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:
- Travelogue: Kenya Safari - Where the Wild Tames Man
- Sharjah Aquarium - An Under Water Marvel
- Reminiscences: a Tale of Two Grandmothers
- Dubai: Meet Chota RJ Pratiksha Rao
- Antony Rasquinha - Mangalorean Entrepreneur Soaring High in Mumbai
- Mangalore: The Ever-loving, Gifted Pandu
- Manguli - the Lighthouse Hill Sugarcane Juice Man of Yesteryear
- Mangalore: Lineman Battham - Unsung Hero
- Destiny Flight: A Journey from Kuwait to Mumbai
- Mangalore: The Light House Hill’s Siren Call
- Attention: Credit Card Holders!
- A Desert Cow Boy in Sharjah
- Interview with Former Test Cricketer Madan Lal
- Beggar Colony - Hell on Earth
- A Place of Worship at ‘Narayana Hrudayalaya’
- Wally Domingo – The Little Known Big