The school is called Loreto Convent, in Darjeeling, and it is also a part of my childhood, memories that are sweet to me. The school is divided into two sections : Junior and Senior School, and though my time in Loreto was short, having spent a few years in the Junior School ( and regretting not having stayed long enough to wear the Senior uniforms, that looked so much smarter than the juniors). Waking up early mornings with crisp fresh Darjeeling air biting my nose, trudging up and down the hills for about 2 kilometers before I reached school along with my friends, having sometimes parents give me money to buy ‘titoura’ a tamarind goodie which was both extremely sweet and sour to which the girls were addicted to, and could never have enough of!
At that tiny age, girls are only interested to laugh with a high spirit for fun. Mingling with each other was natural and easy, and no one felt the need to do or say something special to be unique, or even to form groups. In the space of time I spent here at that age, I don’t recall feeling sad or seeing any of my classmates feeling left out or crying. The spirit of the girls in Loreto Darjeeling is infectious, and I appreciated the easy years I spent there.
Last week I was in Darjeeling, and after having received the permission to go visit the school and classes, I was delighted to revisit old memories of oh so long ago! I had my husband in tow and he remarked how lucky I was to study in such a beautiful looking school.
The one thing I can definitely say with certainty that I learnt at Loreto was to have a decent handwriting. In my trip to Loreto I was pleased to note that the stress on good handwriting is still being held strictly as it was for me many years ago. Yves gawked at the wonderful handwriting of the girls as young as 8 years old. How I loved to write cursively between those red lines and the blue borders above and below!
I entered a class and a group of excited girls surrounded me, eager to chat with a new face. They were 9 and 10 year old girls. They wanted to know which country is my husband from, and I asked them to guess. I don’t think the girls are aware of countries outside of India. One tiny girl said in a tiny voice ‘ Your husband is from foreign’, to which some other girls heard as ‘forrest’ and eagerly they joined in saying ‘You are from Forrest’ to Yves! That was so cute and funny! While I was struggling to come up with something interesting to amuse the girls, one girl piped at me ‘You are so young, why do you wear spockles’… Aww!! I still feel like hugging her!