Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bows to my Alma Mater

and the Food Memories of school and the days.

St. Anne's High School
Fort, Mumbai-400001

The temple where I was moulded between the age of 3 to 16 yrs of age. It was a school which gave me more by way of sanskar than both my parents could have given. It was the best decision my parents made for me. It was an expensive school in those days. Most of the students there were from the bureaucratic and rich families only few were from the middle class like me. Girls only.

The school was different because it was led by Mother Colombiere. She inculcated the habit of regular prayers in us. Though it was Our father in Heaven that was said aloud. She encouraged us Non-christian girls to say our own prayer silently. Completely unlike the missionaries on a converting spree. That made us tolerant to all religions.

M La Colombiere

The teaching methods were different more hands on. No one taught us maths on the blackboard yet we had a Maths teacher with a Doctrate ofcourse in maths guiding us. Its a different story that I did not become PhD too like her and the fault it entirely mine ;). Geography meant making models, preparing skits on different cultures, exhibitions, sharing scrap books of our vacations to various places. We loved Mrs. Radhakrishnan for all her ideas. She taught English too. Her class was always fun. History period was synonymous with Ms. Liz Joseph and the mock battles and wars we acted out with wooden rulers for swords. Sometimes we took a chance to hit the girl we hated in those wars and together smashed her later only to include her in our gang. Guffaw. If it was study visits we just crossed the road and went over to the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay Natural History Society or Lion Gate during the Navy week.

The first things we learnt in school were cleanliness and human values. I remember the entire school going for a deko when the new potty palace was built for us. Our Aiyah and the other helpers took really good care of us. Simon our watchman knew each kid by the name and even their parents. He was one watchdog. His grand daughter studied in our school too.

All right after all that what are my food memories associated with school you will ask. The list is here:

1. Samosa

2. Goldspot

3. Idli chutney

4. Puff pastries

5. Sometimes cakes

6. Simba wafers

This from our canteen:
Samosa and Idli chutney made by an NGO in our backgarden. The Samosa had a nice crisp frill that I would keep for the last bite. Idlis nice and fluffy and the chutney tasted amazing it was always a red one. Tam influences me think.

Puff pastries and cakes came from Yankee Doodles I think. Don't remember.

Golspot because it gave an orange tongue and the inside of the cap had my favorite junglebook cartoons. I was some collector. I had the album, flip cards, mini bottles, free tickets for the movie and everything.

Simba is history now. Their wafers were cruchy tomato flavored.

From outside the school

Campion's icecream:
My school shared the municipal garden with our neighboring ' Campion' a boys school ;). Some of the girls would flirt so we had luch breaks at separate times. Yet if we met during PT periods we would bribe the boys to get us icecream from their canteen as ours didn't sell any. We would sometimes get formal invitations from them for some exhibitions that said "Dear sisters" we knew that addressed the Nuns in our school! and we would happily join them.

Bhaiya's spiced Raw mango slices, berries/ Bore :
This bhaiya amazingly looks the same even now as he looked when we were tiny tots. If we now grown adults pass by his stand and smile at him he knows it has to be an Annite. He slices the Totapuris thinnest I've ever seen outside a biology lab. The bore he gets is the stickiest they are divine pleasure. Bhaiya when was chased by Simon from the front wall found the safest place in the backgarden. We knew all his locations. He would tell us girls don't pick from basket he liked it always well lined up and we liked to mess it.

Imported sweets and chewing gum from the smuggler:
Yes he would sell fruitella, toblers, juicy fruit and what not when in India all that was available was Parle and Cadburys hard sweets and chocolates. He was well watched by Simon so he never managed selling drugs to girls. But we knew his activities. The school would many times hand him over to police but we would find him there on the next day again.

The ocassional pizza, mango lassi, creamfilled doughnut from Dad's office:
When my ever busy and enterprising Dad stole time with his daughter during lunch hours. His office was on the same road so I was lucky. I loved the doughnuts Monginis supplied to their office cafeteria.

St. Annes my Alma Mater bows to you for making me that ordinary woman with the right values and the ability to accept the mistakes that I make.

Happy Women's Day To All You Ladies!

Many years ago this ad was aired with a song "She's special women she's my wife!". Hope the married hear it today! The single hear a similar version. I used to love it.


  1. Red-checks. You forgot the red checks.

  2. And, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

    And, two half buried cannons in the backgarden.



