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A Classmate Reunion after Three Decades
by Naveen Frank - Sharjah

December 12, 2008

The decade of the sixties was coming to an end and the seventies was at the threshold. Man had just landed on the moon but Mangalore was still an adorable township with the only exciting place being the school that we attended.  The school picnic on the school bus was the talk of the class , days before it happened and days after it happened. Going down memory lane, the standard places of visit were Panamboor beach (only to see from afar)  ,  coffee curing factory, cashew factory, tile factory, Mirajrar’s Bungalow.  Senior students had the privilege of  visiting The Bajpe airport ( aerodrome) to see the only Dakota Indian airlines flight of the day.

We cherish and  enjoy our days in school .  But there comes a day when we suddenly find ourselves grown up and ready to part ways. It is but common to drift away and in most cases never to meet again but only savor the sweet memories of  our childhood  days.


SIXTH STANDARD CLASS PHOTO


Twenty years hence, with the advent of technology suddenly taking over, the world has become smaller.  Fast travel, direct telephone calls, emails has made it easy for people to communicate and stay in close touch. 

Here is a remarkable story of how technology has helped a group of long lost classmates come together after decades of separation . Interestingly the story goes back nine years ago to a single man. In the quiet confines of his home in Dubai , he was exercising his computer passion , burning the midnight oil. Nobody really dreamt that  this man, Walter Nandalike, would soon  be the reason for uniting thousands of people around the world . The advent of daijidubai.com ( now daijiworld.com) made it possible for a group of men who were classmates since 1969 at St  Aloysius School , Mangalore , to come together after decades of separation.

Apparently daijiworld published an article on one of the  successful Mangalorean entrepreneurs  Mr Ivan Fernandes , CEO of Ducont, Dubai.

The article attracted the attention  of many readers , some of them being his classmates who recognized him instantly. It started from that point. 

Surprisingly , it was found out that quite a number of these  classmates had come over to the UAE , got married and had their own families.  Ivan being in the computer age was helpful in making a data base of all those living close by.  

Initially nine names came up. Everyone of them expressed their earnest desire to soon meet together with the families.  Eventually a pack of 13 long lost classmates finally decided to show their faces to each other again.  After 3O years , and now equipped with their own families they zoomed down towards the villa of Ivan Fernandes at the Gardens, in Dubai. 

It  was amazing to note that these little fellows with school uniforms , sitting together on classroom benches , again come together to cherish ancient memories.  The first part of the reunion was warm embraces and tight hand shakes and of course introducing the wives and children.   It was small mercy for the men to learn that most of the wives studied at the same school and they gelled together soon.

There were a few surprises. The most handsome of us in school, who was known for his lovely hairstyles, was now bald. The one we called Shortie ( Kunta) in school was now tall. And there was one we referred to as Kara kaddi ( thin)  was now overweight. Another classmate who was known to speak only English in school, now spoke fluent Konkani.( Apparantly he has  married a girl from Kinnigoli)

Even before exchanging information about our jobs, we first began settling scores.  Prashant recalled an unpaid bet. A volleyball match was played on a bet of 25 paise. It was supposed to have been paid the following day by the loser.  However, even after 25 years, it went unpaid. He demanded it back.

Arnold, the accounts brain among us, immediately calculated the interest on the unpaid amount, added the inflation rate of the last 25 years and put the final recoverable total to Rs 143.

Roshan  vividly recalls an incident when he stole mangoes from the school compound. When the headmaster came to class to inquire, Roshan was betrayed by his classmates. Three of them were present on that day who denied having had any role in it.

Paul accused  Naveen of deliberately tearing his new shirt while playing football, an incident that happened 22 years ago ,that nobody else except him could recall.

Darryl and Ivan pounced on Nikhil for spoiling their chances of winning a drama competition 18 years ago. It was a serious drama that involved a murder on stage. Nikhil was supposed to have come on stage and exclaim loudly that there was a murder committed . Instead, he entered the stage and started to giggle. That was the last drama Nikhil acted. 

A handful have remained single, still considering themselves to be eligible bachelors while the fact remains that they are at the threshold of hitting half a century soon.

