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  • Writer's pictureDilmit Singh

St. Bede's


I wasn’t sketching or painting much in my teenage years when I left my hometown for the first time to attend St. Bede’s College. With stimuli and “hill station” beauty around every bend, I envision the missed creative opportunities. On cool, crisp weekends when classes were not in session, I sat in the sun on the iconic wooden green and brown antique bench adjacent to the statue of the patron saint and took in the grandeur of the main building. Behind the statue, a few feet away from the grotto that housed a figurine of Our Lady, my gaze moved from the rocky, moss-lined hillside with its organic nooks and crannies to the large glass doors of the library entrance on the east and the classrooms on the north. I watched the new lime green ivy leaves creep towards the rays of sunlight on the stolid stony walls. I watched the rays dance between the soaring trees. I marveled at the guileless beauty as the cool breeze carrying the fresh aromas of pine wafted in meditative silence. It was mesmerizing to do nothing, say nothing, albeit savor the ancient charm. An induced contentment in a place of learning worthy of the stateliness attributed to it.


Those impressionable years were not about producing but about becoming. St. Bede’s provided an ethos that pushed young women like me to become self-reliant and resilient. Yes, there was content and curriculum; yes, there was the stamp and seal that each of us desired at commencement, but there was more. There were challenges that made us recognize that potential is not achievement and that talent is not success. Most often it was tireless study as marks received on comprehensive board exams determined individual standings. Friends supported each other as best they could. Alongside the grueling hours of work, we had reading, needlepoint and knitting competitions. I remember midnights of pianos playing willy-nilly in the classrooms, statues moving from their affixed spots, horse buggies rolling through the snow, and the typical boarding school pastime of supernatural story-telling! Rendezvousing at the Gaiety Theatre while feasting on eclairs from Trishool’s bakery was always a treat. Light-hearted fun in tangent with kindness, compassion and an enduring work ethic encompassed the essence of becoming.


I have not been back to St. Bede’s for decades, but learned that the college was commemorated on a postal stamp and accorded a distinguished heritage status by the University Grants Commission of India. Nostalgia. The ink and watercolor sketch of the exclusive 1904 building is my way of acknowledging my memories of college days and my love for art and literature.

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Dilmit Singh
Dilmit Singh
Nov 17, 2020

Good to see you on the page, Dora. That's how far back our friendship goes! Its quite a treat when images can transport us to places real or imaginary, in fact or in fiction. Yes, I remember reading Rebecca in our many book swaps.

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lamadora0
Nov 16, 2020

Reminds me of Manderley(Rebecca)mysterious secrets hidden behind the ivy covered thick stone walls of the old house at the end of the long drive way.

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Dilmit Singh
Dilmit Singh
Sep 02, 2020

I'm so glad that you remember it as I do, Bani! You said it - the idyllic setting for the college was magical. Let's go visit someday...

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Dilmit Singh
Dilmit Singh
Sep 02, 2020

Thanks, Sue. Nostalgia is real; and it helps recreate. Will make my way back some day with you and others in tow! Recognizing that it will not be the same and distance often lends enchantment to the view, assuredly there's enough there to pause, appreciate and be grateful for past opportunities. A sketchbook will certainly come in handy!

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banibora
banibora
Sep 01, 2020

You captured the essence of our college St Bedes in your beautiful artwork & equally evocative words so aptly Dilmit.

I love the way you drew the vine creeper all over the stone walls just as they were. Beautiful colours very atmospheric & yes indeed our college in it's idyllic setting just prepared me too to be 'self sufficient, open minded & innovative ' in our own ways.

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