  3. Woman you too....I'm excited! Gosh my throat ....Yes Red checks ofcourse!

  4. Yup! But I was there for a very short while. From Std 2 to 5 only. There was a Filipino woman who was trying to change the teaching method there. She always threw her hands up in the air whenever she quizzed me about Geography. I just never knew how many states there were in India!

    I remember Mother Colombiere but don't remember any of my teachers. My husband brought back a picture of me and my class, all dressed in saris - me in a navari. I haven't seen that picture for decades but I was able to rattle off everyone's names.

    It was a very long time ago, Anjali. But it was so much fun that I remember it rather vividly. Strange though, that I draw a blank on who my teachers were. Oh well!

  5. Manisha I was about to launch a page for Annites. Never imagined you wld be one!

    I was a lukite what were you?

    Filipino???? May be you are talking about Old Miss Joseph (not Liz).

    And was the picture taken in the ground floor auditorium with the blue anti skid tiles and wooden wall panels?

    If it was Std 2 to 5 then the head mistress Mrs. Duarte'.

    Some of them were Mrs. Peirera, Mrs. Bharucha, Mrs.Sriram, Ms. Ananda Amritmahal, Sr. Anita I hated her she pinched everyones ears and we girls prayed for her transfer and they were answered! Awww those are the few I recollect as they stayed longer with the primary school. Ofcourse Mrs. Gujral our art teacher.

  6. I was in Mark. (Mark was blue, right?)

  7. Hey Girls.. you made me really senti about my Alma Mater(s) too. had about 6 of them - thanks to dad's tranfers..

    you did bring back lovely memories of school canteens ;D. all my life's savings at that time would go into the school canteen.. hmmm i am getting really senti yar !

  8. Yes Matthew -red, Mark- blue, Luke-yellow and John- green.

    Mark leaders I remember are Jennifer Jaffery, Suchitra Kale, Shalaka Jadhav and her sister.

  9. Vinaya 6 wow was your Dad in the defence service? Yeah all of us were like that chilhood is associated with penury ain't it? Me to a chump for sentiments you know that.

  10. Anjali,
    First time here and you've got me all soppy and nostalgic...I studied in a similar all girls missionary catholic school(Holy Child School, Guwahati, Assam) from nursery to the tenth standard...a helluva long time...I still can rattle off all my teachers names...still miss all those friends who've spread their wings all over...those were really the best years, I must say...and of course it has moulded me into who I am today...vehemently share your sentiments...

  11. Heyyyyyyyyy Anjali, SImba wafers, gold spot, you brought back great memories, I was in Birla Public School walkeshwar, and we had similar stuff in our canteen, Goldspot and limca for 2 bucks a bottle and later became 2.50 - when i was in 2nd std or so, there used be walt disney characters under the rubber coating inside the lids of the soft drink bottles and we would be so glad to find one...
    Gosh even a 2 buck pocket money to buy a soft drink once in a while was a HUGE luxury, and I am very happy that it was so...we would enjoy in such small quantities and never got addicted to junk...

    There used to be this chacha outside our gate too selling masala peanuts, or the badam fruit or imli etc for 25 paise...

    Being a pakka tambram brought up by a strict set of grandparents (who didn't encourage eating on the roadside) these little escapades of eating on the school gates were a sense of wonder and awe for me...

    You brought back lovely memories girl!!

  12. samosas, wafers. made me remember my school in mumbai run by some real batty nuns.


  13. Hi Anjali,


  14. my my such nostalgia

    And I know from bottom of my heart
    "She's special women she's my wife!". !

  15. Sunita welcome here.

    Nandita I love walkeshwar and Banganga area. We used to visit the babulnath temple many times.

    Bee sounds like a staple in all schools isn't it?

  16. You know what I remember about Anne's? When it comes to food? For 25p, you could buy a twisted flat red and white hard strip of candy. I don't remember what it was called. But I very rarely ever had 25p. I was lucky if I had even 10p for the regular candy. I felt so powerful and invincible when I had that 25p. It was like my status in the school changed. Everyone looked at me longingly as I licked that red and white candy, cajoled it into various shapes. Mmmmm! 25p brought so much pleasure! Do you get anything for 25p now?

  17. Manisha gone are the days the 25p itself has vanished. Yeah I do remember that Red n white candy. It was just called candy.