Then there was the profuse lamentation from all  for being unfair to our teachers. We recalled the dedication of our teachers and we have spared no occasion to make their lives miserable. Could we get another chance to be students again, we would do everything to undo our school mischief.

 
REUNION AFTER THREE DECADES


It was heartening to note that our good old classmates have reached various corners of the world. While most have chosen to be doctors ,  engineers and successful businessmen, we learnt that there were others who have risen to heights. One is a school headmaster, college principal, notary public,  city corporator, University Professor, scientist.

Sadly, in spite of having multi talented individuals , nobody found their way into Hollywood, Bollywood or Sandalwood nor did anyone make it to Ranji or National cricket or win an Olympic gold medal or win a Magsaysay  award or a Booker Prize or was anybody nominated for the Noble Peace prize nor did anyone follow Devi Lal or Jagjivan Ram !

 

Naveen Frank - Archives:

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Comments on this article
Niranjan Ghodke, Cary, North CarolinaFriday, December 11, 2009
Frank Lancelot, are you the same person I used to go on Xerox calls in Mumbai, while working with Graphics India? Pls. send mean email to reconnect if you r the same missing friend.
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russell dsouza, bejai,MuscatSunday, September 06, 2009
Hello Naveen, Those were the days when One,two, three, five and ten paisa was a big amount. 25 paisa was royal.I still remember the boras from your tree and also the lead shots we used to remove after firing class.Hope to meet all our classmates one day. god bless
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Navin, BahrainFriday, June 26, 2009
WOW...Simply Superb!!! the only expression I can give...
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Sohan Albuquerque, Bejai - MangaloreMonday, December 29, 2008
Naveen, hats off to you for this great job , keep it up.....
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Flavy, MangaloreWednesday, December 17, 2008
It's a good idea for other batches from  other schools in Mangalore or any other part of the world. I had a picture with all my classmates. Now I really got to look for it.
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Ramesh Baliga, mangaloreWednesday, December 17, 2008
Nice article.I remembered my own school days.Thanks Mr.Naveen for a sweet article which brought a small little "happy" tear in my eyes.School days are the best..only best?..no no its the "bestest" yaar..:)
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Lancelot Frank, Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Dear Naveen, excellent article. Great comments from all your class mates. I have been trying to figure out where you are seated but not succeeded so far. The only person I think I recognized correctly is Loy because he still has the same looks. As James Mendonca rightly said, we should all try and meet on the 6th of February at the Sharjah Wanderers Club for the Aloysius Agnes show. I look forward to meeting all of you there.
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Fr.Melwin Pinto s.j., St. Aloysius, MangaloreTuesday, December 16, 2008
Naveen, It was  delightful to see all our faces when we were just 11 or 12 year olds. I kept giggling when I read your article....nostalgic memories indeed... and to be the Headmaster of the same school today. I found the comments of Shashikanth Punja, who was by all standards the 'bodda' of our class...and recalled the day we had a kabaddi game in 6th std. I was the lone player left and Punja came for a 'raid'. I held on to his thigh for dear life to prevent him from touching the middle line...( as you may recall, I was half his size) We won the game and in my excitement I did not sleep that night!!!Punja, I heard from others you have now become thin and you probably are aware that I am now fat. I am really longing to see you...
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Edmund DSouza, Essex U.K/MangaloreSunday, December 14, 2008
Naveen you beat us by one decade . Actually we (Milagres 88 Batch) are planning a reunion on Jan 3rd in Mangalore . Really inspired by reading your reunion article. We already have a google group with 25 classmates registered . I would call upon all milagres 1988 batch to join this group. Many thanks to Walter Nandalike . You are making this world a True Global village . Edmund DSouza
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Ashok Frank, Mangalore / CanadaSunday, December 14, 2008
Navin, Worderful article. Where gid you find this picture? You must have dug it up from the attic of our old light house hill house in Mangalore . Being your own brother I don't even recgonize you or anyone of the other classmates. Once again great article . Keep writing.
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Yashwanth, Mangalore/Abu DhabiSunday, December 14, 2008
