Saturday, September 02, 2006

Oru Vattam Koodi Pazhaya Vidyalaya Padimuttathethuvaan Moham...

Today i sneaked into Loyola...some of my classmates are in town besides the guys who work and live in tvm...thought of inviting them along for a sec...felt guilty but i wanted some solitude...it has been three long years, it maybe years before i come here again...saturday, onam vacation...not a soul in sight...it was just me and my alma mater. Deserted look, is the word i am tempted to use, but a thousand memories, hundreds of shiny young faces, a dozen inspirational teachers, all seem so alive and buzzing about, around me. I remembered how troubled, insignificant and mediocre i felt when i walked out of school in 1998...even then i knew i made a wrong choice with engineering, but I didnt know much about life, the world outside tvm, big words like fate and destiny, i was a simple kid without any pretentions, ambitions or big dreams. Today I am back here, again feeling troubled, insignificant and mediocre...under the gulmohar's shade, a soothing gentle breeze, i relaxed, i started dreaming, of good days, of hardships that i would tide with a smile, of all the places on earth i would let loose my carefree spirit.

A Week Back...
The three strapping youngsters with a smile on their faces asked me,
"Chetan Loyolayil padichathalle...njangale ormayondo".
I really felt happy...I knew I should blog on my school soon.
Only a few minutes back, the school-bus had passed me, and as always I turned towards it part in reverence, part in the hope of some junior, teacher or the conductor recognizing me...no luck, i was way too history...i thought.
"Ningal ethe batchileya".(I faintly remembered one of the boys...he was one of the little boys who would hold seats for us in the school bus)
"ISC2006. We just got into engineering this year".
"Chetano?".
"ISC98. I cant believe you guys remember me. When I came out y'all were just in the forth"!
We talked for a few minutes. They were eager to know about how life treats them after school...I couldnt give them the hard part...told them to enjoy the next few years to the fullest.

As they walked away I smiled...they were yet to realize the magic 12 years of studying in Loyola would produce...how people would admire them, how they would begin to believe anything was possible under the sun, how the boys they studied with in school with would continue to be their best friends and would all grow into fine young men. This post is just a celebration...its my way of thanksgiving...to the school, to the teachers and most importantly to my classmates...in a space of a fortnight two of the boys are getting married, a third engaged and a forth broke the big news of him about to become a dad. This is a disjointed post...just some old memories, some hilarious incidents and a few personal recollections all thrown in.

This one evening, i overheard Pops telling this cool priest who teaches at the Loyola College, how studying in Loyola made a big difference in my life. Then i heard this wonderful story the achan, who i hope becomes the principal of the school some day, had to tell.
Night Time. Heavy Rain. Frantic knocking at the jesuit residence. An achan goes out to see who it is. A young couple totally drenched.
The guy desperately, "Acho, am an ex-loyolite. Am goin abroad tomorrow. Just wanted to show my wife, my school. Would you have an umbrella?".
The priest stands in disbelief for a second. But the next request floors him...
"Acho, I need a torch too..."
The poor dude was sticking to a long-standing tradition of showing wives the school...this was the place that made us men, endowed us with ethics and liberal attitudes, this was where we learnt to play hard yet fair, work hard yet be carefree, this was where we became rogues, yet imbibed lessons in chivalry and humanity. I can see Shenoi, captain of the basketball team, star-singer, center-forward of the football team, heartthrob to many a tvm gal, hero to many a loyola junior and Sajeev, top-ranker of the class, captain of the school cricket team, unfailing goalkeeper of the football team and Annan to all of us, who are marrying in this Onam season bringing their women here, recounting to them unbelievable exploits, sharing a part of the history that made them the men who appealed to the gals in the first place.

