Mummy was transferred to The Mama Parsi Girls Secondary School in class III. Before this she went to the Saifiyah Girls School, a Dawoodi bohra community school.
I guess she didn’t really learn the English language all that well there, because she and her sister Maimuna had to be sent to Amy, Gooly’s sister, for tuitions.
Gooly was my mother’s best friend in school, a Parsi. They’re still in touch, more than half a century later.
Mummy never really studied but she managed to have a good academic record, and won The Shield for Best Girl in class X.
Every morning they would have P.T, and then all the students stood outside class for inspection. Shoes, nails, uniform, hair, pins—anything amiss and there would be minus marks.
Lunch was in school, and for Mum, that was the most wonderful time of the day.
There was a dining room with tables, and come lunchtime, around 1:30, the servants carrying tiffins with home-cooked food would start arriving by tram. She remembers a girl called NurJehan….very stylish….her lunch was very proper with all the works, including a placemat for her spot on the table. Mum thinks she was Khoja, which might explain the ‘properness’. The main reason for such an elaborate lunchtime was because the girls played games after classes were over, and hometime was at 5 o clock! The food would be shared all around, and Mummy remembers vividly how much her friends especially enjoyed the tiffin that came for her from her house….the food would all disappear in a flash 🙂
Little Mummy was in class VI or VII when she auditioned for a show on Radio Pakistan and got selected, but the principal, Ms Thompson (a Goan Christian) didn’t allow her to to go for it, she doesn’t remember why or much care about it. It’s not like her hopes for a fabulous career in radio were dashed or anything. It was just for a lark, and like a lark, the opportunity flew away.
Games consisted of basketball, tennis and tenniquoits for Mum. She enjoyed the exercises they were put through, taking pride in her flexibility, and remembers the games cupboards were full of dumbbells and clubs which they used for their exercise routines while Mrs Jacob played lively tunes on the piano.
There were performances in formations for visiting guests and dignitaries and the girls wore special smart tunics for these. Mummy was a regular participant until she became self-conscious about her bare legs and stopped, and henceforth it was said in her report, ‘She does not take active part in sports, but she is a good spectator.’ 🙂
Mummy was used to being the ‘favourite.’ She had great handwriting, very neat, and her books were made examples of, as were her drawings. She took pains over her diagrams and illustrations, and her Geography and Science journals were works of art so the teachers just loved her. She would always be 1st or 2nd in class.
There was a cooking class conducted by Ms Jerbai, and she taught the girls to cook things like….. jaggery toffee……sago pudding…….bread pudding…..dhansak…..potato and mince cutlets….
There were laundry classes by Ms Divecha, who taught them how to starch and press napkins, boiling them with soda first to remove stains, using scrubbing boards.
Ms Rodrigues taught needlework, and Mrs Engineer taught history or some such subject.
There would be assembly every morning after the bell and there would be prayers, Parsi style, reciting the Zoroastrian Ahura Mazda prayer…
addendum: 1) All the girls were grouped into one of four ‘Houses’, named after four prominent Parsi philanthropists of Karachi. They were Mama house, Contractor house, Pochaji house and Dinshaw house. Mummy was a proud member of the Pochaji house, and all her daughters were subsequently placed in the same 🙂
2) Maimuna dropped out of school in class 5 as she suffered from headaches….