Naveen, nice article, had seen this snap as well as the other snaps of your get gether in Dubai in Neville's facebook. This year's get together in Dubai will have me as an additional member cos I am working in Abu Dhabi now and it would be great to see you all after a long time. Had met Neville, Allan and Prashanth during our batch of 69 get together in Mangalore a couple of years ago. Arnold and myself work in the same area in Abu Dhabi. Looking forward to seeing you all once again.
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A R Ibrahim, Jeddah - KSASunday, December 14, 2008
The sixth standard snap is brilliant with the glittering youth and teacher at the center. This snap rewinds fond memories of our school days. The rainy days, mangoes, tender coconuts of school compound were more tastier than from shops or our home. My friend and I were caught red handed  while still on a  tree when stealing totapuri ( poli mango) of our school. The butler was kind and let us go with a warning. Gradually we become shapeless, hairless and dont wish to be photgraphed. Thats life. nice artice, thanks Daiji World.
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John Pinto., Chickmagalur/ Doha Sunday, December 14, 2008
It is a great effort made by your classmates for reunion , I think everybody should make reunion like this and celebrate , It is really great to see friends in one place after 30 years . It is a great work.
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Errol Sequeira, Mangalore/Bendore/DohaSunday, December 14, 2008
Dear Naveen, Fantastic article, well done and keep up the good work, I am sure that this makes all Aloysians very proud, Darryl (Albuquerque) glad to see your comments, why dont we plan something similar to what these ( young)  guys have done, amazing and hope to see some of my batch mates if not all soon.
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Ivan Fernandes, Mangalore / DubaiSaturday, December 13, 2008
Great article Naveen. You have made the 1969 batch proud. Looks like everybody is jumping to the bandwagon and we can make it still bigger next time. We had a late arrival that day in Nikhil Shetty who is not on the photograph with his wonderful Iranian wife. Do not forget that we would have had a real Sand reunion if we had stuck to the original location of Creek Park with heavy sand storms that day.
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Ranganath Kini, Balmatta Road,MangaloreSaturday, December 13, 2008
Dear Naveen, Good to see your article . Infact Narendra ( now Dr Narendra Shetty, Mangalore ) called & showed me this article. Just to tell that our classmate Yogish Shetty is in UK - is the CEO of Travelex Express & was also the CEO of Delhi Daredevils T-20 Team fulfilling your miss on our classmate not being on the Sports Arena.  Also, you forgot I am an elected Corporator of Mangalore City Corporation. I have not followed Devi Lal or Jag Jivan Ram. But I am close enough.  We look forward to seeing the Dubai crowd in Mangalore on the 3rd jan, 2009 at Mangalore Club.
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zakir husain , mangaloreSaturday, December 13, 2008
Hello Naveen Frank, Alan Vas, Arnold. I assume the others are Percy Dsouza and Prashant Kamath. I  cant recgonize the others probably because  you guys have grown old or I might have. Hope you remember me . You guys called me HYCO in school because my father owned the Hyco Bar soap factory. Some of you called me typewriter Zakir to differenciate me from the other Zakir in class, the reason being I was the only one  in class  who typed my labels , stuck to our schoold books. Hope to meet you guys in Mangalore in January.
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wilson, sharjah uae/mloreSaturday, December 13, 2008
Yes that is rock on. Paul Saldanha will rock on Aloysian alumnai on the 6th of feb 2009. All the classmates of Paul would be thrilled to see him rock after 30 years. That was when we used to play for the Aloysian band . Long live your  friendship and long live Aloysian spirit. 
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bhaskar r poojary, mangalore/dubaiSaturday, December 13, 2008
Wonderful job done by Walter Nandalike & his Daijiworld team.May God bless you all.
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Darryl Albuquerque, Mangalore / HyderabadSaturday, December 13, 2008
Naveen, thank you for putting your thoughts down in words. A recognized quite a few of the faces in the recent snap (I'd seen a few others on Facebook), but in the old one could only recognize Silva Master ('manga bajee'!) :) I'm now inspired enough to try and do something myself for our batch. Keep them coming.....
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Geeta Suvarna, Udupi/DubaiSaturday, December 13, 2008
Walter you are just too good. I pray to god to bless you and your family with all the best. Continue doing more meaningfull jobs cause nothing is more fulfilling than bringing a smile on an individuals face.
