It gives me immense pleasure to learn that P & T Primary School, Atul Grove Road, New Delhi, is celebrating its Foundation Day 2009. The Primary School which once had 250 students and only 6 class rooms has come a long way and grown into a sprawling Senior Secondary School with 1300 students today.
This school is my alma mater. I passed my fifth standard way back in 1966. My brothers and sister, Ashok Kumar Pipal, Raj Kumar, Sneh Lata and Manoj all have studied here during 1963-1972. They are all well settled now.
Till fourth standard my batch sat on durries, it was only in fifth standard that we got the widely envied privilege of having desks for ourselves. The announcement of the commencement & end of periods as also the recesses (aadhi-chhutti) were all assisted by a student randomly chosen by the Head Master. He would so very gleefully rush to do it holding the brass gong in left hand and continuously banging wooden mallet on it, longer than necessary. It really used to be a privilege.
On alternate Saturdays, after recess, we would have “Baal-Sabha”. Jokes and songs were recited on a make shift 'stage' (table) placed at the end of the staircase leading to the first floor. We, the audience would sit in two sideway verandahs. I recall having sung a popular song from a hit film of those days-- “Do deewane dil ke chale hain dekho mil ke...” along with a classmate Sham Sundar better known by his nickname-Pama. Shiv Nandan (lived above Burmah Shell, now Bharat Petroleum petrol pump opposite Chandralok building at Janpath) brother duo Mehruddin and Nehruddin (Hyderabad House), Dutta, Kalia, Chandrashekhar (Head Master's son) and Laali, the only girl student in fifth standard were some other classmates. Anita in class-IV had some fresh wound on her foot. She was niece of one Darshan who was running a small stationery and toffee shop from his residential quarters nearby. She once narrated a ghost story, still fresh in my mind, when a certain man was in toilet, a hand came out of the hole of the pot, touched him and of course the man died there and then. My.. my.. how so ever hard I tried to forget it, just in time when I am in toilet, I would remember it . Needless to say, for several weeks I sat 'ulta' on the pot, keeping a close vigil on the hole fearing that a hand may just pop out.
In one of the quarters in school compound lived a girl 'Poli' who was mentally challenged. Her folks would buy her a balloon tied to thin wooden stick. We kids would take shot at her balloon with pebbles as to who would burst it first. Every time it would burst, she too would burst in such a shrieking and wailing that would send us all hiding here and there.
Shri Gyana Nand Joshi, the then Head Master had taken us, herded in a truck, on a picnic to Buddha Garden - my maiden picnic and first ever visit to Buddha Garden. He was such a caring and fatherly figure that he himself served food to us students after making us sit in a circle. This picnic was around Holi festival. We carried bagful of water balloons and threw them at passersby en-route. A student got hurt when one of the kids pulled the hook sending back flap door of the truck down on the head of this student. We received many more slaps than the stitches he got.
Another indulgence was to hire kid-bicycles from Refugee Market close to Bengali Market and pedal in a group along the Chambery, Telegraph Lane (now Harish Chandra Mathur Lane), Curzon Road (now Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Canning Lane (now Pt. Ravi Shankar Shukla Lane).
Chandralok building, Kidwai Bhawan and Khurshid Lal Bhawan were under construction then. We would climb and rush down the sand and soil hillocks littered all over. Dangerous looking massive machines worked tirelessly day in and day out digging deep n deep, laying the foundation pillars. The sound of heavy 'thuds' at regular intervals could be heard at long distances.
P & T Primary School founded in 1950 has grown, expanded and developed in more ways than one. The credit for all this goes singularly to the dedicated team of Principal, teachers and staff. They deserve all the kudos.
It is almost forty five years but I get a feel as if all this happened just yesterday. I mean every word of it when I say that one can not make his/her life meaningful without the blessings of one’s teachers and parents. I am no exception. I am indeed indebted to Shri Gyana Nand Joshi and Shri Hirday Ram (now deceased). Thank you very much sir for moulding us all into what we are today.
I am sure Madam Parveen Sharma(the present Principal ) with her dedicated efforts, selfless spirit and devotion of almost 35 years shall take the school to even greater heights of glory in coming times.
I end with the school prayer of our times;
Hey prabhu anand data, gyan hum ko deejiye,
Sheeghra saare durgunaun ko, door hamse keejiye…