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Rajiv Sarin (44H '74) Remembering Mrs. Dhawal- a cherished legacy of Chandbagh A recent phone conversation with a senior of mine from Hyderabad House extended beyond the ken of normal boundary and the topic of pastoral care became an emotional subject for both of us. I was fortunate to enter Doon and experience the bajri walkways of Chandbagh in what was probably the final year of the House Dining Hall. Hence, the walk from Chestnut House past the infirmary, the bakery and the tuck shop to the Hyderabad House dining room and lasting admiration for Mrs. Dhawal remains etched in memory. The recesses of memory are a funny space in that some things just seem to stand out and seem crystal-like. Others are prone to a fuzzier sort of focus and don't seem to sort themselves out. With that in mind, allow me to take a walk and reflect on matters that extended beyond the classroom and beyond the playing fields of Chandbagh. In hindsight, most of this I have just taken for granted all these years. However, I believe the pastoral care and spartan lifestyle afforded to my years in Hyderabad House was the unsung effort and work of Mrs. Dhawal. It formed the essential grooming of this student as he transitioned from his arrival as a 12-year old (a pampered brat of sorts) to a 16+ year old (who could attend to his grooming) by the time he bid goodbye to his formal school education. The habit of grooming started with the basics: eating the proper way at the house dining table, being able to maintain one's bed in a tidy manner, polishing shoes and, yes, getting stockings darned by the 'darzi' as I somehow could never really get accustomed to 'potato eyes' and have this habit of mending my own socks till this day. What allowed me a particular interaction with Mrs. Dhawal in my 'D' and 'C' form years was the fact that I had entered school with fixed braces and on one, ifnot two, mid-term(s) in the initial year(s) I made the journey to Delhi for treatment. I do not remember my conversations with her, per se, however I do remember quite clearly that keeping tuck in school was never quite the same obsession for me and she seemed to pick-up on that dimension in her own particular way. I have a recall that Hyderabad House dinners in that first and second year of Chandbagh were a sought after event. Earlier this year, I was visiting Bombay and was introduced to Firoze Masani's son, Zubin, at a fellow Dosco batchmate's house over dinner. Somehow, our entire first half hour of conversation gravitated toward the Jaipur House matron during the early to mid-70s, which in this case happened to be Zubin's grandmother. 'Atithi Devo Bhav' represents, in my heart, the spirit of matrons of the ilk and standing of Mrs. Masani and Mrs. Dhawal. Should there be other Doon alums out there that have photographs of our school matrons of yesteryear, please share with the rest of the school fraternity. I have an anecdotal sense that once Central Dining Hall was introduced the role of the house matron lost its stature since the dining experience got consolidated. The role of providing food to the students got transferred in our time from Mrs. Dhawal to Mr. Menon and to Mr. Walia (if my memory serves me correctly). Not only did I get a place under the sun with Mrs. Dhawal but she also instilled in me lessons of how to look after myself mentally, physically and socially (frankly, socially is one area of an all boys' boarding school education where the jury may still be out) that have stood the test of time and have carried into my adult years of life. Thank you, Mrs. Dhawal, and others who have worked in the capacity of school matrons. I remain deeply indebted for having moulded my rite of passage during Chandbagh to try and be, in the words of A.E. Foot, a "constructive builder of a new and better world." Rose Bowl January 2014 W

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