Love & Friendship in South Point School

Posted: August 4, 2013 in Friendship, Men, Women
Tags: , , ,
The South Point High School building

The South Point High School building

Since last night I have been trying to remember names of films or books where a girl and a boy are childhood besties. Films like Parinda, Parineeta, Slumdog Millionaire came to my mind along with Chetan Bhagat’s book Revolution 2020. Then I thought of the same direction all the stories take – best friends fall in love as adults.

But is this the direction every close man-woman friendship takes? Not at all! And I am sure all my friends from South Point School would vehemently agree with me on this.

You might wonder what makes me or my school mates so easily answer this question that has been a point of debate for centuries. As students of Kolkata’s first co-educational school established in 1954, which went on to become the world’s largest school in 1984 (and stayed so till 1992) in the Guinness Book of World Records, we can talk about this with conviction because we have all experienced this.

I will start with an example. A few years back I had gone to Pizza Hut on Camac Street, after work with one of my best pals from school. One of his neighbours told his mother that he was spotted with a girl at Pizza Hut. Aunty became quite excited hoping he had found a new girl friend. She asked her neighbour to describe the girl. When she did aunty was disappointed. “Oh that’s Amrita. They are best friends and can’t ever be anything else,” she had said matter-of-factly. We still laugh about this incident but on a more serious note this shows that it was not only us who believed in our friendship, our parents also did.

Our school group enjoying Durga Puja 1990 at Triangular Park, Kolkata (Pix taken from Arpita Mukherjee Mitra's FB albums)

Our school group enjoying Durga Puja 1990 at Triangular Park, Kolkata (Pix taken from Arpita Mukherjee Mitra’s FB albums)

Growing up together, sitting next to each other in class, sharing tiffin, playtime and non-stop chatter, there were times we never realized that we were of the opposite sex. As teenagers when we became more aware of our bodies and our differences most often that did not make a difference in the friendship. I have had at least a dozen close friends, who are boys and who never fell for me or me for them. We have moved on from school, to college to careers to marriage, but even today we continue to be great friends.

Only last October we reconnected on Facebook and decided to meet during Durga Puja in front of an electronics showroom called Anandamela on Gariahat, a place where we used to meet during Puja while in Class IX and X, way back in 1989-90. When I reached Anandamela I realized I was the only girl and there were 9 boys, more precisely men. But I did not feel uncomfortable for a moment. And as the day unfolded and we picked up the threads of our past, weaving it onto the tapestry of our present life, over endless adda (chat), it felt like the years had not gone by. We were the same Class IX kids, not spouses, parents or career people, we were just great friends. We didn’t talk about who’s achieved what, who’s got which car or a new posh address or a recent holiday abroad – we just talked of school.

A recent re-union of the our South Point batch in Kolkata (Pix by Sanjoy Saha taken from our FB Group page)

A recent re-union of our South Point batch in Kolkata (Pix by Sanjoy Saha taken from our FB Group page)

I guess this is what makes our friendship so unique – the comfort level we felt with the boys. This is not to say love did not happen. It was not uncommon to see a small note tucked in your notebook, a card with a heart sign on your birthday or someone loitering a bit too often in front of your class. But there was something cute about these advances too. One didn’t feel harassed or stalked. If a girl said no boys accepted with dignity or vice versa.

When love blossomed what was amazing was the seriousness with which some of them pursued that love. Most had the earnestness to carry forward a school romance to marriage (some romances, of course, petered out in school itself). Sometimes when I see the photographs of a few of my classmates, who have married, on Facebook, it brings a smile to my face thinking of their accomplishment. As a friend of mine, who has married a classmate, told me recently, “We are still great friends. We are equals in the relationship sharing household chores and parenting duties.”

I guess this explains the crux of friendship in South Point School. We were always equals in every way. Our school was also a great leveler in the sense we had friends belonging to every kind of financial background. We learned to love people for who they are, not for what they have.

Today South Pointers are spread all over the world but I am sure there is one thing they all believe in,  a man and a woman can be great friends – all their life, no matter what Parinda and Parineeta say.

That’s a relationship we all cherish.

Happy Friendship Day !

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Comments
  1. Amitava Nag says:

    Excellent and goes beyond SPHS.. but that is not the point anyway 🙂

  2. Subhajit Basak says:

    Bunty … just excellent and reminds me of the school days also…. keep writing such nice small stories.

  3. Sabyasachi Roy Chowdhury says:

    Nice read … I just realized while reading your article that while actually being a friend to many … did I actually miss out on a school romance? …. heard a lot about you from Arpita .. maybe we’ve met also sometimes .. but today your article made me travel back in time. Thanks !!

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dear Sabyasachi,
      I don’t think you missed much if you didn’t have a GF in school 🙂 am sure your gang of friends who are girls and am sure who are still friends more than made up for it 🙂
      If you are Arpita’s friend must be we have met sometime. Thnaks for dropping by this blog.

      Cheers
      Amrita

  4. Sanjoy Saha says:

    Excellent!!…really miss those days…

  5. Kaushik Chakraborty says:

    Hey Amrita , Kaushik Here SecA, Very much touched on the write up. Keep writing.

  6. SAIKAT DASGUPTA says:

    Innocent Teen-hood …………….” Mere khuda mujhey tu or ek zindegi dey”

  7. Indrani says:

    U said it beautifully. Bang on

  8. ranjana banerjee says:

    wow Bunty di…..too good…i literally came near to tears….so so nostalgic…..

  9. Sudeshna Basak says:

    How I missed this I don’t know. Thank God ! I found the thread in Sunny’s fb page. Bunty … your writing is so true … and I think only South Pointers like us will understand the real essence of this .. Perhaps it was the only school during our times where we had no baririers between boys and girls and we grew up together so naturally without any inhibition . We shared a closeness and frankness that was so uncommon during that time. And even after so many years in our mid forties we cherish this bonding . I admit here that my husband is also my classmate and a childhood friend but when we were in school we never thought that one day we would be man and wife ! Cheers to all Pointers !

  10. Himadri Chakraborty says:

    A fantastic blog Amrita. All Pointers can so easily identify themselves with this . No matter where in the globe we are based , we still keep missing the SPHS days . Thanks for inciting some beautiful nostalgic moments in our lives .

  11. greatbong says:

    Hi, Which batch are you from? Some faces in that picture seemed familiar. Hence asking. (I am Madhyamik 92 and HS 94)

  12. BISWADEEP SAHA says:

    Khub bhalo likhechhis Amrita. I was in your batch only (Madhyamik ’91) and being married to a classmate, I do realate a lot from your post. Nice work you are doing and best wishes for more…:-)

    Biswadeep Saha.

  13. srini says:

    Interesting read and very well written. Enjoyed it

  14. Kaushik Banerjee says:

    Hi Amrita
    I am from 1981 batch. I was recently added to a whatsapp group. I was going through Google last night in search of South Point High School’s photographs and stumbled upon your post. It’s a pleasure reading your article. I can completely connect with your feelings and this is sooo very true. I’m feeling very emotional and you’ve taken me back to the best days of my life.
    Thanks dear

  15. ILINA CHAKRAVARTY says:

    Lovely read…Also wanted to check if there is anyone here who was in Class 6 Section E in 1984? Pls write into me on ilinac73@yahoo.co.in incase you were. TIA

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