Thursday, 15 June 2017

Back To School

Month of June, brings the hope of respite from the blazing heat of summer. It also ushers in a new academic session for many. "Back To School" advertisements, flyers dominate the news paper space. Super marts in the vicinity entice the children and parents, alike, with glossy, catchy, colourful and crisp advertisement flyers! Fetching pictures of stationary supplies, lunch boxes, water bottles, school bags make for a perfect bait! Even those who do not belong to the factions of the society that forms the primary focus group of such advertisements, drool over them...wondering where were these goodies when we were kids????

One such Back to School flyer caught my attention. Image of the cherubic toddler, adorned with many items from the advertised list, was the center of my attraction. The toddler sure was a cutie pie! But I was alarmed at the thought of a kid, who is still in nascent stages of exploring the world around him with his fumbling feet, getting enrolled to the school...formal education??? Was that child really ready to take on to the confined walls of learning?

Count your blessing, they say. I thanked God that I belonged to the different era. My era, though it may sound that I am aging, was  a golden era lined with silvers of the gradual and natural upbringing! Till the age of five or six, I was enrolled in an "Open University". Most of us in those days used to be like this....

Our open universities had our Grandparents as the Deans! The faculties used to be mom and aunties. We even had the visiting faculties...Dad and uncles! The method of the education was fairly simple....Indulge and explore anything that caught our fancy on that particular day! The bruised knees and stained clothes were a regular sight. For awards and rewards, we did not have to wait for the year long... They were instantaneous!! Rewards were pretty attractive too...a sugar candy, handful of pea nuts and jaggery, climbing the tree to get the ripe guava under the able guidance of visiting faculty, offering fodder to the cows in the cow-shed...The list is long and equally curious! My favorite one was the lump of the salted tamarind that my mother would store in the earthen pot!! The tangy taste still lingers in my mind...

The munchkin minds, that we were, were reprimanded by the faculties from time to time. Many a times we were caught red handed, happily engrossed in our naughty acts! We learnt a lot of basic survival skills in our university courtesy fellow students... I learnt the art of using mortal weapons...read biting, kicking!!! Also learnt how to take the sweet revenge of the enemy by pouring the loose soil or the sand stealthily on his / her head!!! The punishment used to be...standing near the wall, facing it and no play time until such time that some other faculty member came to the rescue!!!

No wonder then, most of us used to cry and make a lot of fuss when finally the Deans and the faculties thought that we had now graduated and were eligible to join the formal education. All the freedom, comfort and the limitless learning was suddenly then replaced with discipline and syllabus bound education! How I wish the "Open University" still existed ...the old world charm and the wisdom that they had never fades, never ceases!!!

What's your experience with your own esteemed Open University???....

-----By MocktailMommy Anagha

14 comments:

  1. Anagha very nicely written... I also miss my open university

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    1. Thanks Pallavi for visiting!
      Should we start our own Open university???

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  2. Very well written, it really was an open university. I have learnt so many life skills. It was the best time of my life. Thank you for all the lovely memories.

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    1. Agree you Gayatri...that was the best part of the life!
      Thanks for visiting!

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  3. Being Swiss I don't know Open Universities, but also around here they start to enrol kids earlier in school. Some can't sit still, some can't dress themselves independently, but here they are, in the system of expectations to perform.
    What happened to "let kids be kids?"

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    1. Hmm...really feel sorry that we have forgotten that let the kids be kids!
      Thanks for visiting and sharing the experience from your part of the world.

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  4. Nicely put in words...
    Ours was really a happy and carefree life.
    Small and simple rewards...
    And the punishments....oh I remember standing near the wall touching the toes🙂

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    1. Yes dear...standing near the wall and touching the toes...in those days it made us so shameful when punished!
      Thanks for visiting the blog.

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  5. I don't have such memories of 'open university' but it really sounds rather fun. if I would there, I'm not sure I want to go to the real world until I at least learn to kick people. kidding. or not.

    thanks for dropping by my blog, have a lovely day.

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    1. Thanks Lissa for sharing your experience and also for visiting us.

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  6. Oh, I just loved this post Anagha. It took me down the memory lane to my childhood days. I don't remember getting new stuff every year for school. In fact mom would open the hem for the skirt for it to be little longer. In fact my younger sister used my text books!
    I loved your analogy of the open university. Indeed we were blessed to belong to an era of small joys and great learning :)

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  7. Same with me Radhika...uniform skirt once stitched would be used year after year!!
    Thanks for visiting us and for adding to the story line!

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  8. Replies
    1. Thank you for dropping by and for the encouraging words!

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