The next day The Hindu, one of
‘Padavarambu’ is a fascinating little book. It is well produced and illustrated. The language is simple, almost poetic. I am proud that my village has people who can write like this. The authors used what they termed ‘memory boxes’ to collect data. Each old student available was asked to jot down his/her experiences relating to the school. From that collection evolved this poignant piece.
The book covers a short span of time, a period during which Olavipe saw great socio-economic changes, the transition from feudalism to an increasingly egalitarian society and the opening of the passage to knowledge and wisdom through the gates of the school. Forays into the past offer glimpses of the history of the land.
The most interesting parts of ’Padavarambu’ are the school’s reminiscences about her children. The epigram reads, “Some children know how to fly kites very well. Some do not know how to fly kites. There are others who themselves are kites.”
Here are some of the scenes: An old lady near the school regularly collects fallen mangoes and distributes them to the boys and girls. Another, stick in hand, chases off children who try to pluck mangoes from her tree. Then there are the innumerable little things – friendships and fights, a little girl crying because her skirt fell off.
One incident is about a boy who was asked to stand up on the bench in punishment. He bolted from the classroom, ran to the
Slowly, the situation changed. As the family planning campaign took effect, birth rate in the village dropped. Parents started sending their children to better schools outside Olavipe. This too was progress.
The autobiography concludes with these words: “Through the same paths that I reached the village,
This Mater is still young – only forty-six years old. She is dying though, facing closure for want of sufficient number of students. Only around fifty are left.
Some people like the publishers of the book (Group of Friends. Office: Shade of the Mango Tree, School Compound,