    Awww as if I had money ...collecting bus fare helped. Me and my other three friends, Clotilda, Fatima and Rekha walked back home everyday from Regal to Fort taking in all the smells. It meant saving 10p everyday. BEST school pass holders cld buy a ticket for 10p. We wld always be in a rush to reach school by 8.00 am else I wld have saved 20p everyday!

  18. Hi

    Just happened to come by your blog from Nupur's. Couldn't miss leaving a comment. I studied at Fort Convent.... many many many moons ago and that was such a wonderful period of my life. Thanks for bring back very fond memories!! We has St. George, St. Patrick, St David and St Andrew (Red, Green, Yellow & Blue)


  19. Hey Manisha i think that candy was called stick jaw!!!! Too many memories .... i really never thot i wud get sooooo senti on reading bout Annes. Hey does anyone rememeber Sr. Vianney George??? Dont forget Batti the lab assistant!!!! Suberoyan bio teacher, Me studied from 5th to 10th... great years ... anyone remmeber miss Alina? with her immaculately manicured nails???

  20. Hey Manisha i think that candy was called stick jaw!!! Anyone rem Sr.Vianney George? Wottabout Batti the lab assistant??? He was abs hilarious....Rem the handsome father who wud come for special masses??

  21. Hey Priya nice to know you too are an annite.

    I do remember Suberoyan she taught us english too in std 9. BTW she lived in the home whose previous owner was none other than the famous author Anita Desai. Who can forget miss Alina's tight skirts and stilletos! She was the one who corrected in my bio book that mammals give birth not through the a**s but thru the V. How can I forget her. I still giggle at my ignorance. She was secretly admired by girls because her BF came to drop and pick her up at school.

    And the handsome father a rare species who visited Annes is called F. John. He was the principal of St. Xaviers school...I think.

  22. I stumbled on this blog by pure accident and I'm so glad I did!

    I do remember the Filipina teacher. Her name was Miss Miller but she was there for a very short time. I think she was a missionary and she was the one who introduced personalised education to Anne's.

    I don't remember if any of you recall Miss Alina's Portguese accent (and how she'd wear gravity-defying wedge heeled shoes for PE!). "Poot your foooot in front and catch your uncle (ankle)" Those were the days!

    Oh and I think was instrumental in getting Sr. Anna Joseph transferred after teaching us in third grade. She used to pull our ears but what was unforgiveable was the fact that she gave us tonnes of homework. It was the 48 multiplication sums that we were given one evening that led my mother to complain and she was history after that!

  23. Maria...we had two Marias in class.....D'souza and Fernandes. Are you one of them? Welcome here and thanks for writing in. Do visit again. It is such a pleasure t read comments from Annites.

  24. D'Souza - that's me:) and I'm guessing you're Anjali Koli?

    What's the address of the site you mentioned for Annites? I'd really like to visit it.

  25. Yay! That is you Maria! Where are you now? Yes it is me and I am in Bangalore since last 2 years. How are your parents? Monisha Bhansali had spoken to me once. Send me your mail id we can catch up on all the years. Take care.

  26. Maria did you read this post?

  27. I hadn't seen this post. Yes, I do remember that trip to Britannia but it was mum who worked there, not dad. Her saris always smelled of biscuits when she got home although she wasn't even in the factory.

    I really enjoyed all those school trips - to Aarey, to the mint, to a mill. I wonder if they still take school kids on trips like that any more?

  28. Hi I'm Judy an ex Annite. I passed out way before you guys in 1979. Me and my sister did our schooling from KG thru 10th and both passed out together. Now my sister is no more. It was something. We had bharatnatyam classes and elocution classes by Pearl Padamsee. Wow I can still remember the sticks we would get if we didnt bend our knees correctly while dancing. Ms. Joseph the headmistres of the senior school would protray herself to be a toughie but infact she was a very sweet old soul. We would call her nosie posie. Then we had Ms. Patricia nicknamed Popatrao she wore the most low waisted sarees but had a fantastic figure to carry it off. Wow those were the good old days. Our farewell would be together with the St. Xaviers High School boys. Is the practise still continued now... The stick jaw was a small round brown kind of chikki sold in a small plastic foil. I have never ever seen it again. The candy was the red and while twisted stick. We would lick it till it became pointy and poked one another with it. The mango vendor will never forget me for stealing his gun powder. He would tell my mom that one day this girl will die eating only gun powder. I would put the gun powder in my pocket and after recess we at the back bench would keep on licking our fingers. We had Sir Dias (Science) and Sir Burkeman (Maths). We had Ms. Nadkarni too for Maths and Mrs Mehta for Geography. Sir Burkeman left a year later and joined KC College and I had the privelege of meeting him again. Do the annites get-together once in a while. It would be nice to get together and see all the old faces. Can still remember our farewell song....Another time another place I'll see your old familar face it was a song by Engelbert Humperdick.
    Thanks Anjali, you took me down memory lane and made me very nostalgic. Pls advise if there is a website dedicated to ex-annites. My email id is care

