Monday, May 23, 2005

"Ring out the battle call of duty..."

March 1995. Kannada Paper 2 of X ICSE Exams. For some strange reason, thirst seemed to have laid its hands on almost all of us as we sat writing our last exam above the concert hall. Was it a weird grip of fear concerning our exams that left our throats parched? Or was it possibly because that was the last day for us as a student of Joseph’s School?

Zip 10 years into the future. And there I was in the same place on Sunday. My one and truly alma mater. It’s true that I’ve studied in schools and colleges on either side of the Joseph’s era, but those years 1988 to 1995 were something special. I still remember the first day when I walked in through those huge gates, staring at the plaque that proclaimed “Established 1858”, being completely overwhelmed by the bronze statue of St. Joseph, standing in the assembly and listening to the wise words of our Father Dennis Coelho, a person who, despite being the Principal, never gave that impression, a person whose doors were open at all times of the day.

A surprising 30 of us actually turned up for the re-union. All credit to Sunil Pichamuthu for managing to rope in so many guys, considering that we last saw each other in a non-cyber age, and computers were special equipment kept in our school lab which needed us to remove our shoes to gain entrance. The reunion was as expected and even more - a lot of people married, a lot looking completely different (including yours truly) and a few remaining the same (well almost!).

The one true celebrity of our batch – Darius - had come down from his workplace, and it was obvious that his affinity to talk a lot infected us all. After months of listening to his non-stop chatter on the radio, it was a different kind of experience to hear him “live” after 10 years. He seemed displeased to see me – his exact words were “You are a traitor! You are a traitor to the cause of all people born short…how could you leave me alone and go on like this?” :))

It was a nice feeling to not be the shortest guy in school, though it has happened 10 years too late. Not that the response was any different – “Sridhar?? Who is that? Hmm…oh Chilli!! Hi…blah blah”. Sadly, the guy (Khalid) who christened me such wasn’t there at the meet. But that is just me being over-greedy! A few months back I would have given anything to meet even 5 of my schoolmates, and here I am cribbing about the person who did not make it.

We spent about four hours in the school campus, talking about the teachers, the helpers, the brothers, the fathers, the thrashings, the escapades, etc. The lunch table conversations were on career, life, our most famous alumnus – Dravid, our “rotten” archrivals, etc.

The school building has changed a lot since our days (if this phrase doesn’t make me sound antiquated, I don’t know what will), but the spirit still lingers. It was an overwhelming experience. A moving experience.

Hope to meet the rest sometime soon.

5 Comments:

At 5:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ten year reunion! maybe we should plan something on similar lines.

Nice blog by the way!

Amit Shetty
Batch of 1996

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger Sridhar Raman said...

Hey Amit

I am guessing you are a Josephite as well. Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you get to have your 10-year reunion.
:)

Sridhar

 
At 2:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sridhar,

Yes i am, sorry i forgot to mention that.

Bookmarked your blog, i'm liking it.

Cheers,

Amit

 
At 4:36 PM, Blogger Arun said...

Definitely brings back memories and it's been a few years since I visited the school. I was in the 1992 batch.

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Sridhar Raman said...

Arun:
School has changed quite a bit. But I guess the memories always remain...

 

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