At the beginning of every year, along with the new timetables, text books, and freedoms that were allotted to us, one bit of information we sought for the year was regarding two days of the week: Library Day and Video Day.
These two days were the special days of the week (excepting Sunday, of course). I dont particularly remember why the library days were sought after that much. It was just for one period in the week, and we would go to the library and read the same books (the illustrated classics, the Guiness Book of World Records, books on cricket, or the posters of water animals, minerals, that hung on the walls). We couldn't talk much, and before we settled comfortably and were half way through a story, the bell would ring, signalling the end of the class.
But the Video Day was something else altogether. The video shows were our windows into a magical world. They gave us things to think about during 'meditation times' and stories to re-enact in the classroom before the evening bhajans. They gave us fantasies and created our first perception of the world outside us.
Through the video shows, there were flights of navigators around the world, talking pigs and loyal dogs. Of babies lost in big cities, and Buddha in his teens. Of Mowgli wooing a British chick in the jungle and Michael Jordan teaming up with bunnies in space.
Of chocolate factories that had rivers made of orange juice and chocolate trees that grew by them. Of Mary Poppins who could hop into a painting with her magic umbrella. Or setting off to Africa on an adventure in a jungle. All the images would remain in our mind for a long time.
The excitement for the day would begin from the morning itself. The morning assembly and the class would seem to fly past. There would be a buzz in the air and rumours flying around as to what film might be shown. Seniors or juniors who have seen a film in the week would tell us of the film, and we would listen with awe, and wait with bated breath for the time to arrive.
The bhajans in the evening zoomed past, there was a general sense of happiness in the air. The class that had video show on that night was called 'first for dinner', and so we had to linger on with the books after bhajans for only about half an hour.
We hurried when the call came. There was no talking or chattering during the dinner. Everybody would be rushing to finish the dinner and go upstairs for the film. Within ten minutes, the entire class would be in the dormitory, talking, laughing, speculating, discussing, and waiting.
It was generally a teacher who called us into the video hall. One of the tech savvy mams, like Sadhna mam or Neena mam. The video hall was in the new portion of the school that was constructed. This was a welcome addition, as earlier video shows took place in the E dormitory, and it was hard to get transported to another world when you were brought back down to earth by the smell of medicines, soap, and toilet.
The new corridor however was new and clean and magical – as it contained both the video room as well as the library. The corridor had white walls with upside down cresent shaped holes in them through which sunlight came in streams in the day time.
There would be a mad scramble for places in front of the TV. For some strange reason, guys would fight to sit right in front of the TV. There would be a cane chair at the back for aunty to sit on. People occupied places for their best friends, some of the friends sat in groups close by.
After everyone was seated, mam would walk in with a cassette or two in hand. All the children would crane their necks to see what was written on the white label sticker on the tape, and there would be hushed whispers....
There were some KLPD weeks when the film would be Ramayan and Mahabharat, leading to sighs among the audience. But if we were in with some good luck, there was a new film waiting for us.
The cassette would be pushed into the player. The green light on the panel of the player would glow, and the count would begin at 00:01, in bright green letters. The lights would be switched off, and the journey would begin...