  29. Hi - this is Lynette. I too am an Annite. I passed out in 1982. I used to be the athlete of the school. My maiden name is Lynette Carvalho. My sister Anne and I studied at St. Anne's from kg to Std. X. Reading all the posts, brought back wonderful memories of our glorious school days.

    I had the "Personalised Education" system, which was introduced by Ms. Miller, right upto the Std. VIII.

    First, we had the big red checks uniform, then the small checks. Not to forget the white wrap around skirts with white shorts underneath, in the secondary school. And the check up for polished shoes and lice in our hair, after the assembly

    Cannot forget Mrs. Duarte, Ms. Poonawala, Ms. T. D'Souza, Ms. Dias, Ms. Heredia, Ms. Patrao all in the primary section, and then in the secondary section, we had Ms. Alice Joseph, Ms. Sachdev, Ms. Mehta, Sr. Dias (of course), Ms. Subboroyan, Ms. Nadkarni, Ms. Dandekar, Pearl Padamsee (elocution) Ms Irani (PT).

    Yeah, the canteen had great stuff, not forgetting the dining room, where we would all have our lunch.

    The kairi walla and the "gun powder" is unforgettable.

    I was in the yellow house (St. Luke). Headgirl was Kavita Nanda.

    I think, Mother Columbiere is in Pune. Fr John (handsome guy), expired some time back. He used to be the principal of Holy Name school.

    Would love to keep in touch with the ex-Annites.

    My email ID is or

  30. Hey Judy

    Yeah Pearl Padamsee taught us dramatics, Particia last name was Patrao so she got the name Popatrao I think.

    Oh that tradition was discontinued I think to have farewell with St. Xaviers High School boys even before my time and that was long ~~~ time ago.

    Ms Nadkarni passed away when I was still in college. Once I ran all 4 flights to meet her at her desk and didn't see her there, I just knew she was gone. I was uncontrolable. She was my Xth class teacher.

    Judy I too was a Lukite :)

    It is really excting to see you guys here.

  31. Hey Lynette!!! You were the big girl when I was in school :). Just the name ringed in memories of sports day and Brabourne Stadium.

    Kavita Nanda later instituted some award in school named after her father. She was M. Columbiere's pet and visited us even after she completed school. She came to help with preps for annual day every year.

    Ms. T D souza was my 2nd std teacher and a very loving soul.

    Ms. Poonawala's daughter Ambareen was my classmate.

    Sorry to hear about Fr. John, He was principal of St. Xaviers Boys school as I remember. May his soul rest in peace.

    Mother Columbiere is in Pune!!! Is she back in India. Hope she is keepin well? She had a back problem when we were in school.

    This is really fun to see you gals converge here :)

  32. Any idea who is the current principal of St. Anne's

  33. Hi Maria, You seem to be very familiar, and I have a strong feeling that you might be Querobine's daughter?

  34. Hey Anjali!

    I happened to come across these posts prely accidently and I can;t tell u how excited I am...I think we are classmates although i just can't get your face...but Maria D'souza I remember very well...this is anaheeta pestonji by the way - Mark...Christine Fernandes and I used to be best you remember me???!!! I would love to write to do i get a hold of her...write to me at

  35. Anaheeta Pestonji! Hugs to you dear. How can I forget INS Ganga and the morse code stories. It has been ages. I am absolutely thrilled to see your comment here. Watch out in your mail. I'll send you links that you will love. This has been a wonderful year when a lot of us have found each other on the net.

  36. wow anjali whatr a site just takes one back in memory lane fab work.............

