This summer, my daughters and I went shopping for their new school bags (as befits a new school year). Lovely, colourful things with Barbies and butterflies, they made me think of what I carried to school when I was very young, if only because of the sheer contrast.
An aluminium box with a handle and a latch! Our books and copies neatly arranged inside, along with a pencil-box and a tiffin-box (also of aluminium), we would swing the boxes jauntily, pretending to be our daddies and uncles, off to office with their important-looking briefcases.
Repeated use and incessant scratching would wear off the glossy polish and when the box became battered and battle-scarred (it was a useful weapon in fights), it was time for a new one. All silver-shiny, with my name engraved in looping letters on the top by the shopkeeper with a gnnn-gnnn-gnnnnn-ing engraving machine.
I remember envying my brother when he joined school with a bright red plastic school-box, which we (mainly I bossing little brother, as was usual) decorated with cheery posters of Complan and other Glaxo-products (I had an uncle who worked for Glaxo).
When I was seven and studying in the second standard, I began carrying my books and stuff in an embroidered Shantiniketani-style(jhola) cloth bag hanging artistically (and unscientifically) from one shoulder.
The indestructible aluminium school-box was appropriated by my dida (grandmother) to keep her hankies and knick-knacks in. It is still there in my mother’s flat, an undying family heirloom, used to store undies.
HOW DID YOU CARRY YOUR BOOKS TO SCHOOL?