Of tuck boxes and midnight feasts

I always wanted to study in a boarding school. I blame this on the St. Clare’s and Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton and The Chalet School Series by Elinor Brent- Dyer, which I read growing up. I wanted to roast sausages over a fire with my friends, I wanted to have a ‘tuck’ box filled with goodies, I wanted to eat croissants with lashings of butter and drink milky coffee for breakfast. Boarding school would be filled with rambles by the lake, playing lacrosse, having secret midnight feasts and playing tricks on the mean girls. Clearly, I was way too influenced by the archaic, British concept of boarding schools.

When I was fourteen-years-old, the family and I made a trip to a popular hill station. This hill station also boasted of a very prestigious boarding school. And I somehow managed to convince the family to pay the school a visit. It was ‘Founders Day’ or some such, and the school was filled with people. There were old students wandering around with their families, dance and drama performances being put on and even an equestrian event going on on the school fields. I fell in love, I made up my mind that I would somehow persuade my parents to allow me to attend this school. Also, the fact that it was a co-ed school made it all the more appealing to me. I had just started reading teenage romances and was dreaming about the midnight strolls I would take with the cute senior. Don’t judge me, I was an impressionable teenager. I spent the next few hours raving about the school and the extra-curricular activities to my parents and to sweeten the pot, I told them how boarding school would make me super independent.

I went on and on as we wandered around the school. And then we got to the dorms and I shut up. In all my excitement I had forgotten I would have to share a dorm room with about a dozen other girls. I couldn’t manage to share a room with my sister, so this would be a stretch. I would have to use a communal bathroom as well. I was and am fiercely protective of my space and cannot stand a mess. I would never survive. Feeling rather foolish, I kept quiet and prayed that my parents would say they didn’t want me to go to boarding school. On the car ride back to the hotel my mother said I could join boarding school as long as my sister did too. Never had I wanted to hug my sister more as I heard her vociferous ‘no way’. And thus, my boarding school dreams were dashed. But, I was rather happy it was not meant to be and and I anyway continued to live my dream through the Chalet School series for many years after. For me, in this case, fiction was certainly far more satisfying than the reality would have been.


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