Life at Springfield
It’s a half past five, the Gods have blessed the Earth with another day, dawn is beginning to peep and the day has commenced to show its beautiful face, the birds have started to chirp, rustling of the leaves in the wind and the swishing of the water in the stream can be heard so clearly. We all are still lost in our dreams and suddenly, there is the sharp, shrill sound of the ‘Rouser’, announcing the onset of a new day at Springfield.
The doors start to bang, voices can be heard and most of us wish for another few moments of precious sleep, but if wishes were horses beggars would ride them. Early morning is an agonizing experience as nobody wants to get up, brush, wash up, bathe and go for P.T but we have to, there’s no choice.
An age-old dictum states that ‘A healthy mind lives in a healthy body’, but while being trained physically we all don’t really mind an unhealthy body and given a choice, would surely prefer to sleep another hour rather than train in the field. Nevertheless, as physical training helps our mental and volitional growth, we most reluctantly accept it. Some smart Alecs complain of sudden stomachaches and headaches to ‘bunk’ P.T.
Unfortunately, they hardly succeed in shamming. The vigilant matrons, who are well trained, experienced and extremely alert can easily make out which one is a genuine case of sick report.
A quick change and ah! Breakfast at Springfield, is a most nourishing meal enjoyed by one and all, after which we get together for theAssembly, which is a potpourri of sorts. A prayer to induce tranquility of the mind followed by the school song that teaches us to toil and inspires us to aspire to reach the stars of achievement, followed by the National Anthem which breeds in us patriotism and zeal.
Thereafter are the dreary classes, oomph! It’s sheer boredom to the hilt but we understand they are necessary. Most kids would prefer to stay away from classes but our teachers and parents included, force us to go through this retribution six days a week. The refreshing break after four periods of meaningful and creative learning recharges us for the next four lethargic ones. It’s in these periods that our minds are focused on ‘Grub’(food) and sports.
Lunch is a big relief. It feels and seems as if the long day has come to an end, which is nowhere near the truth. But there is no harm in thinking, is there? Lunch, which is mostly very palatable, energizes us for the remaining part of the day.
Someone has truly said that ‘One cannot become a good human being just by academic learning’, in other words, classroom exercises alone don’t develop the complete personality. One has to build his character, which is successfully practiced here in Springfield, in letter and spirit.
Keeping this in mind, our afternoons are divided into 3 sessions. The first session is of field games like Cricket, Soccer, Hockey, Basketball, Gymnastics etc which, build in us a sense of team spirit, selflessness, comradeship, fair play, sportsman spirit, esprit de corps and various other qualities and traits which enable us to improve our own personality.
The second session consists of Hobbies, which are slightly more interesting because they help us to fulfill our inner desires and interests, improve our artistic ability, technical skills and aesthetic sense, along with doing something, which benefits us as well as the institution. The different kinds of hobbies practiced here are art, craft, dance, computers, painting, knitting, music, band, gardening etc. These help to remove the fatigue and weariness haunting our bodies and refresh us, to start all over again.
Between the second and third session we have our evening milk break, which is relished by even those who may not have drunk anything other than Colas at home.
The third session is for the students who have difficulty in keeping up with the academic standards of the class i.e. extra classes. The weak ones study while the bright ones freak out gossiping, chatting, playing and making lasting friendships. These hostel friendships last a lifetime, are most cherished and are the strongest bonds ever to be established.
The bell rings and we again go to our classes for doing our homework. We sit with full concentration so as not to let any teacher find fault with us. Prep time is enjoyable as many of us are sneakily reading novels or writing letters to our folks at home. The game of ‘who is smarter, the teacher or me’ goes on each day at Prep time. At the end of the long day, it’s fun to discuss the tricks of the trade of being a proficient hosteller, with each other. Mind you, with that little time we get at Prep most of us still manage to do our tests pretty well and achieve phenomenal results in the Boards. ‘Deadly’, is the word for us at ‘Springfield’.
