We shared the school for 6 years. After class III, I took admission in a more or less famous pseudo-religious residential school on the outskirts of town. It was indeed a great school, and a hilarious place. If you were a student, you’d think that you are probably a sex offender. And the authorities were doing everything in their power to keep you from sinning again. It was a MALE place. Believe me, not even the Taliban are as anti-women as them. The students were all boys. So were the teachers, the so-called monks, the staff, the cooks, the cleaners, the doctor and even the two nurses. In the cultural events, utmost care was taken to choose dramas which did not have any female characters. The idea, apparently, was to keep temptation away from our young virgin minds. To ensure this, we were not allowed to watch television, sing or listen to any kind of commercial music, go outside the campus, keep money etc. Newspapers and magazines were censored, and heavily. This was often particularly annoying. We’d start reading an article from page 1, and on turning over to, say, page 5 to continue, we’d find that the rest of the article had been neatly cut away. Why? Because the reverse side of the page probably had an advertisement of Tissot, featuring a smiling Aishwarya Rai. Letters were monitored. The hilarious part is, all that this psychological castration achieved, was a temporary change in the sexual orientation of some originally straight boys. Let’s not go there.
I spent 7 years in this place. In all honesty though, it wasn’t so bad. Once you got used to it, and one invariably did after a year or so, it was a lot of fun. There were so many rules governing every waking moment that it was hard to go through a normal day without breaking some of them. And as you know, few things are as much fun as raising hell when you are supposed to be a saint. We created mayhem every now and then, got caught almost as often and got beaten up just as often. We didn’t mind. It was not personal. Nowadays, I hear teachers aren’t supposed to beat students. What the heck are they supposed to do when, say, somebody runs off with the entire bucket of Siddhi that was to be offered to the Goddess during Kalipuja? Glare at them? Yeah, that should work.