  37. Anjuu Thank you! Keep visiting. It is so exciting to see you gals commenting here.

  38. Hi Anjali.

    This is Shalaka Jadhav. Anjali - I never became the Blue house captain, Tasneem Nalwala did (she won by 1 vote - my sisters!!)I was the functionaries leader:)

    The canteen was my 2nd favourite place after the back yard.
    Who can forget standing outside waiting to hear your name NOT being called out for X A but X B Ms. Nadkarni was the class teacher. Nadkarni was my class teacher too and i loved her. I am glad i met her before she passed away.

    I remember all the excuses I made to make during the Maths class to just get out. All those crazy couplets that Vidya Jayraman wrote and stuck to the girls back while back slapping them!! I used to have the entire coplet list for all the girls. I must dig it out!

    Anaheeta - i studied German in college and beyond because of you. I was never fascinated with french, but simply loved the way you spoke German.

    Also you and Chrsitine wrote our farewell song based on Nothings gonna change my love for still is one of my favourite songs!!

    We are 4 sisters and all of us studied at Annes from KG to Xth. My eldest sister's batch (famously known as Chesta Shah's batch) is the notorious batch that did not get the ring ceremony. Yup she is the older sister of Jayshree from our class.

    I remember the marathi and hindi elocutions. St. Mark won quite a few chorus ones:) Yup you guessed right - i was in St. Mark.

    Our student council was the naughtiest - these was M'La's words! I kid you not.

  39. who can forget Ms. Shriram's son. He studied with us in KG - me thinks............the only BOY in an all GIRLS school...........wonder where he is!!

  40. Oh Shalaka, I always thot u were the Blue house captain. Nallu will kill me for thinking that way!

    I was fascinated by Anaheeta's German fluency too. I remember I topped Marathi (third language) a few times and she toped all the time coz she was the only one doing German! I din know you took up German later in life. Do you still speak the language?

    About Vidya Jayaraman and her sense of giggle humor...who can forget. I guess she lived somewhere near your place isn't it?

    Oh I remember all your sisters. Pallavi was so cute then:).

    Oh yes! you brought back memories of the farewell song and all the sentiments of the ring ceremony. I lost my ring long time ago, I am guilty about it.

    And the only BOY in school ...the name is Vikram. He was so cute. Later he went to Campion. Wonder if he recollects those days like we do :). I think his sis Gitanjali was from Yashodhara's batch.

    So much to talk about now we must meet soon.

  41. hey anjali, I happened to read your blog because i was searching for carrot paratha recipes for my son! It was such a wonderful surprise to see that you were an annite!!! I think I was a few batches junior ro you and my sis (suchitra kale) was probably senior. Good to see an annite anytime! and thanks for the koshibir converted to paratha idea! :)

  42. Shachi Hi! I remember you as Suchitra's lil sis and who can forget her after all she was a state level merit lister. I was one batch her junior.

    Hope your son likes the parathas.

    Keep visiting!

  43. Hi .. Shalaka your sis Yashodhara was with us in school. We have a an Active facebook group! Cheers! Jugnu

  44. wow this is amazing to read you guys comments ..........its like another world....another long ago yet just like yesterday.........

  45. Hi Priya ! Welcome here. Most of us are now connected on Facebook. Join in. It's always such a thrill to connect up with classmates.

  46. OMG! this is like a journey in a time machine of the past..I cherish 'Anne's .. sports, dramatics .. elocutions,, classes..retreats...bhangara kitty :) the guiding hand of our lovely teachers that helped us through times of shifting sands o-) M la C, Burky! Bina Khanna (wink) Ms Mehta, Ms Sachdev, Sr Anthnoy, Ms Patrao, Ms Kalgutkar, Jawahar, Noddy, lala …dear Ms Joseph (May her departed RIP)
    Thanks for this …~ Rosemary (Diana) Fernandes 1980 Batch

  47. Welcome here Diana! Its always nice to see a senior comment here. Enjoy the memories and keep visiting.

  48. the uniform ..the merits and demerits :P .. the parents volunteering in the lunch break .. the wonderful teachers and staff .. miss them so much !! Can I go back to school??

    1. We all can go back to school to relive the memories! If not fit into those uniforms :);) You an Annite?

  49. This is really like enterin into a time machine...i was way junior than all of youll..kiran dhawan..batch of 90...would be lovely to have a reunion..always exciting to catch up with old annites..


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