Al-Avalathi's Life (Al-Avalathi is the last Mallu to go to the Gelf)
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For years, none of us knew why we had the bench vice on that table; not that we knew it was called a vice.

Bench Vice(Not from my SUPW class)

John sir’s nails would dig deep into our skin if we ever tried to mess with the vice,even if to stay awake in his boring class. I am not kidding.  The sessions were super duper long and boring. A series test lamp that was tested for ages, all we figured was that when the circuit was complete,the bulb would light up.Don’t know how many hours were spent explaining that.

Iron boxes were opened.Repaired.Wiring diagrams that would resemble unsolvable mazes were drawn.House wiring it seems.We learnt that bulb holders of various types have names like angle bulb holder,baton bulb holder etc.A ceiling rose was called a ceiling rose,that was some learning.Phase was always (in the) right,what was left was neutral,he kept talking about some archaic Indian Electricity rules(I haven’t been able to dig this specific mention in the said rule).So,a tester glows on the right side of the plug,okay?. It was in these classes that we were taught the BBROYGBVGW of coding resistors even before we learnt that in Physics.Chokes and starters-why are they used in a florescent tube etc were taught to us there.We chuckled over the explanations of Fleming’s left and right hand rules ;-)

Then there was torch repair,but that was much much earlier.

The school’s public address system was the SUPW sir‘s/students’ responsibility.Setting up the PA system,adjusting the mic during the morning assembly etc. Fiddling with the Bass/Treble/Volume and the innumerable controls on those Ahuja PA systems could easily create screeches to deafen the whole school.I have done the mic-testing-adjusting job once,that is it.  :|

The girls were spared from the vice and such.They did some embroidery during the time, aah..I don’t know what they did.

SUPW was not just about these wires and lights.Before the holders and lights came in,we made candles, the ones colored red,green,yellow and likes.So much fun it was.We bought them ourselves.Not just that.Chalks were made in SUPW classes,for internal consumption of the school.And how can I forget those dusters made in SUPW classes? :-)

This is years after I learnt hem stitch and button stitches.Yes, I did learn them in school.Graduating from making flowers out of crepe paper and skirt for dolls using plastic straws,stitching was a giant leap.

Then,much hated SUPW was; now I realize it was not as bad as we thought it to be. :)

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1 xyleneNo Gravatar { 10.06.09 at 8:40 pm }

So this is where the usage “How many people does it take to change a light bulb” started from…. :)

2 SoliloNo Gravatar { 10.06.09 at 9:38 pm }

SUPW for us was ‘Silly Useless Period Wasted’.

3 SoliloNo Gravatar { 10.06.09 at 9:40 pm }

“This is years after I learnt hem stitch and button stitches.Yes, I did learn them in school.Graduating from making flowers out of crepe paper and skirt for dolls using plastic straws,stitching was a giant leap.”

You learned all that? Hmmm…. our school had some gender bias. Girls arranged flowers using Organza and made rakhi for Raksha bandhan using silk threads whereas guys learned “macho” things. But mostly we wasted those periods.

4 Shrinidhi HandeNo Gravatar { 10.06.09 at 11:01 pm }

BBROYGBVGW- how did you remember it? BBROY of Great Britan had Very Good Wife?

5 bincyNo Gravatar { 10.06.09 at 11:42 pm }

we used to call it “Some Useful Periods Wasted”.

6 SooryaNo Gravatar { 10.07.09 at 8:50 am }

I remember SUPW later on was called WE (Work Experience, Bah!). I don’t know why! :) The worst part was the annual project you had to submit to earn the grade :(
The best part was bunking WE classes telling a lie that the Librarian called us and then going to the Library and telling Librarian that it was a ‘free-period’ and offering to write the ‘Book Review of the Week’ on the black board kept thr. Yes, one day we were caught red-handed though :(

7 maxdavinciNo Gravatar { 10.07.09 at 8:50 am }

ah CBSE, makes those years seem useful afterall…

PS: why were you sewing and stiching doll skirts?

8 RajaramNo Gravatar { 10.07.09 at 9:05 am }

“Phase was always (in the) right,what was left was neutral”.
Think you have done enough googgling before writing this.

9 A Cynic in WonderlandNo Gravatar { 10.07.09 at 10:28 am }

AH finally the post!!! But bulbs and all is leagues more exciting than embroidery. Trust me on that one.

10 ruSh.MeNo Gravatar { 10.07.09 at 10:35 am }

Arey, mujhe toh apni jeevan ki disha mil gayi thi, SUPW se.. Apparently, I was the fav student of my SUPW teacher and rest of my friends would tease me.. But then, her teaching, brought out the artiste in me and I chose arts rather than sciences like the rest of my classmates.. :D

11 Preeti ShenoyNo Gravatar { 10.07.09 at 1:46 pm }

ha ha ha..Nikhil, this post took me right back to my KV days :) Like Bincy we used to call it ‘some useful period wasted’ :) We were taught to make pop corn too in SUPW class :) The boys would beg us for some :) And how can I forget the soap we made! When we washed our hands with it, the blue ink stain on our hands would turn green! LOL. We were very thrilled with our soap! :) We never made candles though :)

Yes yes–i remember the screeching mikes :) Some things never change, do they?! :)
I loved this post

12 Sajith MNo Gravatar { 10.07.09 at 4:32 pm }

And all I remember is the electricity related stuff, and some idea of the candles. The rest (chalk, dusters etc) draw a blank. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the classes ;-)

13 AbhijithNo Gravatar { 10.07.09 at 4:40 pm }

I don’t know how you could remember all these things, but when I was going through the blog each of the incidents mentioned made me laugh like anything, so hard that my roomie who was sleeping got up and started shouting at me to disturb his sleep.

