Mohnish Sings!

Here’s a wonderful short film on life at Rishi Valley, named Mohnish Sings, made by distinguished filmmaker David MacDougall (of the Australian National University) with Mohnish Rodge ICSE ’11. Filmed in 2007 and featuring an adorable cast of Mohnish and the rest of ICSE ’11 (then in Class 7), it uses the theme of Mohnish singing to gently explore ideas of freedom, creativity, and ‘the RV life’. Those who know him remember Mohnish only too well for for his passion and talent for singing, which made Mohnish a fixture at every annual ‘Musical Night’ at RV. You’ll be sure to find yourself smiling fondly as the young Mohnish declares: “In Rishi Valley, we have no time to even think about anything else; we have so many things to do!” Enjoy!

In Rishi Valley, we have no time to even think about anything else; we have so many things to do!


We’d like to thank Mohnish for sharing this film with us all, and David MacDougall for making it with such care. Thank you!


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! We have a warm little Christmas post for you to add a dash of RV to your holiday celebrations. Ho ho ho!

In the aid of those of us who have forgotten, here’s what happens in RV over Christmas.

  • The 11thies, who are in charge of organising the prime event of Christmas at RV, carolling, start practising a week in advance. (Or rather, they start making plans to do so.  😉 ) One of them is elected (read: forced at gunpoint) to be Santa. The qualification? Be big, hearty and lovable. If the 11thies have engaged a good PR agent, false rumours about Santa’s identity should now be spreading like wildfire. If they haven’t, well,  false rumours about Santa’s identity should still be spreading like wildfire. Note to to-be 11thies: for a successful campaign, you absolutely must try to convince everyone that this year, finally, Rajan is going to be Santa. (It’s extremely helpful if a class has more than one real candidate up for the job. This, unfortunately, doesn’t happen any too often.)
  • Preparations for the other big event of Christmas, the touring of all the decked-up junior hostels (Why no 9th and above? Ask a 9thie: “Dude! We’re in 9th!”) are beginning in earnest. For much of the rest of the school, the real fun lies in watching the bustling juniors. Here’s what’s happening (don’t deny it!) at every boy-girl conversation.

– “So, I’m making you a card for Christmas.”
– “You are?” Makes a brave call on the spot. “Me too!”
– Uh-oh. Someone might have heard. Must. Make. Amends. “Except that it’s actually going to be a ‘Terrible Christmas’ card!” Desperate attempt at sneer.
– Cannot afford to be one-upped like this. “And yours is going to be a… be a… packet of shampoo! For your hair!” Pats self on back. She knows that was a good one.
– Oh dear, I hope I wasn’t too harsh. “I’m going to be visiting your house this Christmas.”
– Oh dear, I hope I wasn’t too harsh. “So am I!”
– But boys will be boys. “And I bet it’ll suck!” Runs off in triumph.

They know their lines well, the cute little buggers.

  • Christmas finally arrives. Final finishing touches (and, in some cases, the entire thing itself) are added to all the attractions. Boys Hostel has proudly crowned its windblown ‘Christmas tree’, the only one in RV that is within reach of human hands, with its glowing star. Miniature models of Christ in the stable adorn the landscape here and there. Streamers are up. Chalk art lands on the floors and walls. Woe betide the teacher of the last class of the day, who finds herself facing open rebellion from the restless students. The bell rings. Wear shoes. Bell rings. Games. Bell rings. Dinner. Gobbled in a flash. Now the real thing begins. Every hostel worth its salt has protested with shrill vehemence the the deadline for being back home after the Christmas touring. The girls generally get the best of it, and Boys Hostel the worst.
  • Everything is bustling now. The 11thies have begun their loud journey with Silver, Golden, Neem, Raavi and Palm. In time they will move on to Red, Green, and the rest of the palette, then to Boys Hostel, then to the senior girls’ hostels and thence to the abodes of the bearded wise, the senior boys’ hostels. The juniors are strutting around, pointedly reminding each other not to peep, and giggling. More than one super-voluble daredevil is chattering away with pride about his heroic adventures and daring escapades: “God knows what would’ve happened if Dhurga akka caught me!” At the conclusion of each carolling session, a winner-takes-all contest ensues as chocolates, dazzling in their wrappers of illegal, shiny plastic, are thrown around with gay abandon, the ultimate opportunity for boys to assert their ‘manliness’. “Aidan got eight eclairs, you know. Eight! I’m going to see if I can give him some Bangalore grub for one…”
  • Carolling is something all RVites will always remember. Everybody is hustled together in the chilly night, shouting hoarsely with but the faintest idea of rhyme and lyrics, the latter glimpsed from a battle-worn sheet of paper, one for each pocket of people. A curious feeling of longing, heartache and misty eyes attends the conclusion of carolling at all the senior hostels, especially for the 12thies and 10thies. Oh, RV. Heaven knows how much we miss it.

We leave you with a jolly video taken by Lindsey Adkisson, who spent a good bit of time at RV as a fellow of the American India Foundation. The sight of all the good old buildings and people and everything, even if you didn’t know the wonderful batch of ISC 2012, really does something to stir up some memories. Oh, and Satya Vaghela’s Santa, if you must know. A Merry, Merry Christmas to one and all! 🙂


I had an unreasonable amount of fun writing these. Cheers! — Aravind Prasant, ICSE ’11.


There once was a chap from Meru,
Who bungled deceiving Goblu:
His veg was fetched;
He ate till he he retched:
And now he’s still in the loo.

Eat your Veg!

There once was a bit of hubbub
’Bout a mouse that stole some Bang’lore grub;
It cleared up soon,
When t’was found in a swoon,
Choking inside of a washtub.

