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Monday, February 06, 2012

Chp 392. The Captain’s Diary

In the year 1997, I was elected by the students and teachers community of our school to be one of the three House Vice-Captains. I was in 11th standard then. The voting results came as an utter shock to me because I didn’t even stand for elections.

Right from 7th standard till 10th, we’ve always had three house prefects from our batch – Kamalesh, Ashwini and Syed. They were the three most popular boys in our batch, had good leadership quality, excelled in sports and games, and everybody looked up to them.

However in 11th standard, Syed didn’t continue at our school, so that meant one slot was suddenly open. It was obvious that Ashwini and Kamalesh were going to get elected again, but who was going to occupy the void Syed left? Many other classmates announced their interest in becoming a house prefect.

Becoming a house prefect in 11th standard is serious business as it also means becoming the School House Vice-Captain, and if there are no damaging “black marks” on that person’s career during that entire year, then he will automatically become the School House Captain once he comes to 12th, putting him in charge of the welfare & being of 1/3 the School’s population, literally becoming an Elder brother or a father figure to many. Even till now, I still remember who my School House Captains were from 1994-99.

So on that voting day, I wrote Kamalesh and Ashwini’s names as my nominees, and for the third slot, I voted for my friend Ujjal, who was in the football team and the leading athlete from our batch.

We voted, the teachers voted, and the brothers voted. Oh by the way, our school, Montfort Anglo-Indian Hr. Sec. School is a strict Catholic Residential boarding school run by the French Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel. So many of us assumed the guy who would fill Syed’s shoes would be a devout and studious Catholic classmate.

Imagine my surprise when our Principal announced the voting results and the new House Vice-Captains were Kamalesh, Ashwini and… *drumroll* Me!

Of course my immediate reaction was to resign right then. I was the basketball captain but I’ve never had any kind of responsibilities outside the basketball court. But Dharmendra who was our House Captain then, convinced me not to resign and give it a shot… I always had the option of resigning later… Plus the fact that I was voted meant that a lot of my classmates had faith in me and I would be letting them down. Also, the last time our school had a Mizo House Captain was in the year 1991-92 just before I joined the School (I think they said his name is Samuel or David). So this was a good opportunity for me to put our Mizo community in good limelight again.

I was even more shocked when Dharmendra told me I had more votes than Ashwini or Kamalesh! But of course later we found out that most of the Biology department boys voted for me since Ashwini and Kamalesh were both in the other department. I guess my Bio batchmates needed somebody with leverage and clout. :)

I eventually spent 11th standard learning the ropes about Captaincy from my House Captain Dharmendra, and also from my co-vice captains and good friends Kamalesh and Ashwini. Even though it meant these two would become my arch-enemies in terms of any House competitions (our three Houses compete with each other THROUGHOUT the year, from sports (athletics and aquatics) to games (football, basketball, volleyball etc) to even academics… at the end of the day our friendship took precedence over any of this.

In 1998, I was successfully inducted as the Patrick House Captain, ready to manage and look after around 1000+ students from 3rd standard to 12th standard.

Although being a Captain had many perks, like exemption of punishment and being included in the School’s Hall of Fame for all future Montfortians to see, there were a few things we had to sacrifice too. Like, during an Inter-House football match, we could no longer fight or get physical with opponents (after all, boys will be boys). In fact, we had to stop our teammates from fighting. Being a House Captain meant that we had to play that quasi-authoritarian role, even though our gut feelings told us to rebel like the rest of the boys. The rest of the School, especially the junior school boys, looked up to us as role models, so we had to live that role, whether we liked it or not.

And frankly speaking, I think I had it rougher than Kamalesh or Ashwini. First of all, I was the only Christian House Vice-Captain in 11th standard. For us Protestant students, Sunday was the only day when mass was compulsory. But for Catholic students, Sunday and Saturday morning masses were compulsory. Apart from those two days, Monday-Friday was compulsory mass for different batches (like Monday morning mass was compulsory for class 7 Catholic students, Tuesday morning mass was compulsory for class 8 Catholic students and so on).

