Saturday, October 7, 2017

And 25 years later...

There were many firsts. Several thousand kilometers traveled. Some circumventing the globe. Folks from 5 continents attended. And when it was time, the blues and whites of 92 - came home.

To march together once again, and become kids. Again. Well, not many have grown up. Some have and others pretended to have, but if you look carefully, and anyone can tell you this - not much has changed. And then there were those who had grown up all they could and then have started to grow sideways!

It was meticulously planned - for several months. To the smallest detail. Yeah, even to the grains of sand that would be collected from the school grounds, filtered and locked up in a sand timer. As the sand went down the narrow opening, it was like watching it all come back to life again. The school bell, the school song, the lunch break, the madness in the games field, the nicknames, and some more madness at 3.30 PM everyday, to top it all of. Only to repeat on the morrow.

And we could turn the hour glass over and watch it all again, and again and again. And each time it seemed to trigger something new!

The greying hair, a few bald pates, some shiny shoes, deeper footprints in the wet sand (from carrying the weight of the world), it all started with our 'young' boys joining the real boys for the school's sports march past.

Many things have changed from when we walked the aisles. Many things looked different too. But from our eyes, we seemed to simply remember it the way it used to be. Even though it all looked different, we saw what we wanted to, exactly how we remembered it. The twin gates at the entrance, the statue of St Joseph, the huge garden, Father principal's office, the pavilion, the multipurpose hall that's now become truly multipurpose, the refrectory, the music room in the dungeon, Abu's canteen, the goalposts, (the football post protecting the hockey post), the parallel bars, the heated swimming pool (it was heated in our times too, but mostly as a result of fear), the chapel, the stamps and the tickles from Br Calligaro, the old desks that you could take the top off and of course the classrooms that didn't have grills to keep the kids from jumping out! Why would we?

Neither the lack of practice, nor the potbellies or the usual hangover, played spoilsport to the old men in black and white (with ties that were never used as slings!) making a sincere attempt at keeping pace with energy that's at least two (and-a-half!) decades fresher. History was made. Well, it was made when some of us passed our 10th! But unlike before, this time, it was made outside the classroom. What a fine show it was! Like the Bournville ad says... breakfast had to be earned. And it was not any old breakfast. It was Abu's famous samosas and burgers. Along with the customary three cheers!

Almost 75 boys had registered to become kids again at the resort. There was an elaborate plan. In fact some wouldn't call it a plan. It was almost a consipiracy! Here, decide for yourself!

We even had name badges (in case anyone fell drunk and passed out, the hotel folks would at least know what the poor soul's name was!) There were several other surprises in the personalized blue and white kit bag! Roll call was taken and we were shown our rooms. Roy was my partner. It's interesting to note that our daughters study in the same class at Sophia High School. I'd also told my daughter that I was going for a sleepover and Natalie's's dad was in my room. "So why does only dada get to sleep over?" I replied with a "You have to be at least my age before you get to sleep over " ;)

The year book was what interested me the most in the kit. It was really well done. I mean, really, really well done! The cover page had a picture of our school in all of it's old glory - exactly how we remembered it. Brilliant capture. Beautiful! All the pictures were awesome, and so were all the memories narrated with so much passion. Laughed my heart out at some vivid stories. Thank you guys for taking the time and sharing them with us.

Shibu's (Yusuf Arakkal's son) photograph of the school looks mind boggling. Hard to believe it is a photograph. It looks like a really good painting - in 3D. Some day, those who have one, might own a limited piece masterpiece. So hold on to your first collector's piece of art. Like that bird on the cross. Yeah, look at that picture again.

And the coffee beans. Man, a sniff was probably enough to get sober. Sniff, did I say? I can bet a few of others starting vaping coffee after that! Another Ashish production. This time a different one.

At the resort, while we waited for the latecomers to join, lunch was served, followed by the cake cutting. It was Ashish Mehta's birthday. The boys were considerate and there were no birthday bumps. Thanks to fragile bones and calcium deficiencies. I mean, at our age, people could break their legs just giving the bumps!

"Georges are losers!" seemed to be the battle cry. It helped that several organizers were from St Patricks ;) Nobody cared what the name of the game was, they just played the game. From throwing the ball at the hapless group of boys stuck inside a ring, to running with those lemons on a spoon, there were lessons on the art of balance to be learned in every game. Even the game where we had to bury our face in vessel of maida trying to snap up a candy or two, had its own lesson. There were better solutions to fairness creams. Switch to Ata. The all important tug-of-war, was a lesson in physics. Because gravity seemed to play spoilsport.

 Time flew. Between the old stories, the music and spirits. Batch 92 isn't going to worry about any water shortages. They have another source of hydration. And oh the dancing. You have to watch the videos! You'll see the medicinal properties of alcohol and why it's available as a 'solution'. It solves the two-left-feet problem. Temporarily.

And yeah, Chugie and Greg beat Bruce Willis at the last man standing contest, at 5 AM. Being awake the whole night! After which the spirits were appeased again. The staff of this resort needs special mention. Not that anyone went out of control. The boys were at their best behavior. All the teachers who wrote those talkative remarks, were probably prophesising about this night! But you learn to appreciate the service of the staff, and their smiles. There were lessons for everyone watching. How to stay composed even when the liquids are flowing like there was no tomorrow.

But there was a tomorrow. Tomorrow was when the batch would felicitate 26 of our teachers.

Many of the teachers still remembered names, after so many years and so many boys. But what we all really appreciated was that they must have done many things right. To turn out a batch like ours.

As a batch, we decided to make it count. Yes, we'd have fun. But it was also time to give back. A fund was set up in the name of the inspiration to many - Late Father Dennis Coelho. The interest on the funds collected will feed 15 deserving boys midday meals each year, perpetually.

I would end with cheers, but that would be taken as cue to invoke the spirits - again!


  1. Fantastic Nibu. Truly a wonderful piece in hinour of our reunion. Brilliant and thanks for remember so many of the details we worked so hard to put together. Cheers and here's to the next one!!!

  2. Great going Nibu. Here's to the next one.