It is true that we never realise the value of some learnings when taught, but only after many years! I just hope some other subjects which I learnt in my School days were also this useful, even though it was Some Useful Periods Wasted :)

14 DeeptiNo Gravatar { 10.07.09 at 6:55 pm }

Little lessons which when taught were a pain but come handy later .. I remember being incharge of PA system and mic somedays during assembly … nightmare would be small word :D
Loved this post :)

15 | Balu |No Gravatar { 10.07.09 at 7:52 pm }

It was called Work-ex in Bhavans and what work did we do? Gardening if course! =D We also made a few creative stuff which looked good for a week, but had a knack for attracting dust, no matter how clean one tried to keep it. These ‘creative stuff’ were generally made of straw, sequence and other, otherwise useless things, all of which were available in Shankaran store in SM Street, Calicut :-D I’m surprised I remember so much. :-D

16 AnnieNo Gravatar { 10.08.09 at 11:37 am }

We, KVn’s parents also had tough time with your SUPW like getting the raw material you write and bring to us in your dairy, finding outthe idea for new products etc. Now we look at those preserved antiques created by you people with nostalgia. Those were the skills useful for day to day life taught in appropriate time. We also had same in our curriculum. Now the private schools that make enineers and doctors never find a time to include SUPW in the syllabus because Engineers are supposed to learn the electric/physics skills in their graduation level and doctors’ cutting and stitching /chemistry/biology necessary for day today earning and living in their MBBS course. How it will be useful to their daily life I am not able to assess, whereas those who earn the skill from child hood will never forget it as they are able to use it in daily life from childhood. Example is my daughter who study social sciences but is able to repair electric gadgets like iron box, table lamp etc. and an emergency stitching for any member of the family in time to save nine.

17 Rakesh VanamaliNo Gravatar { 10.08.09 at 2:03 pm }

Mine used to be bee-keeping and carpentry! This post took me back many many years – to the good times!

18 tharaNo Gravatar { 10.09.09 at 8:30 pm }

Ah!! How can I forget SUPW , John Sir , the fights we used to have with him and the “100 lines” punishments! Used to be a totally USEFUL period spent sleeping, chatting and doing nothing :–)

19 maddyNo Gravatar { 10.16.09 at 5:35 am }

it’s strange, the instant you leave the old world and step into this new world all the conventions you leaned will change – about voltages and stuff like switches that are pushed up to ‘on’ them, red which is not danger or stop code, but the operate code,

20 SeemaNo Gravatar { 10.19.09 at 8:19 am }

I was in the doll making class and if I remember correctly, my dad even said that it was the scariest doll he has even seen :| . Today I agree with him 100 percent :D

21 NikhilNo Gravatar { 10.23.09 at 12:14 am }

Yes yes! How did you guess?
You still remember that :)
Guess,my SUPW was better utilized.
Yes dude,same funda.
How can I forget that expansion?
Don’t remind me.
Totally useful.I can mend buttons and repair iron box.
Sewing and stitching to get marks. :D
:-) Trusted.
Thanks for dropping by.
My SUPW failed in this.

22 NikhilNo Gravatar { 10.23.09 at 12:17 am }

Even we made soap.Forgot that.
You were ogling at those girls in the next class!
So,one enemy I have found in your roomie. :|
Useful,not at all wasted.
Mic duty was horror.
Again you Bhavanites copy us.hmpff!
Gardening,poor you!

23 NikhilNo Gravatar { 10.23.09 at 12:21 am }

Thanks auntie for the long comment.
How much every I love to poke fun at SUPW, it was fun and a good learning experience.


There you go! He was a pain, I don’t care if he reads this :|

Change is constant applies here as well?

:D Still,you managed to call it a doll?

24 NirmalaNo Gravatar { 10.24.09 at 9:26 pm }

Hey, nice walk down the memory lane. I never really liked it in the later years esp because of John sir and his cynical attitude! I remember all the dusters we made in SUPW and also the ones in Mohan sir’s class. I think he had collected enough for his entire teaching career! And I only remember making glue which started stinking in a couple of days! And the only thing I still use even now is the chain stitch. By the way, I always wanted to do the mike testing – you know it looked cool. Never managed to have the guts to ask John sir why he thought it was only a “guy’s” job! Which is why I was also elated to get to give the command in the assembly cos that also was a boys’ job for a long time… Anyway, good old days – thanks for the post nik!

25 NikhilNo Gravatar { 10.25.09 at 12:50 am }

Who else is the best person to comment on this post? :)
Yes,he was a cynic with a sense of lack of accomplishment in life. Ruthless most of the times, he treated us like his enemies. I don’t care if he reads this.
I remember hem stitch and button stitch :| Mike testing was cool, but I did it just ONCE!
Glad that you liked the post.

26 adity shuklaNo Gravatar { 02.15.10 at 5:04 pm }

noting 2 dfine it ,yar ye priod bas bheja khata hai…………………isn’t it.

27 naseema begumNo Gravatar { 08.22.10 at 8:39 am }

i m a we tr and got so many exp of students,i learnt only stitching in my childhood.

28 Siba NarayanNo Gravatar { 08.24.11 at 7:59 pm }

As i read some where that some useful periods wasted (SUPW) .Is it not the time for u to try how to make it useful (not for u, its for your children and the future generation.) Request you all to put your hands together for the up gradation of the subject like other technical subjects because teachers are highly qualified (mostly graduate engineering)

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