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Friday, July 15, 2016

16th July, our Carmel Feast


Those were the days, my friend!

Carmel School. Picture taken on my last visit to school  in 2010.
We celebrated Teachers' Day, Childrens' day, Annual Day ...etc. in our school but Carmel Feast  was a very, very special day for us.The whole year we'd be looking forward to celebrating this wonderful day.
Preparation would begin at least a week before. The class teacher would help plan the dishes for the day. About 10 dishes or so to be divided among the thirty of us. The feast would have varied and special items from each state we were from. There would be puris, the aloo bhaajis, sambar, pulavs, rice etc etc. We would raise hands to volunteer for the dishes. Those were not the days when we ever thought of buying anything. It was all labor of love (the mothers' obviously).

The day of the feast...there were no classes that day!
I recall distinctly the one we celebrated when we were in the 6th class. The desks were all lined against the wall, leaving a vacant square in the middle of the room. A few desks were arranged in the center. Each of us bought a piece of white cloth from our home and used it to cover the desktops. Some girls made an elaborate rangoli at the entrance. The food itself was presented in some pretty dishes on the center table. All those uncouth newspapers, and vessels the food came in were stuffed behind the desks, out of sight.
Plans to decorate the classes were made in advance. We used flowers, balloons , ribbons ...whatever we could find at home and mothers permitted us, to bedeck the classroom. The artists of the class drew elaborate welcome  messages and designs on the blackboard using white and color chalks. After we were done, it was our turn to peep into other classes to see how the competition was faring...the other section being our biggest rival in this case.
We now waited  excitedly for the teachers to come in. 3-4 teachers visited each classroom. They evaluated us on the decoration and presentation of the room. We girls all sat in a very disciplined manner at our desks waiting as they ranked us.The quiet discipline didn't last long though. "Miss! Miss!" we cried out pointing to various small things that the teachers might miss...so desperate were we that the prize for the best presentation be ours!
It was only after the teachers  tasted our food and left, did we have our lunch. The variety of food was indeed a feast. I remember distinctly a Kashmiri girl in our class bringing Dum Aloo...big stuffed potatoes in a magnificent gravy! Till date, the memory of that awesome taste lingers.
The warmth, the exuberance, the sincerity and especially the non-commercial way in which we celebrated this feast evokes fragrant memories which will last forever and ever.
Miss you, Carmel Feast and all those lovely school days!

2 comments:

Monica Sharma Bajpai said...

Beautiful work, Subha! Unknowingly, I slipped back into those long left classrooms, each year's feast being so special! I remember working for decorating the classroom, with such enthusiasm and such a massive sense of euphoria! Thanks a lot dear, for penning our collective thoughts!

Beautiful World said...

Hi Monica!Thanks so much for reading and liking the post.
Yes,you were one of those talented artists I had refereed to in the post.
I found a lot of joy in penning this post too. What joyous days of innocence those were!