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My Fundays 04-07-2007

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By Churni Ganguly The noted actress of the bengali small screen talks about an idyllic childhood in the lap of the himalayas AS TOLD TO SIPRA SEN SAHA
  • Published 4.07.07

I grew up in Kurseong, in the lap of the Himalayas. My parents were teachers and we lived slightly away from the town proper, in a teachers’ colony on a hilltop. My school, the famous Dow Hills, was only about 15 minutes from home.

Though Dow Hills is a boarding school, a handful of local girls, including me, were allowed to stay with our parents. I thus experienced the best of both worlds — the doting love of my parents as well as the charm of living in an old boarding school.

My father was an extremely caring, but a rather serious person. He wanted me to do well in sports and studies, especially sports, but I somehow never had the urge to run faster than others when the whistle blew! Similarly, though I was a good student, I never thought that I had to stand first in class. My mother believed in bringing up her children without tears. She would never pressure us into doing something and believed in allowing us to do whatever we loved. Like my father, she too felt that extra-curricular activities are equally important.

I was generally not naughty. But I remember one mischievous incident from my childhood. One day on my way to school, I found that there was a solid layer of snow on the ground. I thought it would be fun to take a big chunk to the classroom and keep it in one of my classmate’s desk. What I had not bargained for was that she would complain to the teacher. Everyone laughed, but our class teacher threatened to punish the entire class if the culprit didn’t confess. I couldn’t keep mum any more and owned up to the crime.

One of my best experiences of school, however, was acting in plays and dance-dramas, thanks to Miss Basu, who joined when I was in Class IV. She prepared us for Balmiki Pratibha and a stage adaptation of Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen, where I played Gupi. Then there was Mrs John, our music teacher, who taught us numerous songs while playing the piano. I enjoyed singing hymns so much that even now, I sing in church whenever I can. And how can I forget Mrs Sen, who never laughed or talked to us. We usually sat like statues in her class. But one day, a monkey entered our classroom and we started screaming. Mrs Sen, who was taking the class, also screamed and rushed out of class. The monkey, seeing all this, also ran away, scared out of its wits. That was the only day we burst out in laughter in her class!

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