Here We Were Taught the Golden Lesson...

 *How to sift out wrong from right.

Idly browsing through Facebook today, I came across several updates, all sharing the same link. St. Joseph's Convent turns 150 years old. Without hesitation, I clicked the link, without missing a beat, I 'shared' it too, and without a second thought, I proudly posted a rambling tribute, which ended with "What a great school we belonged to." 

Ah the very essence, of what our convent school was about. Greatness. Introduced to us, when we took our first tentative steps, into that massive structure, and from then on, drilled into us relentlessly over the years, by every faculty member worth her salt.

We were great! We were special! We were Josephians! It becomes almost second nature, to think like that.

*Honor and glory to our school. 

Screw the rest.

We were served an elitist mindset upon admission, and encouraged to like it.

As one reader graciously commented "Having studied at St. Joseph’s Convent, is like being part of the royal family! We can always hold our head up high and walk with everlasting pride." 

Reading that article, I see nothing has changed. Because, while celebrating 150 years of education, students produce plays poking fun at the "lesser" schools. Baconhouse, Amma Farsi, and Karachi Punctuation School. Are you fucking kidding me? 150 years, and this is how they're allowed to honor their school? 

*We are taught to fight the fight.

Ms. Kazi still stands front and center, to remind everyone how "lucky" they are, and apparently she still affects a fake British accent, while she over pronounces words.

What started out as a Christian mission of five nuns, starting a school of just ten pupils, turned into one of the leading educational institutions for girls in Karachi. No doubt.

But, they fail to talk of the blatant discrimination within that institution. They fail to mention how if you were good, privileged, or "pure bred" you were accepted. Dare I say Cambridge = Worthiness, while Matric equaled... um yeah right, stand over there and shut up. And, how if your parents scraped together every penny to pay for your education, you had better be grateful to the school, for accepting you. I was lucky I came from "an aristocrat, Brahmin, Catholic family" and luckier my sister before me was a star pupil. That I dashed their hopes of carrying on her tradition did not go over well. I was forgiven however, and probably prayed for a lot.

I think the praying took place, when I got thrown out of religion class (several times a month) for daring to question the Bible.

*God's blessings shower down on all
Who through it's portals dear
Leave well-equipped to meet the call
Of life, each passing year

I was told at the age of nine that I had "disgusting" handwriting, and an inability to string together a coherent sentence. But, that was tame compared to what was said, to the poor Urdu speaking girl who sat beside me. I watched fellow Christian students berated for being "Anglos" by self-righteous Goan teachers, and slammed repeatedly if they came from "broken" families. I watched fellow classmates, learn at an early age not to cry, when called an idiot by an adult. The same teachers instructed the "pure breds" to not associate too much with those "beneath" us. The same teachers complained to our parents, when we broke that rule. Students who didn't do well in a subject, were forced to sit at the back of the class, if you struggled in a subject you were labeled "lazy," and heaven forbid you should ever question authority. 

*Kind guiding hands, keep us from harm.
And, make our hardships light.

My school, taught me to loathe bullies with a passion, I didn't know I possessed.

My school, helped me to understand the privilege of class, and status. 

The friends I made there, I will always remember fondly. The fun and good times, remain memories carved in stone. And, some teachers admired, and loved dearly, always. Cannot end without a tribute to the two canteen owners, who fed us crap worth it's weight in gold..

*We'll always have a special thought
For our dear convent home.

*Lyrics from the official school song