It is dinner, which we all relish the most. The children eat heartily after a tiring day’s work. The day culminates with ‘The News’, which is compulsory. This enlightens us with the happenings around the world, as living in a boarding school is like living in a ‘Gurukul’ far away from the din and dust of city life and bang in the midst of the lap of Mother Nature. ‘Good Night’ are the last two words of a Springfielder except for the naughty ones who sneak into the common room at midnight to play table tennis or lie down and gossip with their bedside friends, long into the night even after all is quiet, dark and deafeningly silent.
It was Joseph Addison who said that ‘Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week’, but in our case the process starts from Saturday. The crisp air and the cool Saturday sun fill our hearts with zeal and zest. The weekend comes in our lives as a most awaited rest, but does not stay long enough for us to go ahead with all the things that we plan for the weekend throughout the week. Nonetheless, we take on the day with all the enthusiasm and enjoy to the utmost.
From the start of the day, on Saturday, the holiday mood sets in and we just can’t wait to get over with the four teaching periods. The most we enjoy is the general knowledge bout, which is very challenging. We usually end up guessing most of the questions.
The enjoyable moment is the letter writing session that we have. All through the week we keep adding to the list of things that we want to pen down to our parents, and on Saturday we get a chance to do it and we make the most of it. We also have tutorials on this day.
We sit together with our allotted group with the tutor and chat or sing together. Sometimes we also go for a short walk with our teachers and on the way share our experiences with them of home or of school. It is also the time when we get to rank our teachers to our own estimation.
Here comes afternoon and the week long subdued noise begins to amplify as we enter the dining hall for the afternoon meal. Walking down the steps, in spite of the strict vigilance of the House monitors we manage to box or pinch each other before the grace is said. We hungrily gobble down the delicious afternoon preparation. We can hardly keep the excitement in check resulting in the increased clatter of forks and spoons as the time passes. Though it is soon checked by our over disciplinarian teachers.
Although Saturday afternoon is a normal activity day, yet everyone shows extra fervor on the play field or the music room (where strings get pulled a little more than other days attracting stern looks from the music teacher) or whatever activity they have for the day. Whether it is Gymnastic or Craftwork, everything seems to be much more fun on this day. The evening milk break is a lot better and the Aloo Bhujiya, Kurkure or the chips that we get with it are lip smacking. We munch away and mischievously litter the place knowing well that the prefects on duty would be actively herding us to pick up the wrappers later.
We hardly finish the errand when the long bell rings for us to collect in the ground. We already know what it is for; it is the movie time. We run to the assembly ground where the long awaited title of some movie is announced and all of us jump in the air with glee. We walk to the common room in proper lines, mentally booking our seats in front of the large screen. Some of the extra energetic ones, who think the movie to be a waste of time, sweat it out on the games field.
As darkness descends over the evening, we line up for the hot favourite – packed food, which we all eat in our dormitories. We can hardly go to sleep that night and often sit up till late in the night, talking in whispers to avoid attracting the matron’s attention. During that time we fix up matches to be played the next morning.
Waking up on a Sunday morning is never a problem. In fact we get up earlier than the rest of the days. After a good match we eat like giants- Pao Bhaji, Chana Kulcha, Paranthas, there is so much to eat. After the breakfast, with the sun high up in the sky we get indoors to watch TV, play Chess, carom, T.T and those who care nothing for the sun make their day on the ground. The two staff members on duty to keep an eye on us remain as watchful and observant as a hawk, and at the same time they make the most interesting companions for the day, sharing our laughs with us and sometimes also showing their skills at the games.
The meal on Sunday is a special one, or so it seems after those grueling hours on the play field. We eat to our fill and then sleep like logs in the afternoon. Sunday is the only day when we get to sleep in the afternoon. We emerge from our dorms at the time of evening break. After the break we are free again to enjoy the evening the way we want to. It is usually spent trying to chalk out a schedule for the next week and also adding a few things about what we intend to do the next Saturday.
After a good weekend the Monday is welcome because it is only if the week is excruciatingly demanding that we can enjoy a weekend. Right?