Sunehari Yaadein by Mrs. Savita Sahni
I joined Navayug School, Sarojini Nagar in October 1976 as a post graduate teacher in English. From 1999 to 2008 I was in administration in various Navayug Schools in New Delhi. I retired in 2008 as Principal from Navayug School, Lodhi Road.
My journey through Navayug has been immensely satisfying. Interacting with generations of bright and talented students who were toppers in their schools before they got admission in class VI in Navyug Sarojini Nagar has itself been an education. Their keenness to learn and absorb learning was tremendous.
Their desire to go on school trips and treks was infectious. As the school was activity oriented, they enthusiastically participated in them. The target was to make them all rounders. They stepped out of the school as polished and smart individuals ready to face the competitive world, go in for higher education and do well in their chosen fields. Our students can now be seen placed in enviable positions all over the world. Not only that they are fine individuals who have cultivated moral values befitting a proud Indian.
They excelled in sports, debates, declamations, drama, music and school plays. The Annual day every year involved the entire school in one way or the other. A ballet used to be choreographed by Mr. Gopalan, the school dance teacher. It used to be the main attraction of the prize giving function. It was usually compered by Mrs Veena Hora, Home Science teacher who happened to be a renowned radio drama artist. Speaking in impeccable urdu she charmed the audience.
Our founder Principal Mr. J N Dar was a hard task master. Being associated with reputed residential schools like Doon School, Scindia school and Vikas Vidyalaya, Netrahat, he tried to introduce the same culture in Navayug School, Sarojini Nagar. The only difference was that children went home to be with their family. As the school was day boarding the children were in school from 8 am to 5 pm. They were provided nutritious breakfast, lunch and evening refreshment. They had prep. too where they completed their homework with the help of their subject teachers.
The day would begin with swimming. We would see swimwear drying on the back of the desks in the class rooms. Some of us came on Sundays to swim as the swimming pool was open to the public. I remember Mrs IB Kakkar, the principal's wife, was a very good swimmer. She used to swim with the back stroke. I tried to learn the stroke from her.
During lunch, teachers were put on duty at different tables. We were also supposed to teach them table manners. A huge table and chairs were put in one of the classrooms near the dining hall and one of us was sent to teach students from junior classes table manners.
Mr. Dar used to say, “Teach them the names of vegetables and fruits in English. Talk to them in English during lunch break but let them read the newspaper in Hindi.” Newspaper stands were kept outside the library.
There was a time when students didn't go to coaching classes to prepare for entrance exams to medicine or engineering. They were given coaching in the school itself. Classroom strength was never more than 25 students. One to one interaction was easy. Class teacher was given extra time to sort out problems faced by them in school or at home. There was a close bond between teachers and students. I remember when we lost Anjali Hurra from my class X A I cried a lot as it was a personal loss for me. I had been their class teacher from class VI onwards. I am still very attached to that class as I shared a lot of memorable moments with them. I took them for picnics, started a class library with them and some of them went on treks with me. Infact I recall lot of students from my other classes too whom I taught during my long tenure as a teacher. As a House Master too I came to know closely members of my Taxila House. As a language teacher I prepared students for debates and declamations who often brought shields for their exceptional performance. I also remember playing Dumb Charade in Thank You periods when a subject teacher was on leave. The students enjoyed playing it thoroughly . I also introduced NIE from TOI. It was an interesting programme in which many workshops were organised such as kite making, pottery and theatre. The best thing about the programme was that every student got his own copy of the special edition of the newspaper for students from Times Of India at a subsidised rate. It instilled news paper reading habit in them.
Well! There are many anecdotes in my repertoire from Navayug School, Sarojini Nagar but for the time being I would just like to say that the school was a home away from home. We were inextricably integrated into the curriculum of the school. It won't be an exaggeration to say that we spent most of our waking hours more in school than home. How can we ever forget those golden days - singing school songs in the assembly hall until the breakfast was ready. Going on treks and trips with a shoestring budget and enjoying them thoroughly. Lab assistants, Kitchen staff, the gardener, Safai karamcharis and the chowkidars were as much a part of the family as teachers. It was a big family difficult to forget.
Our ex students show tremendous affection and respect to their fellow students and teachers. They meet once a year at ENA. This event attracts old Navyugians from all over the world.
I wish them health and happiness always.
Gurgaon, July 30, 2015