Down the memory lane I have had beautiful friends around me who were solely responsible for the eidetic memory I have. The memories have been shedding gladness over the past. I thought I would recollect my beautiful memories during my school days so that people can match it with all those you had in your lives.
This brought to mind an aspect of culture which I’ve experienced in Haflong. The culture brought about by rivalry.
I think it is safe to say that most schools have a rival. A school that is similar in terms of sports teams, or reach for the top competitors, or school size, or even just geographic area. Any time the rival schools compete, students come out in droves, dressed in uniform chanting school cheers. It brought the school together, with everyone hoping for the same outcome.
I grew up with this. The cheers still come to me readily 16 years after I passed out from St Agnes’. I remember full-school spirit days, travelling to rival schools or Cultural Institute Hall for contests or simply as part of a cheer squad to support St Agnes’. Every teacher and student got geared up for these meetings and made up part of who were we.
Why was our school better than our rival? It wasn't, necessarily, but we found reasons to be the better school, and we rallied around those reasons. There are only five schools in the league . Don Bosco High School, Govt Girls’ High School, CHT Synod, Govt Boys’ High School. Geographically, the nearest rival school was about 10 minutes .The next closest school, Govt Girls High School was about 20 minutes away, and the next one CHT Synod another 20 minutes, and Govt Boys High School about 30 minutes. We all had school spirit. And don’t get me wrong, we never lacked those regular interactions with a similar school to really get that rivalry going. We had created a good old-fashioned rivalry (and a healthy one, at that). We were encouraged to foster friendly competition; with a hint of "can't wait until we face off against you again"
I realize that this isn't the only thing necessary to bring an entire school together in an over-arching demonstration of its culture. On Republic Day or Independence Day we would throng in the Roman Field and just glare at Don Bosco boys for no reason at all. The boys amused themselves by waiting for the girls to come out of the school wearing their 4 inches below the knee blue skirt and giggling. And of course, they loved whistling at us. It was just a boy thing I guess. And the girls felt good about themselves. St Agnes’ girls were prettier and daintier than the girls of Govt Girls High School or CHT Synod.
The friendship formed during those years lasted until today. And I’m sure many school mates would agree that friendship formed in school is the best kind of friendship we will ever have in life.
We can still joke and nostalgically reminisce over high school sports tournament, inter school competitions, friends, secret slam book, making notes at Miss Bonner’s tuitions, and an overall celebration for the school years. I couldn't have imagined a more perfect school experience than at Haflong. And to show how much our little town understands and appreciates tradition and values.