Bell-bottoms and college

I have written about my school days and today I thought I will write a bit about my pre-degree days.

My pre-degree years were spent at the Sree Narayana (SN) College in Kollam or Quilon as it was known then. Although it was only about 10 kilometres from home, my dad insisted that I stay in the women’s sadanam which was walking distance from the college. I didn’t like it and tried to make excuses to go home, but my dad was having none of it.

At College we had to sit in order according to some ranking system, and had to take the same seat on the same bench everyday. My bench mates were Laila Rani, Susan George and Primala John. Primala and I ended up being the best of friends, but we lost contact after college. I used to call her Prameela for a very long time, before I realised that it wasn’t her name. She never corrected me. I heard that she got into Agricultural college. I hope one day I would be able to meet up with her again. The rest of us three girls ended up in med school. Susan’s mother used to make the softest tastiest chappathis ever and she would share it with us during class time.

At College we had to wear these long skirts which almost touched the floor with blouses which came up to hip level. Once my sister and I were sitting on our kitchen bench at home and our skirts were overlapping. My brother who was only 3 or 4 at the time, took a knife and went whack on the skirts onto the bench and cut through both our brand new skirts in four places. He was not a violent boy. I don’t have a clue what came over him to do such an act. My mum had to stitch it all back together again. My brother was a cute little boy and got away with pretty much anything in those days.

I soon got fed up with these skirts and craved to wear something more fashionable. The most fashionable thing in those days was the lungi dress, which was basically just a stitched sarong with a long top. My mother was pretty good at stitching and I made her stitch me a pair of jeans once using a picture in one of the ‘Life’ magazines as a template. It was ok, but I don’t think I ever wore it. Soon the ‘Bell-bottoms’ craze hit town and I desperately wanted one. I took my mother shopping and we ended up getting this garish parrot green trouser set. I was over the moon and wore it to college. I look back to those days and laugh at myself. It must have been quite a sight, but I think that that must have been the day that most of my classmates even noticed me and realised that inside this little village girl there was a crazy rebel struggling to escape.

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