Even though I’m not a Catholic, the brothers who ran our Institution felt a Christian student leader should be present on those daily morning masses so as to set a good example to the other Catholic students. So there I was attending the morning mass every freaking day. Trust me, I’m not complaining because it was a Catholic thing. Even if it was a Presbyterian daily service, I would still complain if I was made to attend daily.

Fortunately for me, when we were in 12th standard, Anthony Paul was selected by the School board to be the School Captain, so he took over that role of setting a good Catholic example :)

Man… the number of times I lead the students in a Hail Mary recital, the number of times I’ve participated in the Way of the Cross, the number of times I went for confessions (and shocked the hell out of our father), the number of times I stood in line for Holy Communion, the number of times I was the fourth guy to say the intercessory prayers, “Lord hear our prayer, your response…” followed by me doing the collections, I think I am more Catholic than many of you Catholics out there :) *joking*

The second challenge I faced as a House Captain was that, being a Mizo, I was called by the Principal to his Office a hell lot of times, just to hear another round of reprimand from him because “MY” Mizos were speaking in Mizo again!

As mentioned before, our school is a residential boarding school situated on the high altitude cold Shevaroy Hills, Tamilnadu. It’s like one of those strict Army boarding schools. English was the only language permitted, so any students caught speaking in Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi etc. were punished or fined. Now, there were around 7-8 Mizos in every 11th and 12th standard batch. Most of them came directly from St. Paul’s in Mizoram after completing their 10th in that school, which is run by the same group of Brothers running our School.

For most Mizos, especially those who joined our school at 11th standard from Mizoram, they found it quite awkward to speak with each other in English. And if two Mizo students happened to speak in Mizo, then apparently it was MY fault! “Control your Mizos!!!” our Princi would tell me over and over again. Damn… that was the part of my job I hated the most.

But all in all, I had a great time being a House Captain, and cried a lot when we graduated. Being a “role model” for the rest of the students didn’t necessarily mean we had to put on that mask with our own batchmates. The number of times Kamalesh, Ashwini and I led our rebel group of classmates into smoking in the 12th standard dormitory once the warden had slept, the way we secretly arranged for booze during our Social nights, how we manipulated some of the staff members into delivering love letters for us to the neighboring Girl’s Convent school, oh man, those stories I’ll forever treasure and cherish.

The reason why I’m suddenly nostalgic is that, last Saturday I was supposed to meet up with a few Montfort batchmates of mine. Unfortunately, we couldn’t meet up in the last minute, but eventually plan to do so again next week. Thinking about them brought back all these fond memories of yesteryears.

Hope you didn’t get bored.

Cheers :)


TS Khupchong said...

Comment ka hawng e. Chhiar ang! :-P

lr hlonchhing said...

It's a long and interesting diary. :D
I used to be class captain when I was in Cl-XI and XII but then I'm the only one who is very playful and talkative..damn.
What I like to point out is that, I have no leadership at all...rather it makes me crazy :P

Mizohican said...

@ TS: You're very much welcome :P

@ lr hlonchhing: Being the captain helped me a lot later in life when it comes to taking up leadership role in a group project or managing a team etc :)

Khabezuma said...

Keipawh morning mass hi higher ka kal chhung zawng zing dar nga ah kan attend ziah thin. Coimbatore a ka awm hnu ah erawh kha chuan zing dar nga ah te ka mu leh lawi si. Hall of fame ah i hming chuang vang chu a ropui hle mai...:D

H.Vangchhia said...

"learning the ropes" thought you were going to talk about jumping rope lol...mercy me :)

If you're not a Catholic and is allowed to receive The Holy Communion and go to confession,then those priests did things they're not authorized to do so. Especially The Holy Communion is one of the holiest thing in the Church. One's gotta get baptized in the Holy Catholic Church, learn Catechism, and only then receive the first Communion. If my English is correct, that'd be "sacrilege".

It's not your fault, but them fakes.

Zaia said...

Ngaihnawm leh pek. Mizo leh Mizo english-a han inbiak hi chu kan harsat vek a nih hi :D

Er. Beethugs said...

If i were there that time, i would definitely call you Caption Cool, you still are captain cool though ;)

Mizohican said...