There once lunched a quiet girl from Red,
Who foolishly brought along chilli spread:
And the dining hall,
As one in thrall,
Stopped just short of eating her head.

The Girl from Red

I once met a rather silly fresher,
Whose innocence was beyond measure;
I sent him away—
He’s there to this day—
Scouring Astha for hidd’n treasure.

There once was a fellow with some lovely hair,
Who trudged to the barber in due despair;
When out he came—
Oh, what a shame!
He looked just like a balding bear.

Of Vemana and his cursed gang,
We saw too much in old 3rd Lang.:
“It’s much too tough!
We’ve had enough!
We come for movies—let him hang!”

You think you’ve had a fall from grace:
You hang your head, you hide your face;
But pray be glad:
It’s not as bad
As the plight of an RV booercase.


There once was a boy named Shinde,
To whom P.T. was a cause for much dismay.
So he ran up a hill,
And hid until
He realised that it was a Sunday.


Now why don’t you try your hand at it?

With art by Athyuttam Reddy, ICSE ’11.

Happy Friendship Day!

As the world celebrates Friendship Day, Hasumi Nemani (ISC 2010) recalls this mini ‘special-O’ of hers at RV. During the nine years she spent at school, Hasumi made many friends and countless bands – mastering existing designs and coming up with her own too. Here she shares her expertise with a step-by-step guide to making some classic ones – so get your skein and band your bonds! 😀


I’ve moved away from RV in time and place, and still seem to be trudging about in this concrete desert (Tokyo). However, one thing that kept me from going crazy was the support of the people I came across during my nine years at RV – the people whose friendship and closeness was celebrated each year during the first week of August – a mini Special’O known as Friendship Day. In my first year, Friendship Day seemed a foreign concept to me. When my house matron Divya Akka came around to collect orders for skein, I just thought it was a funny way to pronounce skin, but that didn’t make any sense!

Understanding struck me soon thereafter, and I hopped on to the bandwagon; making friendship bands with my stubby fingers. Starting off as a printing press making ‘twists’, I went on to learn the more advanced designs – the ‘V’, the ‘W’, the Rug-rag, and the list went on. Sitting on my bed during those dreamy rest-hours, with seniors supervising over my work, was something I cherished – like obtaining sacred knowledge by word-of-mouth, the traditional way. All the labor was worth it, because tying that well-made friendship band across a dear friend’s wrist, to me, was a mark of endearing love.

Here are step-by-step instructions to some of the basic bands…go ahead, give them a shot!

The V

The Rug Rag

This doesn’t sound like something that you’d want to give a friend, but these are my favourite because the designs are so unpredictable and always take you by surprise!
The Zig Zag
Note: The knots in these are a little different – the first goes in one direction and the second in the other. If the line is slanting towards the right, then the first knot is towards the right and the second to the left.
Right after the second step: start from the initially chosen side and knot in the same direction for as long as you like – 3 lines, 7 maybe – and then change direction.

If you were starting at the right end, now start at the left. If you were knotting right to left, knot left to right now.
Thanks Hasumi! 😀

Learning & Unlearning

Rohini Kejriwal (ISC 2009) is an accomplished journalistblogger, and generally amazing person. This piece is taken with permission from Down The Road, an “exciting and eclectic collection of short stories that brings out all those memories – unforgettable, warm, thrilling, and at times embarrassing – of life in school and college campuses,” edited by Rohini and Ahmed Faiyaz, and published by Grey Oak Publishers. 


“Be quiet or Akka’ll come and catch us,” said Alisha, peeping out of the Box Room door and checking if our Houseparent’s light came on. Her light being on meant that our noise levels had risen beyond the permissible point and that she had been woken up from her beauty sleep and would now come to the source of the noise to scold the ruckus makers. Tonight was not one of those nights when it was only the noise that we could get into trouble for. A Maggi party was in session.

Making Maggi in a boarding school is an illegal but sacred act. You must know exactly what you are doing—who is going to cook it, who is heating the water, who is cleaning after the act of consumption takes place, and who keeps the deodorant at hand, the precautionary measure to get rid of the smell in case the houseparent comes to do her rounds. There are big bowls in which evening snack is given. Someone clears out the contents of one such bowl, washes it, and hands it to the cook. The cook crushes the ‘n’ number of cakes of noodles (‘n’ being a variable for the number of people present), and pours the proportionate amount of hot water which is brought from the solar water tap. The bowl is covered with another plate and left to semi-cook.

After ten minutes or so, the water is drained out, burning the hands of the one draining it, the masala is sprinkled over the prepared noodles, and after the cook mixes it with her hands, everyone digs in! The consumption is almost always done with the hands since spoons have to be flicked from the Dining Hall (DH) otherwise. The person who washes it usually gets to lick the bowl clean of its masala before washing. Quite a treat, I assure you! In the end, the deodorant is sprayed and the fan is left on and everyone returns to their rooms as though they were in no way associated with any illegal incidences that day. Sadly, too many people got caught keeping illegal foods and no one practises such nights anymore.

This Maggi Party was unlike others in the past. It was the last one as school students. A few hours back had been our Farewell Night. The Farewell Night, as always, was during the middle of the Board exams for some and almost towards the end for some of the Science students. It was on a Saturday so that no one was worried about an examination the next day. The girls were in beautiful sarees in varying hues of blues, greens, oranges…The boys were either wearing tucked in shirts or kurtas. In a few days, the 12thies would have to vacate the classroom we had gotten so fond of and head out into different parts of the world, pursuing our different dreams. Some knew which direction they were heading. Others could only hope that they would stumble upon their paths soon.

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