School and Beyond

My mother, Shantha Bhat’s memories of her childhood. My son, Aravinda and I translated it.

I started going to Bolvar school not very far from home. I do not remember its full name. We used to call it Bolvar shaale. I studied there till 5th std. I remember a teacher called Janaki. There was also a teacher who was popularly known as Bangaru master. He taught us Kannada. He was my mother’s cousin. I still remember him singing the song ‘Kaadiruvalu Shabari Ramabaruvanendu.’ This popular song was penned by the poet V Seetharamiah.

https://topics.revolvy.com/topic/M.%20V.%20Seetharamiah

I went to the 6th class at Board High school. We girls wore long skirts and blouse (udda langa Ravike) We had only two dresses for school and one to wear at home. They had to last for a year. Mid-April (14th/15th) we celebrated Vishu or New Year. On that day, my father used to buy new clothes for all of us. We used to go to the temple wearing the new clothes. We walked to school but we had no footwear; come rain or shine, we walked barefoot. I remember getting my first pair of slippers after my marriage at the age of 18. I finished SSLC and within a year my marriage was fixed. I think I wanted to continue my studies. But the college was a little far from home and my father did not have the courage to send girls walking to school. On the way to school I remember chewing roasted tamarind seeds. In those days there was nothing like chewing gum. We roasted tamarind seeds, peeled off the outer skin and popped them into our mouths. They lasted all the way to school. School was from morning to evening and we came home for lunch.

One of my favourite memories about school was reading story books in class. I used to borrow books from my friends. If I was forced to return the book in a hurry, I would read them whenever I had a chance. From early childhood I loved reading books. My father used to get books for me. I remember the first books he got for me contained stories from different countries of the world. There was no electricity and I would even read under the light of the full moon. Thinking back now, I feel that I must have read with great difficulty. We used to have an oil lamp which consisted of a little glass bowl containing oil. Immersed in the oil was a wick. There was glass covering to protect the flame from the draft. I loved to read late into the night by the light of this lamp. When I heard my father approaching, his footwear making a crunching sound, I would put out the flame in a hurry and act as if I was asleep. My love for books continues to this day.

I remember a bangle seller (balegaara) coming home. He used to walk from place to place selling his ware to the womenfolk. He used to come to our village twice a year. I think we used to pester my mother and she would give some money to buy bangles. I remember playing hopscotch at home. We called it jubili aata. It was fun. I am told children still play this game.

One fond memory is of going to the circus in Mangalore. On that occasion father hired a taxi and took us all to Mangalore to see Kamala Three Ring circus.
(A brief history of the Indian circus – IN SCHOOL – The Hindu
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/a-brief…circus/article4327096.ece
Jan 21, 2013 – Kamala Three Ring Circus needs a special mention here as what started humble went on to become a giant American-style six-pole three-ring …)

I think we also went to see a play the same day, but I don’t remember the name of that play. We then went to the Railway station. There was a train parked there. The gate was shut and we could not look at it from near. So we just had a peep. I remember my father saying that that was the railway station and that the long vehicle was a train.                Who knew then that I would get to travel on trains, within and outside our country with my husband for over fifty years! He worked with the Indian Railways. He joined the Service in 1958 and retired in 1987 as Controller of Stores.

Shaale – school
Bolvar- name of a place in Puttur
Shabari – An elderly woman who waited for Lord Rama

This is a beautiful song about a bangle seller sung by C Ashwath
https://www2.bing.com/videos/search?q=balegara+chennaiah+sung+by+c+ashwath&qpvt=balegara+chennaiah+sung+by+c+ashwath&view=detail&mid=9DD16A28B3715DA8DD079DD16A28B3715DA8DD07&FORM=VRDGAR

hopscotchsaris

( This photo is from the internet)

wedding

( My parents on their wedding day on May 1st, 1959)

By Lakshmi Bhat

I am a person who believes there is not enough darkness in the world to extinguish the light of a small candle. We live in a small place in South India. I love reading, blogging, stitching, traveling, photography, listening to people and many other things which make life so very nice and interesting. Blogging is a fun experience, it has brought me into contact with people in different parts of the world and it is good to read about their everyday life. In spite of the differences there is a sameness which is fascinating. I have learnt and am learning something everyday. I have learnt to write haikus. I enjoy combining the thought and the number of syllables. I have always read books and I was happy to write short fiction. I had thought I would not be able to do so. Stream of Consciousness and photo challenges are fun too. Yes, there is so much in life that is sad and that hurts us. Many a time I wonder why life is so unfair to so many. We all have problems in life but the problems of many seems unbearable. This makes me feel so helpless. It is not possible to help everyone but we can do our bit, we can do something to help some in whatever way we can. Due to the pandemic I could not go to the Home for the mentally challenged for two years. I had been going there since 2011. I have started going again. I was happy that some members remembered me :) All of them are an important part of my life. There have been many challenges in life and we have faced them with a positive approach. Our grandson and granddaughter have made our lives richer.

16 comments

      1. No we speak Kannada, we are Havyakas, so our Kannada is called Halekannada, the tone is different and many words too from the spoken Kannada of this place.

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      2. Ok. As both my parents are from Udupi, they may know it. It’s mostly English and Hindi these days. But I am glad I taught both my kids to speak Tulu our mother tongue.

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    1. Yes, it was arranged by the fathers 😊 . It happens now too. A generation before my mother the girl and the boy did not have the freedom to say no. In those days it was the family which was important. But fortunately now the individuals are important. Both can refuse if they do not like each other.

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      1. Thanks for teaching me about this. We just saw a movie called “The Big Sick” set in the United States about a Pakistani Muslim family and the son’s struggle with his parents’ ideas about who he should marry. It got me thinking.

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  1. It is such a pleasure reading each others post that we seem to become a family. I loved the song at the end. Although I don’t know the words the singer was very clear. The link about the circus did not word but I did spend about 15 minutes reading thehindu.com Thank you for expanding my knowledge.

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