Unique Names, Unique Logic
by Udit Chaudhuri


Rishi Valley landmarks have unique names whose logic is also unique ... Boat Rock is shaped like a boat, but sits on top of a hill. Cave Rock actually is a cave! So what's wrong if Foundation Stone is named after the KFI - and laid 45 years after the school was founded? (For oldie RVites like me, there is a granite structure and sign at the Junior-School-via-Swimming-Pool approach to the campus. That road is no more in use.)

Joshua Akka's Rock no way resembles her - she sat there on her few leisurely evenings. Lion Rock, at an angle, looks like the visage of a giant lion peering out from behind a hill, to anyone entering from the Mouth Of The Valley, which was just a road at one end of a wide open space between ranges of hills. No one agreed when I tried to call it Camera Rock. Sliding Rock doesn't slide, but (pre-quarrying days) had long, smooth if not damp tracks along its jagged slope that could let you slide down, if you risked your skull and bones! Asthachal Hill remains that even if there is no Asthachal. I am glad to hear that it was revived recently.

A broken boulder near the Grand Canyon, the erosive limestone & clay formation beside a treacherously sharp bend on the old drive from the Mouth - was under dispute between Throne Rock and Car Rock. I like the latter name, even autographed the rock with tar. That I believe, fueled the dispute with Udit Rock. How flattering.

New House was as ancient as Neem, yet it had the name until the New Hostel for senior boys was built in 1969 and for want of a new name, stayed that way while New and Neem Houses became Neem A and Neem B. Why were Red, Blue, Silver, Golden, White and Green Houses always painted off-white or milk-white? Mallee/Jasmine House, Alamanda and Jacaranda are named after local flowers, but is there a silver or gold mine, or a local Lord Krishna - not remotely - anywhere in the Valley? Perhaps yes, in many avatars all over our Estate, Dairy and the few fruit trees around the school area! Why is there no Hanuman House?

One's ability to name selected spots yielded privileged territories. Tenzing, (namesake of the mountaineer but no less!) a Dada of our times, named a spot Tree Top (Secret) and made the entire Junior School squirm to be included in his week-end expeditions to it, even offering their contributions in valuable Grub, be it saved afternoon Tiffin from the DH or parcels from home. The hapless souls hiked all over the Asthachal Hill and the one behind DH, only to find a split rock and a tree on its top, while the expedition leader took the lion's share of the goodies, distributing the rest like charity.

Can you remember more of these names?