@ Khabezuma: hehehe a nuam ve duh reuh mai mai, a hnu a han thlir ten emaw sikul han tlawh hian :) permanent footprint kha a awm reng tawh dawn a :)

@ H.Vangchhia: Nia, mak ka ti thin. Mahse Mizo zingah Catholic kha an awm ve nual a, Father ten ka ni ve emaw an ti pawh a ni maithei a sin. Brothers ho erawh kha chuan Catholic ka nilo tih chu an hre chiang. Chuan Catechism chu Pawl 7 atangin Pawl 9 thleng ka zir ve chiang a lawm. :) Pawl 9 ah phei phei chuan Annual class topper ka ni catechism ah, chuan Prize Night ah lawmman ka dawng zan bawk! :) kan catechism class ah khan Catholic nilo Kristian pathum chauh kan awma (Ka classmate Kristian dangte kha chuan Moral Science subject an la vek a, kan Hindu leh Mosolman classmate te rualin). Catholic classmate ho zinga Catholic lo ber kherin catechism topper award dawng kha chu ropui min ti ve lo maw? :)

@ Zaia: hehehe... tawng ngai loh chuan harsa tak a ni!!! :)

@ Er. Beethugs: lolz... thank you, I guess :)

KymBawi Khuptong said...

Well I don't know about others but I am not even close to getting bored. Must be even more interesting if you wrote those love letters part in more detail...:P

You seems to have done a good job out there back then.

Mizohican said...

lolz :) well, thanx KymBawi :) yeah, i really miss those days, and can't believe more than 10 years have already passed since graduation :(

The love letters part? lolz... well, that's a blog post for another day :)

H.Vangchhia said...

Holy Communion dawng thei tur chuan, Catechism zir zawh khan Catholic kohhranah confirmation i neih angai leh hmasa alawm.

hermit said...

A nostalgic read, having studied in a convent school from 2nd to 12th standard I can imagined what life must be like there.

caribou said...

Captain chuan Diary ziak tur a nei sei kher mai.

Mizohican said...

@ H Vangchhia: hehehe... ni ngawt mai... A mak latux :)

@ hermit: Thanx. Life in a convent school is so different from the regular schools. We end up having so many stories to share later in life :)

@ caribou: Hei lo pawh ziah tur a la nei teuh mai :D

Aduhi Chawngthu said...

Arreeee I typed a very long comment a coupla nights ago and verified the word and chose my identity and submitted with my Google account and now it's nowhere to be seen.

Anyway, nostalgic post, best years of our lives, carefree days etc etc.

KymBawi Khuptong said...

Waiting with my tongue hanging out...:D and yes don't miss out the smoking part either...:P

Best Web Hosting said...

Your blog is very sound and comprehensive !I love coming back here and reading your blog. Keep posting for more!

daniel said...

Mizo leh Mizo Mizo tawng lova inbiak hi kan la harsat ang reng khawp mai. Office ah pawh hian hnam dang mikhual pawh awm reng mahse kan la inbe lui deuh zel tho mai. We the Ethnocentric Mizo.

tochh said...

i couldnt sleep so read your blog-:) and believe me, i must not be bored cos im still wide awake-i have a girl's version on most of what i read here, actually-:)

Trickmaker said...

Morning friends, Nice.

Hlua said...

Saptawng i va han ziak thiam thei tak em!

Krista Roluahpuia said...


This will help you a lot specially in decision making among friends or colleague... Sometimes in my student life I hate those responsibilities without a single power!

Mizohican said...

@ Aduhi: Thanx for doing that anyway, *hugs* :) Looking forward to your long comment again soon :)

@ Kymbawih: Definitely :)

@ daniel: Nia... ngai a neih tawh chuan a harsa khawp mai tawng danga tawng hi.

@ tochh: Thanx, would love to hear your version one of these days too :) Also, that would mean updating your blog too :)

@ Hlua: Chutia mi... thanx dude :)

@ Krista: So far, yes, it had helped me quite a lot in life so far :) One of the few decisions I have taken in life that I don't regret :)