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.


A Tribute to Astha

Hues of Asthachal

Photograph by Megha Upadhyaya, ISC 2009

There are a lot of sharp little stones on Astha hill, so you’ve got to remove your sandals strategically as you climb up – because taking them off at the very top, would be disrespectful. Disrespectful to whom though, no one has any idea. One could say that Astha is a kind of wild temple – but again, to what? The wind, the rocks? All that unfocused contemplation we sink into? Or maybe it is the slow, dramatic plunge of the sun, alongside the pale glimmer of a few early stars. Whatever the incentives of getting to Astha may be, one cannot suppress the notion that silence here is somehow more concentrated, more ancient, than anywhere else. It is this inexplicable shelter of quiet, austerity like that of white clothes and still air that makes even the tinkle of a bell seem like a gunshot.

We present a tribute to Asthachal with poems from alumni who’ve felt the magic of the place, the time, that separate world.

Sunset at Asthachal

A drop of gold
in a stormy sea
of grey and purple and blue.

Splashes of blood
on the sacred, overarching sky,
behind the three kondas.

A sudden spin of the sky,
as I witness the earth rotating,
from my still seat on the ground.

What will the painter
paint today?

The infinite sky
her easel, the sun
her paint.

My senses are awakened,
I am a part of all that surrounds me,
We celebrate the beauty,
of the golden ball,

at peace,
and content.

Jyotsna George, ISC 2008



Melodies ooze out of the horizon as that much scarlet and bronze
From the warping sun, rolling over hills,
shooting through clouds
to make latecomers point suddenly upwards, and hurry
To reach this mound of rock
where we watch the red ink spill, erupting almost into sound,
down the valley we almost listen to.

For to listen would be to care, reflect, to keep up the momentum of thought.
The motion of time is where melody is sound, and silver is moonlight;
A moment does not have space for separation, for streams of things:
just the mobius strip of song and colour, neatly knitting the many minutes together.

There is no relevance here
of our time, troubles, or judgment; but only the immensity of the sea
where everything, we feel, dissolves.

Mustafa Khanbhai, ISC 2011


Asthachal at Night

Photograph by Mustafa Khanbhai, ISC 2011


Conversations with Nature

The silent time in the day called Astha (based on the hill called Asthachal where it is held)
A daily twenty minute long conversation with Nature.
Words unspoke but showed by her elements-
On a day when she was in a good mood, she’d shower me with the rains,
On an energetic one, let the wind spoil my hair.
On rare occasions, a forest fire would be allowed by her,
Permitting her destruction to help the needy villager
In promise of a new life bestowed to her name.
The last one she showed was her rawest form,
Earth, with the wet soil, the uncut rocks, and the surrounding hills.

From the diary of Rohini Kejriwal, ISC 2009

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! 😀

Singing Assembly

Some eat their morning bread briskly and make their way to the Senior Audi before time, trickling into comfortable spots on the mat-covered floor. The juniors come in timely fashion, having had a class earlier in the morning. The assembly books on the benches stacked in zig-zag towers gradually disappear into their laps. Hindi or Telugu, they take or trade.

Some teachers take their places on the benches, some come down to sing with the students. The music students claim their prestigious places in the first concentric circle. The hall echoes with many, many “Shh!”s.  Gradual silence. Heads turn at the disturbing latecomers, seniors mostly, hastily taking off their footwear and finding a book to share. Silence.

The Sruthi box is turned on. “Page 48, Sundara Sheetala”. A collective ruffle of pages turning, and sir starts with the first perfect note in the hope that today everybody will sit straight. And sing loudly. Especially the boys. 300-odd baritones take off briefly after him, infusing the air with songs of Kabir and Surdas …

…melody and music have their place, but these are the sounds of community.

Here are a few recorded tracks from the Assembly book for you to bless your mornings with. Don’t forget the minute of silence afterwards!

Download All (rar archive, 67 MB) | Feel free to tell us if you have any trouble downloading the songs.

Alternatively, as before, for those who might find it useful, here’s our public Dropbox folder with the individual songs, instead of one single rar archive: Singing Assembly.

These songs were recorded live at the Rishi Valley morning assemblies and in music classes over the course of the year 2010-2011. We’re grateful to Seshadri Sir (teaching music at RV) and the school office for permission to share the songs here on The RV Storybook.