie, an unofficial watchman living in our school premises. He lived mostly on the largesse and the magnanimity of our boarders. In the daytime he would be sometimes sozzled but, in the morning he would be prim, invariably be there at the gate. Directing the cars and the school bus for a safe passage into the school gate. Flaunting his Elvis Presley style puff of hair, his presence was there and noticeable.

Overnight one day, he became the talk of the school after one of our boys wrote a poem on him in our then quarterly school journal “Stanislite” (Written by Kishore Shahani 1967 batch). This new found fame was just beyond his understanding and comprehension. He would get infuriated as some boys would sing or recite this poem with some rhyming words “Lousy Ossie”

The generosity and the compassion shown by our boarders then knew no bounds they made sure that he had his daily meals and the school did not mind. Just as they lived in camaraderie in the boarding with their fellow boarders, their help to this poor wanderer and a homeless soul could have some refuge, shelter and roof in our large hearted and huge campus of our school.

Our sprawling campus also needed some people like short and stocky Bahadur, the watchman for night vigil. Our then boarders would recollect, every night he would patrol the school and boarding premises on the lookout for thieves. It is said that in the event he felt too sleepy, he would make a cut on his finger and put chilli in it to keep him awake. His tools were his baton (which he would tap loudly on the walls to let everyone know that his presence was there to protect them) and a real big dagger. Here was a person who served on the premises those days so that the inmates in the school could have a sound sleep at night.

Prem , in- charge of the toilets cleaning, the general 20 odd toilets at the rear end of assembly shed needed constant cleaning. Those days, when the nearby Waroda Road residents would visit in the morning and it would be difficult to find a clean toilet for one in dire need. One wonders how Prem going about his task and still maintaining a smile on his face.

These were some of the very few people who played their part and a role to keep secure and to maintain the school those days, to see the light of this day and 151 years.

Pramod Mankar
Class of 1967

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