For all those who studied in an all-boys/girls catholic school, one everlasting memory from those days is the dilemma faced by many of us. The different mannerisms, traditions and sensibilities that we had to face at our homes and schools seems unreal now, but back in the day, it was one tough balancing act.
Let us look at some of those bizarre happenings that will transport you back in time.
1. The Almighty Prayer recited after every other thing
From the first thing done at the ring of the school bell till after the last bell rang, before every meal and after eating every meal, the Almighty Prayer had to be said. So much so the Diwali Puja at home seemed like an uneducated “gawar” activity while the Mass and the daily prayers at school started to feel like a more civilized activity.
2. The compulsory English Speaking
Though this activity may have improved your English skills, but the habit was hard to let go where it wasn’t required. So much so that you would talk to the rickshawala or the sabziwala in English and then speak to him in Hindi as if it was a step down from your pedestal to talk in Hindi.
3. Having to watch “Ben Hur” or “The Passion of Christ” in the name of entertainment … every time!
Remember how every other month, the school would in the name of entertainment for children, make you watch reruns of films like “Ben Hur” or “The Passion of Christ”. Watching the same film over 10 times in your academic career and more so when you didn’t even understand it can leave you feeling not that smart about yourself.
4. The Plays on Christ Always Winning the First Prize
No matter how hard you worked or how well you rehearsed for your school theater, when it comes to competition, anything related to Christ would always win the first prize. The best play, the best actor, everything.
5. Having to pay a fine for the smallest of reasons
Irrespective of the offense, the fine had to be paid. Be it for not speaking in English, irregularities in the home work or unkempt school uniforms, there was a fine for just about everything.
6. Elaborate celebration of Good Friday and Christmas
The mass festive period celebrated in convent schools had nothing to do with the majority of the students. While Diwali and Holi were mere holidays, an elaborate celebration and prayer process had to be followed in the school premises for Christmas and Good Friday.
7. Compulsory Moral Education based on the teachings of Christianity
Though this was not a bad thing in any way, but basing moral education solely on the doctrine of one religion did leave one feeling deficiencies in one’s own faith and its teachings. The notion of “them” being civilized and us being stuck in the medieval period did create a lot of atheists and made many students indifferent to their faith and teachings at home.
8. Sex Education classes by a priest
Probably one of the most embarrassing times was when a Father or a Brother of the convent would insist on taking sex education classes to sensitize the students about gender differences. Worse was to occur when the Father or Brother would boast about how they had the opposite sex “after” them, but their sheer will would not break. This to students seemed more of a showboating exercise than education, completely eroding the meaning of the class.
9. Having to sell raffle tickets every year for the school fete
For some it was the most excruciating period of their young lives, having to sell tickets which no one wanted to buy. Eventually many indigenous ways were discovered to sell the tickets but the most popular one was to make your own parents and relatives but the whole lot of them.
10. End of year religious marketing
Just when the schools were about to be shut for the academic session, a whole bunch of literature was distributed that had to be shared with all the friends and family on vacation. Most of the literature was religious in its nature and that sort of marketing usually ended up in the dust bin piles of most homes.