You mayn’t find this interesting if you are not a Navodayan. If you’ve ever lived in at least within 1 KM distance from where a Navodayan lived/lives, you would’ve definitely heard of this institution because that often we talk about our JNV. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then per Wiki, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, known as JNV are Indian schools for talented children and form a part of the system of gifted education. So, you know what, we are “gifted students” or say “Cream of the district”.
On the day a student takes admission here, his/her life takes a turn – an instant turn towards the brighter side of his life. When I joined this school in 1999 from where my life took the same turn as mentioned before, I was so sad for leaving my parents. Same would be the feeling for everyone at the beginning. But from that day, he/she will get adapted himself/herself so well to this campus that leaving it after +2 would be an excruciating pain.
The admission to JNV is through a simple entrance test organised by Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti every year in the month of February; which contains reasoning, math and Hindi and its worth noting that only 75-80 students are given admission from the whole district (see, I told you – gifted students?).
When we started our JNV life in 1999, the students were in six “houses” Gandhiji, Nehru, Tagore and Shivaji for boys and Lekshmi and Kasthurba for girls. This system was changed later to the names of various Mountain ranges in India. The new system had four “houses” named, Shivalik, Aravalli, Niligiri and Udaigiri. Dormitories of students are named as SANU which is the combination of first letter of the 4 houses. So the dormitories are SANU1, SANU2 etc.
So, these are the lifeless buildings or structures in which our lives were framed. But the better or the best part is our life out there – Life of a Navodayan.
You may think that the life of a Navodayan is neither as adventurous as the life of a Pi nor as sweet as the life of a day scholar who stays with his/her family, but this is more than them..its adventurous when you’re inside the campus and sweeter ever after leaving the campus. When I narrate this, you’ll see that I speak as if I’m still there in the campus. Yes, we all indeed live here for ever.
A day of an “ordinary” Navodayan starts at 5 AM in the morning. The process of waking up all those “cream of the district” is done by the security person on duty. He would ring the bell (which otherwise can be used as a Dosa Tawa) for few times. (I don’t exactly know how many times, because none of us bothered to count). That is supposed to be the time for us to get up and get ready for the “ever-interesting” physical training session.
The most painful part of almost everyone in the campus would be this session – early morning PT. 5:45 AM is the time when you have to report at the ground failing which there will be “special” rounds of exercises which we always “enjoyed” without any other choice. The PT session starts when the respective house captains report the head counts of their house members to our PT “Sir”. Soon after this reporting which is known in JNV campus as “Roll Call”, we will start running. But before that, anyone who is “sick” can move out of the ground and sit somewhere. That is one of the rare moments where you curse yourself for not being sick.
Two to three rounds of running will be followed by “rigorous” exercises where the rigorousness is directly proportional to the distance of our PT sir from us. If there are X number of scientifically proven ways of sleeping, you would see at least X+1 ways in a JNV ground during this PT session- sleeping while walking, running, jogging, jumping..nothing can stop any of us from taking a “power nap” in between.
The PT session ends at 6:30 AM after which we would have to go to our dormitories to get ready for the assembly at 7:30 from where our academic session of the day gets started. The assembly starts at 7:30 AM in our famous Multi Purpose hall (MP hall). The assembly starts with “news” of the day. The point here is, the news we read in the assembly is always from the previous day, which means our “News-time-zone” lags behind by 24 hrs about which no one is bothered. News will be followed by “Thought for the day”, “Recitation”, “Speech” and “Quiz”. Language for these activities are not the same everyday. Mon-Tue is English, Wed-Thu is Malayalam and Fri-Sat is for Hindi.
After the assembly, we go to our respective class rooms and kick off the classes. Trust me by this time we all would be hungry enough to swallow each other. But you know we are “cream of the district and nothing comes so easily. We have to wait till end of the 2nd period to have our break fast. Every session in our Mess hall is eventful, but trust me we don’t mess up just because its our “Mess” hall.
See Part 2 here