16 Apr Alumni Spotlight: Lillian Singh ’39
Every month we will put the spotlight on one of our amazing alumni around the world. This month we feature Lillian Singh ’39.
When did you attend Woodstock?
From 1937 to 1939. I also worked at the school as the secretary to Principal Bill Jones. My son, Bobby, attended Woodstock and graduated in 1986.
What is the craziest memory you have of your time here?
My friends and I had a number of adventures at Woodstock. I remember helping to convince newly arrived students from the US to go ‘snipe hunting’ with pillowcases at night. I also won the pie-eating contest on Sports Day at Taylor’s Flat when I was a Sophomore. I also remember sneaking into Midlands to eat all of the jalabis that were prepared for the Latin club’s annual event. At the time we thought it would be a great prank. Looking back it was quite a mean thing to do.
Can you tell us about your classmates?
I spent a lot of time with Margrit Boyce, a classmate whose parents were missionaries. We used to take a detour on our way home from church on Sundays to visit Char Dukan. Since it was against her principles to shop on Sundays, I would have to make all of the candy purchases for both of us!
Who was your favorite teacher?
Miss Vera Francis who taught me English and Geometry. I remember when she asked me to perform a dance during a school play. When I was up on stage, I wiggled my hips just a bit and shocked fellow students in the process. Woodstock might not have been so open-minded regarding dancing at the time.
How did Woodstock shape who you are?
I came to Woodstock from a convent school in Dehradun. They were very strict with rules and somewhat narrow-minded. The open atmosphere at Woodstock was incredible. I learned how to study and how to research using the library. During the summer, parents would come up from the plains and host parties and events for students. Life was delightful.
How has Woodstock changed over the years?
Life was very simple back when I attended Woodstock. We used to get 2 Rupees per month for pocket money. We would occasionally buy cakes for 50 paisa from the boxwalla who would come by the school from time to time. When my son was at Woodstock, 100 Rupees per month wouldn’t do for pocket money. I imagine students today spend quite a bit more.
What has stayed the same?
Woodstock still holds many of the same value of education – helping to develop students very holistically. Woodstock gives you a broad base of learning rather than forcing students into certain narrow channels of study.
Can you tell us a bit of where you live now and what you are doing?
I live and look after the family home Sikander Hall in Barlowgunj, Mussoorie. I enjoy the twice-yearly visits by my daughter and other members of the family living abroad. My life revolves around the various happenings at schools and Christ Church and occasional get-togethers with my “golden-oldies” friends.