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Suraj Menezes, Mangalore, DubaiSaturday, December 13, 2008
Thanx Naveen for the article. There are a few more of our classmates around here in the UAE. I am sure that this artilce will help them join us. Daryl, any chance of postponing the get together by two weeks? I will arrive in Mangalore on 15th of January and will be around until the 30th.
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shashikanth punja, Mangalore/ DubaiSaturday, December 13, 2008
Naveen, Thanks for the article & good to see all you guys together, again. The 6th std. picture , brings a lot of good memories which will be cherished forever... not forgetting silva masters red ink fountain pen ink which landed on a lot of our noses...
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Daryl Andrade , MangaloreSaturday, December 13, 2008
Naveen, great of you to get the guys together. From the photogarph all you guys look sober. The Mangalore reunion is fixed for the 3rd of January. Please inform all our classmates to make it to Mangalore on the 3rd of Jan.2009.
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Roshan, Mangalore / DubaiSaturday, December 13, 2008
Naveen, thanks for the article. I ensured that my children didn't see this article ( Stealing mangoes dad !! ). While we met at Ivan's place, don't forget we called Jeetan in Hong Kong and Narendra shetty in India. Those were the only numbers we had. It's nice to say that after that first meeting we still have kept in touch and the families look forward to all the meeting.Look forward to the Aloysian day, an outing which to date I have not missed.
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Vincy Pinto, Angelore, dubaiFriday, December 12, 2008
Its like 'Rock On' movie. Even I was in 80s batch. I feel like am with you all.
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James Mendonca (ex-Aloysian), Vamanjoor / DubaiFriday, December 12, 2008
Dear Naveen, It is wonderful to note that a few classmates have managed to reunite after 30 years. Every two years the alumni of St Aloysius have a reunion in the UAE. If all the alumni in the UAE make it a point to attend we would have many such happy get-together like you had today. There is an alumni get-together planned for the 6th of February 2009 at Sharjah Wanderers Club. It would be great if you attend with all you class mates, friends and family and make this get-together a memorable one for all. Details of this event will be periodically posted on daijiworld.com. Regards James Mendonca
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Leroy Saldanha, Mangalore/BahrainFriday, December 12, 2008
Naveen, Thanks for bringing back the old memories. Could we organize a real reunion in 2009 at SAC Mangalore through Rev Fr Melwyn Pinto SJ  our classmate  (now Principal at the SAC High School)?
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Nazeer G.P., Manglore, KSA.Friday, December 12, 2008
 After reading this article I am so happy and am  reminded of my school days .Wonderful idea, Daijiworld , good job again. My good wishes to you and your team.
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Arnold , Mangalore/RuwaisFriday, December 12, 2008
Naveen, appreciative and commendable article that has brought back school memories of our 1969 batch. Thank you for not mentioning my name when you referred to the person who has turned bald.  I suggest that we have our reunion again next year ( 40th) .  Wonderful effort and thanks to you and daiji
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Dexter Britto, Mangalore/AucklandFriday, December 12, 2008
Roshan, good to see you after 14 years. I recognise a few from your group. In January we too had a get to-gether of the 1982 SAC batch, due to the efforts of Nitin Shetty, Aloysius Monteiro, Mario Albuquerque. It was an exciting meeting and the meeting was after 25 years. Some of them inspite of being in Mangalore have not met.We hope to have such meetings regularly.
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mahadeva shetty(dietcenter)riyadh, surthkalFriday, December 12, 2008
It is a great  reunion in the land of sand dreamland. Keep yourself  fit & enjoy. Thanks to daiji.
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Gangadhar.T.K., Mangalore,DubaiFriday, December 12, 2008
Dear Walter, I am one of  your regular readers . After  reading this  article, I am reminded of my golden  school days .Wonderful idea, I am impressed.  I would like to use this opprotunity to call on my classmates of  Milagres High School between the years 1965-70. I would be thrilled If  some of them read this message and reply . My good wishes to you and your  team. Good work keep it up.
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Ronnie, Loretto/CanadaFriday, December 12, 2008
Naveen, I really enjoyed this but fail to understand that none of them have any grey hair!!! It is really hard to have such a reunion .
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