I STUDIED SO HARD(LY)!
Always there was magic between my textbooks and sleep. As soon as I took a textbook in my hands immediately the goddess of sleep would lovingly embrace me. Till I finished my studies I had this disease ! So I took to outdoors for my night study to overcome this problem. Till late evenings, say, up to 9 o’clock in the night our school campus became my study place after I joined college. This campus became part of my life since appa worked there and I had my whole school life there. And not only that, we had the church, the big cathedral and I was a regular church goer in those days. Till I reached my middle forties I preferred to attend services there for festivals like Christmas and Easter. The campus had been an inseparable part of my life and this attachment made me have my first grandson’s baptism there in that church.
The other place, which was my study-spot, was under the streetlights of our road. During nights, especially after 10 o’clock, a group of five or six of us, all from different schools but neighbors used to come together under the streetlights. The favorable spot for all of us was a corner building, which housed the local post office. There were two advantages. It had a brighter mercury light since it was a sort of road junction and the other one was a overhead shed which could protect us on cold wintry or rainy days. Studying under the streetlights had its own advantage. Since we were always in groups one cannot so easily sleep but we had so many things to share – secrets of teenagers. The hours we spent on roads to study were much less than what we spent to share our little secrets, adventures and escapades. Though our group had around six or seven fellows only two from the group came up to post-graduate level and the rest either just passed their higher secondary exam or flopped even in that. I would be so fresh when I was with this group and once I got into the terrace of our home to continue the studies, within no time the unconquerable goddess of sleep would embrace me.
My other study center was the St. Mary’s School-Church campus. I was almost a campus-kid since all my childhood and adolescent days were revolving around the church and campus. In those days there used to be two services everyday, the first as early as five in the morning and the other at 6 o’clock. Appa and amma used to get up at 4.30 and they would go to the first service. They would wake me up before leaving to the service. Amma would come back from the church. I would be then going for the second service. For many years we used to get our daily milk from the farm in the campus and so immediately after the service I should get the milk and rush back home. The farm was closed after some years and so I was relieved from that duty. When I reached the last two years of my schooling I stayed back after the service in the campus. The excuse was that I could study for an hour or two before going home. The school provided a room to study in the evening for some day scholars who did not have good facilities at home. This facility was extended to me even after I joined the college as I was the son of a popular teacher. So some hours in the morning and evening became hours of freedom for me. The strict discipline maintained at home would be missing and I was the master to myself in these hours. These were the hours of total freedom for me. I enjoyed these hours to the hilt.