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LSR: A trip down memory lane

Aung San Suu Kyi?s alma mater celebrates golden jubilee with the Prime Minister on August 18.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2006 03:00 IST

Lady Shri Ram maybe one of the finest institutions in the city today, but for those who have been associated with the college for a better part of the last 50 years, it has been a long and eventful journey. LSR is celebrating its golden jubilee on August 18. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit the college on the occasion.

Proud Elsas will present the story of the college's progression to the PM with an exhibition of old photographs and a medley of songs students of the college have loved over the years.

For many an alumna, it's a trip down memory lane, where many may find their 16-year-old selves, frozen in time through pictures clicked on the college day or a farewell.

So there's a bunch of giggly teenagers in saris, trying their best to look serious, or another group with Aung San Suu Kyi, who in later years would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, posing for a photo in a silk sarong. Contemporaries remember the exceptional calm of Kyi that made her a formidable debater.

"She was in the 1965 batch and was the debating society president. Aung was extremely self-possessed and confident. She never got excited while debating and never engaged in polemics. Here we were a bunch of 16-year-olds screaming in the corridors, but Aung would just float through it all," says Neera Chandoke, an alumna who now teaches at DU.

Chandoke remembers how a trip to Connaught Place was a big event in those days. And the hot spots were La Boheme (where Nirula's is located now), Laguna and Alps (Scindia House). The latter two had a live band. "In those days, the Defence Colony flyover did not exist and we would invariably get stuck at the railway crossing on the way back. This meant that we were gated for the whole week," remembers Chandoke. And you were gated for missing the morning assembly or for wearing trousers to the canteen — only saris and salwar kameezes were allowed. Slipping out of the hostel, too, meant not being allowed of the college for a week. "But we bunked all the time," remembers an old student.

Despite the discipline and strictness in the college, there were light-hearted moments when students behaved like the teenagers they were.

"We were caught even if we littered the college. But we were not exactly a submissive lot. We had an old American teacher who taught English poetry. Many of the girls could not get her accent and to make matters worse she had no teeth. So, students would start sneaking out from the back of the class, till only a few were left," remembers Nirmala Khanna, who was among the first batch of students to graduate in 1959.

Over the years, bunking has become more difficult at LSR and as old-timers accept, the new students are more committed and focused.

"They are much more intelligent and ambitious these days. The girls at LSR now exude style without thinking too much about it. We were a much more self-conscious generation," says Chandoke.

Self-conscious or not, LSR students have certainly carved a niche for themselves — there are certainly many more confident students waiting to take on the world.