(A walk down memory lane by Maya Rose Therattil MD, Batch of 1992. Maya did her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York. She was Chief Resident at her program)
Most of us came to St. John’s in July 1992 after a year of being the senior most at our schools and junior colleges. This was the year that the word “ragging” had been officially changed to the more acceptable term “orientation”, and all orientation was to be carried out in the presence of a staff member. Yes, there was a designated staff member in each of the hostels to watch over the process!
We had become quite acquainted to the name “baby juniors” by the end of our first week in college, having had to repeat to every senior that we saw, “Hail! Mighty Senior this is so and so your lowly baby junior at your service”. August 15 came and went and orientation was officially over with the Independence Day march past in long skirts, long sleeve men’s shirts, hair slicked down with oil into braids, malli poo and the large bhindhis. But the name ‘baby juniors’ stuck. Anything we did, all the sports matches we played, we were announced as the ‘babies’. I guess it played on our minds and we started to think of ourselves as the ‘babies’.
Come Nov 14, and Children’s day was being celebrated. The girls in our class decided that we should have our own children’s day. After all we were the baby juniors! At 8am the Mess was surprise to see 10 little girls clad in small frocks and skirts and blouses (including the fat ones like me) hair in pony tails and ribbons, clutching teddy bears and dolls skipping into the mess (of course through the girls side of the mess!) On the way from Nirmala block we had sung skipping songs and nursery rhymes, the guards on the way must have thought that the psych ward had just broken out!
Our class guys who had no idea of what was happening decided to play along and brought bottles of milk from inside the mess and placed it on our table. We proceeded to our Physiology class and occupied the front row way before Dr. Mario Vaz came in. He hadn’t got over the surprise of seeing the little girls and the few sympathetic boys who had changed into shorts and had lollipops in there hands sitting in lass when there was a knock on the door. When he had half opened the door, the smallest girl in our class sneaked into the class ducking under his arm, which was still holding the door open. To this day I can see the shocked expression on his face with his mouth open in surprise!
The day passed by with a lot of snide remarks from different people but we enjoyed ourselves though a little self conscious at times. The ‘baby’ juniors won their football match against the 7th termers (the mighty mighty seniors) later that evening and the children’s cheering squad was overjoyed!
We had a pleasant surprise when we came for dinner. The mighty seniors from the 7th term had beautifully decorated a cigar box for us and filled it with candy and chocolates wrapped in glass paper all complete with twisted ends to look like giant toffee and sang happy children’s day while they presented it. That was the beginning of a nice and friendly relationship. Many from that batch (1989) are here in the US and still keep in touch. As for us it was the day we really became the ‘baby’ juniors!!