The School Bell.

I suppose that this should really be called a gong but, this is actually a bell similar to the one used in this post.

For the past thirty years, if I over sleep, at 5.00 am, I am woken up by this bell ringing ten times. I can’t think of even one day when it did not.

My home lies directly across from a boarding school. The school existed much before our neighbourhood was colonised and residential homes came along and has a tradition going back to more than five decades. When we first moved in, we could see the buildings and the play ground as there was no wall around it as it does now. As more buildings came up around the area, the school put up a wall and on my advice to prevent drug pushers selling drugs over the wall to students, raised further by corrugated sheets. This has prevented us seeing the children play there but, at least, we are sure that corrupting influences do not operate from our side of the wall.

The bell is rung to wake up the boarders but is rung even when the school is shut down for vacations. Many years ago, I had strolled across to the Principal to ask why the bell rang even during vacations and he said that though most of the students would have gone home for the vacations a few would remain whose parents were overseas or to attend extra classes to catch up with the curricula that they would have not been able to during the regular classes. Made sense to me.

Apparently, some neighbours complained about the bell in the mornings and even tried to get a legal stay order but on finding out that the practice has been going on for much longer than the complainants moving in into the locality, the matter was dropped as other residents in the area actually welcomed the bell as it helped them either wake up themselves or their school going children.

This morning when I heard it, I was reminded of how even during the current lockdown the watchman of the hostel meticulously rings the bell every morning at exactly 5.00 am. I am in awe that he never over sleeps!

This post will be incomplete without one of my favourite poems.

For Whom The Bell Tolls.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

~ John Donne.

Considering the background that I have given in this post, I would however alter the poem to fit the context.

For Whom The Bell Rings.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s awakening enhances me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell rings,
It rings for thee.

13 thoughts on “The School Bell.”

  1. There are two poets in my reckoning whose use of words and phrases is truly intoxicating…John Donne and Dylan Thomas. Both of these poets were regulatory prescribed poets in my graduation and Master’s classes.
    I too have always loved this poem. My wake up call is Raju switching on the TV or the garbage collection van that swings by! You can read any meaning into this😀

  2. yes. oh my. a beautiful poem so rather overshadowed by the renowned film starring Ingrid Berman and Gary Cooper of the story written by Hemingway… For Whom the Bell Tolls.
    I always loved the line ” Each man’s death diminishes me,”
    but YOURS I like even better!
    each man’s awakening enhances me.
    beautiful Rummy. xo
    oh! and duh.
    if you come late to comment here… as I had the last times I couldn’t see it… you’re prompted by a little line that says ‘newer comments’.
    all you have to do is READ James. simply read. LOLOL!!!

    1. Thank you Tammy.

      I have seen the movie and read Hemingway’s novel both of which lose the thrust of the poem of the title.

      I am glad that you solved the disappearing comments puzzle!

  3. I was educated in a government school and my school also had the same kind of bell that you show in the picture. I didn’t have a watch in my hand at the time, so we were always eagerly waited for the recess bell to ring for lunch and play period. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for refreshing my old memories.

    “शाळा सुटण्याची वेळ ची बेल वाजली आम्ही वर्गामध्ये बाहेर पळत यायचो आणि बोलायचं मराठी मध्ये आम्ही तेव्हा एक वाक्य म्हणायचो शाळा सुटली पाटी फुटली.”

  4. Living in a rural area, we have no bells or wakeup calls near us. On a calm Sunday, we may hear the “bell” at a church 1/2 mile away, but that’s a call to worship later in the day and it’s not a real bell, just a recording. If our windows are open, sometimes the increased highway traffic – a car or two every now and again – of people going to work or school wakes us up.
    Mike recently posted..Weigh-In Wednesday

  5. There are two schools close to our house but they don’t disturb us – except for the litter dropped by departing pupils! The nearby church rings its bell every Sunday morning, but we’re used to that and it doesn’t bother us. Our only problem is trying to drive out of our front yard when the road is jammed with parents’ cars either dropping or collecting their little darlings.

    How sad that the school needs such elaborate security measures to prevent unwanted drug-dealing.

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