We( me and ever helpful Divya of os.me) studied in a Gujrati school which was hindi medium till class 5 with English as an additional subject, aswell a compulsion for all kids to have food in school canteen in nursery, kg and first standard of sittings on the red and blue long durries in aalti paalti( squatting) doing a gratitude prayer before each meal which was a new state cousine each day ,served by our teachers whom we called Aunty! As class 2 came in a non exam holistic development culturally rich school, the excitement of independently visiting a canteen and spending pocket money on food of our choice grew the little butterfly fluttering heart of all 7 year olds! My father had kept a big cardboard box in which he emptied all days change or coins and i was allowed to take two rupees as pocket money! In 1982 a coke was 1 re 50 paisa and a samosa 40 paisa and a pipe waala chooran 10 paisa ,that was my set menu most of the days! As soon as the lunch break bell rang most of us used to run in lightening Speed to the canteen over packed with primary wing kids with pungent smell of spilling idlee ,sambhar or vada to aroma of delicious rajma chawal in shining aluminum coated paper plates and the stylish kids eating patties of potatoe with ketchup smeared on the side of their lips ,and there was at times a shift in my menu when i ate 1 rupee bread pakora and the other rupee was spent on ice piped lolly! The first lesson of accounting was learnt in canteen only when once giving 2 rs to the bhaiya was denied and he demanded money again aswelll once an oversmart friend borrowing a rupee to buy a vada as his lunch box food had fallen that day,never to return my rupee! Then there were our teachers who assigned us to get tea for them in staff room in that aluminum kettle and sheeshe ke glasses stacked in a multi glass holder! As the classes increased from junior to middle, canteen became a dating venue or atleast chup chhup ke smiling to each crush venue! There were couples in corners chitchatting and brushing against each other in so much crowd and there were gossipers eyeing them or moral policing them! There were bossy kids going in front of all waiting kids and getting their snack faster or taking or snatching their favorite foods from the shareef subdued ones! Back then there was no healthy and nutritional tags in canteen and we got chips ,bonda ,fries and all oily delicacies in school canteen! Do share your nostalgia with your school canteen too!

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