Few days back I was chatting with my colleagues about the snacks we ate during our class intervals in our school days. I have vivid memories of my school interval periods and how the time was spent. It is not only about the snacks but also various other things we all did in that 15 minutes or so.
During my secondary education at Karapettai, Tuticorin the intervals are the most looked forward time. You have variety of things to do in those 15 minutes of freedom!! You play cricket, football with tennis balls in the class corridors or run around chasing your classmates for some odd reason. On few days, when I have a rupee or so in my pocket, I head straight to the school canteen. The favourite snack was a samosa, which costed 50 ps. Immediately after the bell rang, we run like crazy to be the first man in the counter. You never bothered whether the teacher stopped teaching or not. You headed out of the classroom once you hear the bell. There would be a mad rush for the samosas and our Physical Education Teacher usually managed the canteen. I dont know the reason for PET being the Canteen Supervisor. There was no line or discipline and it was all commotion. You need to use all your shouting, pushing and haggling skills to get near the counter to buy the treasured samosa's. But I tell you those samosa's tasted heavenly!!
But this luxury is not on all the days.. only when I get a rupee from my father or I manage to squeeze a rupee when sent to buy vegetables or other miscellaneous things. I used imaginative accounting to ensure that I take my cut whenever I was sent to buy something. No wonder I ended up what I am today!!
During rainy days, the school ground gets water-logged and we used to play flying saucers with stones. You forget about the bell and continue playing and ended up being punished by the Assistant Head Master with a cane. He was a highly respected teacher by the students but at the same time a terror for them. May be thats the reason why he was so respected. But what I admire the most in that generation of teachers is the committment they showed and this AHM used to walk around the school everyday, morning and evening, carrying a cane in his hand, looking for the boys who have strayed beyond the allotted interval time.
The afternoon lunch breaks have a longer time to go around for snacks and eatables.
One of the many things I have really enjoyed in the "Pepsicola" ice. I never figured out why it was called by that name, but it was nothing but a combination of ice, sugar and some colouring liquid packed in a long polythene strip. We also have "nellikai's" (gooseberries) small and big, corn etc., We had a nice bakery named Nigel Bakery just opposite to the school. As I grew old and during my tenth standard, when we stayed in the school for longer hours, I used to go to this bakery to eat the butter bun and thenkai bun (coconut).
Talking of ice, we never ate ice-creams but just ice scrappings. I remember the ice-vendor opposite the SAV School and he used to serve us scrapped ice mixed with some mixture which tasted very sweet and nice. Even after I finished school, I had been there to his road-side pushcart , once in a while. But over the last few visits to the SAV School I have not seen him. May be, he has become very old.....