Mount Carmel school was in a place called Dighwadih. On our way to school the bus crossed places like Chaar number, Jealgora, Bhaaga,lakshmaniya more,Katras More. I always wondered how these names originated. I had a friend coming from Chaas nalla. Some were names of coal mines and the area got that name. School was more than 10 km away. On our way we saw some ten temples and a couple of mosques and two three cinema halls.We crossed our fingers when we saw a black car and your finger could be uncrossed only if you saw an ambulance or a red car.The other game was Zing Zing where we said categories of flowers, actors, colours. The day exams got over we used to sing songs in the bus.
The school had two buildings primary and secondary and they were seperated by a pond and a boys school in between. The buildings were huge and lot of fields to play in. We also had a chapel, a nunnery , a hostel and a garden. It was not a sand pit but a full playground of sand for young children. Huge stage with open air seating and a forest behind where we were not allowed in. No snacks, tea, cold drink or toy shop for miles.
In the senior school, there was a small pond in the compound, gulmohar trees lining the campus, halls, basket ball court, throw ball court.There was one samosa wala whom you could buy from the compound wall. Even that the wall was raised so end of story. There were lot of vultures and eagles in the school. When we sat for our meals in the huge fields or lawns, they would come and snatch the food from the tiffin. The school fee was twenty five rupees per month and the bus fee was the same too. You had to pay monthly. There were no tickets/ raffles for parents to buy. All programmes started with Rabindra Sangeet and Bengali dance.We sang hyms for Lord Christ. We had programmes if a Sister or a Father was visiting the school.
By the way, We did not say it is a convent or it has ICSE board or anything. It was just school. No value add ons were used to describe it.Though the school provided all of it and more.
The road to school was quite was barren. There were closed coal mines on both sides. very little vegetation. In summers we could see fire leaping from the grounds of the used coal mine. We lived in Jharia and it was a full town set up on a coal mine. Parts of the area would just collapse. For years peopele said" Jharia dhasne wala hai".( the town will collapse) It did not matter , no one wanted to leave Jharia. The servants lived in an area called Balu Goda . It was built on the sand pit of the coal mine I presume. It was another world and we were allowed to visit rarely with our house help.
There was a Jharia club- a victorian building in the outskirts of our town. It had a proper swimming pool surrounded by trees and then nothing. There was a huge auditorium, a card room, a room for billiards.High ceilings, lovely architecture and a sense of neglect. I think in British times , it must have been a rocking venue.We went for a screening of the movie Gandhi. Poolside screening of the film and the lovely gentle breeze. I had my first swimming lessons in the pool there with Mom s Mamaji. Every summer we used to go for class. Our ambassador car was very rarely maintained those days. After the swim when you were dying for breakfast, the car would stop mid way. Days of hardly any petrol pumps and few car mechanics.It used to be long time home then. No one worried if you did not come home on time as cars got spoilt or fuel would be over or you just met someone and forgot to come home.
Miss the simplicity.......