Remembering those days and friends!
Vineet Mehta ( J-72,1967)
Chapter 1 (Junior School)
“Now I lay me down to sleep”
1962 –Sixth grade–PPS Junior School
“You know what happened last night?”
“ Vinod(J-65,1967) fell out of his bed.”
“Ha Ha! Funny!” –This from boys who cried at night, missing their parents.
I was ten years old and sitting with a group of boys, getting to know them and getting used to being away from home. I was in Jamuna House and my House teacher was Ms. Malkani.
Some of you may remember her. She was strict and took no nonsense from anyone. We were scared of her, but she had a predictable reassuring presence. We knew she would be there directing us to get dressed in the morning, make sure we got to classes on time. We studied, we were on time for dinner and we were appropriately dressed. She was not friendly or maternal-yet there was a wisp of kindness and friendliness in her. She encouraged us to be THE BEST WE COULD BE.
In Junior School we got used to the routine of waking up early, studying, playing sports, keeping our elbows off the table and forming lifelong friendships.
It’s been over 45 years, so my memory is fading. Junior School was like a dream. But I remember Ms. Malkani and the kind and wise Mr. Kate.
Chapter 2 (Senior School)
1.“While we are boys in School we learn our lives to mould “
We were certainly moulded, sometimes by exceptional teachers and sometimes by just ordinary events.
The staff when Vineet was in School. Mr Bhave, Mr Tandon, Mr Cowell, Ms Malkani, Mis J Lamba, Mr Tankha, Dick Pine and medical Officer Dr Ram kishore are all in this picture.
I remember Mr. V.Bhave, our Chemistry teacher. He was very strict, almost mean. He left the school for a while. We heard he went to the US for some training. When he returned, he had changed. He became an exceptional teacher and a wonderful person. He would make us learn 100 Chemistry equations. 9 ways to make NO2 and 14 ways to make H2O. Despite being very nerdy I never got all 100 correct. Always made one or two mistakes. But it was a fun way to learn Chemistry. Some of the students did get each one right. I think he set the stage for us to believe in ourselves. If we tried, we could be good.
Mr. KC Tandon, our Music Teacher, inspired us to focus on music. ”Music is the language of the soul,” he said. He put up the sign which read “Music is medicine for disturbed minds.” I became a good Banjo player under his guidance. I also learned that I could not sing. Music is still a big part of my life-and it all started in PPS.
Now I have to tell you something bad. Ready? I was horrible in sports. I had no stamina. We had to occasionally run cross country. My friends Vinod(J-65,1967) , Late Vijay Gehlout (J-96,1967), Inderjeet (J-40,1967) etc were all athletes. For them it was easy. During one cross country race – they took pity on me. We took a shortcut, waited until some runners passed us, then followed them to the end line. I remember some teachers looking surprised that I finished in the top 50. Ha! Well I was mostly good.
Friends Vinod Kashyap in center and Vijay Gehlaut at the end of the curtail with Harjit Chahal looking on.
Chapter 3 (Friends)
At PPS we formed good, solid friendships. I was close to most of my batch, especially the ones in Jamuna House- Vinod Kashyap(J-65), Pummy (Paramjeet Bhullar, J-119, 1967), Shreesh (S-159,1968), Vikram Kuriyan (J-120-1968), Vineet Kashyap(J-117,1971) and many others. We stayed in touch for a long time. Then with time, moving to different places, we lost touch for long periods of time .The world is a smaller place now. I met Shreesh and his lovely wife in Orlando, Florida. I keep in touch with Vinod. I met IJ (J-40, 1967) for lunch on a recent trip to Virginia. ONA under JJ (Jashanjot, S-52,1967) has brought friends together again and has kept in touch with all of us. He should be recognized for this. For those of you still at PPS, work on having close friends. Our School fostered this team spirit.
Amongst friends: On the stage from left Harjit, Vijay Gehlaut, Vineet Mehta himself in center. Rajiv Nagar and Vinod Kashyap.
There are times that the Harry Potter movies remind me of The PPS .We had our own Magic. We had strict teachers like Mr. Cowell. We had fun teacher like Mr John Mallon. We had young teachers from the US -Dick Pine who influenced us and taught us to stay in water for hours without drowning and there used to be drown proofing competition as it was called. We had Mr. Goldberg from the US who hid in the Library and tried to catch students cheating during exams. We had some intellectuals like Ms. Kamble. We had the delightful Mr. Tankha who taught us Geography using projectors and slides and films in 1960s!! and Ms.J. Lamba who taught us Punjabi.
I hope you all saw “Chariots of Fire”, another movie that reminded me of The PPS, The School and House Spirit, the joys of sports, the desire to be the best within the rules. the sadness of defeat. Life goes on!
Picture fron Farewell Party of the 1967 class. Jashanjot (JJ on the left), next is Vijay Gehlaut to whom this article dedicated friend of Vineet , Vijay Singh, Anita Williams a VSO teacher from UK, Mr John Mallon, Head of English and then is Inderjit (J-40)as Cleopatra. next is Shelly from 1968 class and Varinder Bindra as Robinhood.
Of course, everything was not perfect according to me. The PPS doctor gave very painful injections. One teacher (I think of Hindi) sometimes seemed unfair to me. Mr. Cowell was too strict, although sometimes for our good. Sometimes the food was bad (except the Rajmah which was always good). And getting up at 6am was a torture –for me. But then my friends, life is not perfect. We have to accept the pain if we are going to accept the joy and make something of our lives.
Picture of ISC,1967 class with Mr John Mallon, English Teacher. Jashanjot(JJ) is fourth from left standing in front. Vineet in in last row second from left.The last person in center is Vijay Gehlout and in front of him with hand in front is Vinod.
I dedicate this article to my dear friend late Vijay Gahlaut (J-96, 1967). Though he passed away many years ago, he is not forgotten. Vijay had a great zest for life. He was a hiker and an adventurer. I remember him catching a snake by its tail and snap it dead in a second. He was an exceptional athlete and a great friend and I still think of him. Our whole batch misses him to this day.
Goodbye (take care) my friends
My memory fades. PPS was so long ago. I have integrated many of my school experiences into my life. I learned to be independent, self-reliant, straightforward, hard-working and somewhat disciplined. I learned that everyone has something to contribute individually and as a team, that we are all brothers following our destiny. So, thank you PPS for all the good and bad. For those of you at PPS, Onward and Upward!
Dr Vineet Mehta (J72-1967 ) October 2008, from Somewhere in America
The Prayer at Lights Out
(For those Old Nabhaites who did not get exposed to or forgot the “Prayer at Lights Out”. It was said by all students in night suits after brushing their teeth and before going to sleep in 1960s , supervised by their house masters. It was probably Miss Row (Mrs Gill) who taught it in those days. Her two daughters later studied in PPS. The prayer is given below)
Now I lay me down to sleep
May Angels guard my bed
And through the hours of darkness
They watch around our beds
Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the flowers so sweet
Thank you for the birds that sing
Thank you, God for everything
Now the darkness gathers
Stars begin to creep
Birds and beasts and flowers
Soon begin to sleep
Good Night everybody. That’s all I can remember.
Vineet Mehta ( J-72,1967)