I remember this one evening at Humayun's Tomb in Delhi. My pal tells me, "Dey, lets look at it the way Pulickal would have done, in history class"
"Do you see the perfect symmetry in not just the monument but the surrounding lawns, walls and outlying buildings on either side."
"Do you see the some of the marble tiles are patchworks, done at a later time".
"Did you know, Dara Shikoh, heir to Shah Jahan, was beheaded here by Aurangzeb and this was Bahadur Shah Zafar's last stand during the 1857 revolt".
"Do you notice the steps up to the monument cant be seen from anywhere...on the raised platform...the builders must have thought it hindered the beauty".
"You know what...for this kind of crappy analysis Puli wud have given us a zero"!
We laughed heartily...remembered the old man, and what he meant to us, how he could brutally make fun of us and yet we never felt any ill-will, how he would set the most difficult question paper, how he would be so stingy in giving us marks and fail most of the class, and as if to rub salt on our wounds, would publish our blunders in the school notice board for seniors and juniors alike to mock us...we still loved him, he was our hero, still is and forever will be. We remembered how Paili wrote in Pulickals history paper, "Rani Laxmibai had no natural hair"...instead of "male natural heir" and how the whole class, and from the notice board, the whole school had a nice jolly laugh about it!

A few summers back we decided to have a reunion at school. Two of us trooped into our vice-principal's office. The surprised man was counting a huge wad of currency and my pal snatched it from him and said,
"Achanmaarke enthina kaashe...fees sherikkum kootiyalle".
I was smiling at all this when the poor priest turned to me and pleaded,
"Eda Kattakayam, avanodathinge tharaan para".
I turned to my bud and joked, "Aliya, u shud demand a Refund. Eitherways, u have turned out rotten after 13 years here and still cant speak proper English." (The Refund, a play abt a rogue who goes back to his school and asks for all the money he paid as fees back).
We three broke out into laughter. We had never heard of a Loyolite who got messed up...
Maybe I should take heart from the above...

A friend once asked me,
"Amongst all of us here, why is it that Pappanabhan and you are going back to India?"
I shot back, "Ask your parents why they didnt send you to Loyola".
"They tried, but..."
"Tough Luck, man". While saying that, I couldnt suppress a condescending smile then.
"You snotty bastard. There's one thing you didnt learn there...how to talk your way into a gals heart".
"Thats okay. There's always arranged marriage for losers like me!".
We both laughed...

I arose from the reverie i had slipped into, and headed for my car. A school is all about high spirits, the longing to grow up and become an adult, and "giving your best till the day is done"...i had soaked for a couple of hours in all what my alma mater gifted me...in a few weeks i will become a bird, i will soar, all i need is courage and perseverance, to go the distance, its a promise to be kept. The school will be watching, waiting for me...

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lovely man...very well written.. [:)]

shan

silverine said...

Beautifully written!!! There is so much I have heard about this school from alumni and other people that it is beginning to take on a legendary hue. Loved this one :)

Mind Curry said...

wow..amazing..i almost walked alongside you back to school with your description..

i havent been there in the last two years..maybe i should one of these days.

Jofu said...

Jabba..... me too same thing as mind curry.... Enjoyed reading this... :) For some time I thought I was in Loyola !!!

Athe aliya.. ee juniors okke ninte mugham engane ormavannu !! athum 4th standards ;)
Nee vallathum avare rag cheythaayirunno..

Backup strategy was good !! About not learning how to talk into a girls heart.. ha ha ha.... Entinum oru marupadi undallo ninakku....

Beautiful post :)

Jiby said...

shan, thanks bud. maybe if u guys tag along with me to college, i will feel inspired to write abt our days there...after all we are so fresh out from seeing Classmates.

silverine, the school has acquired an aura in our hearts...i think its bcoz our boys have stayed close to each other without feeling distant, even after 8 years. and to make it special i have run into so many splendid loyolites like neil and mindcurry, to name a few, over the years, from other batches. am glad u loved it.

mindcurry, ur batch was an inspiration for us...we always wanted to be better than u guys...dont think we really did. going back to school was the icing on what has been a very happy onam for me.

jofu, haha...seeing the size of the 3 kids the first thing that came to mind was...boy! am i glad i didnt rag them...though i think i used to infuriate one of them by pinching his cheeks! isnt the backup strategy the most important weapon in our armoury...i am sure u had as many "which school is better" fights with linsu as i had with jisha!

Arun said...

Good post jabba, its always a mixed bag when you go to an alma mater especially after a long time when the batches that know you are no more there. The 4th std kid was a surprise...
I need to see this classmates movie man...

b v n said...

this one hit somewhere man !!...being in st.thomas you know how much we know *love n hate* ...its like half of my friends circle...coming to tution classes n gangs with your school adventures n stuff...think more striking was the way you put it...going back to school as a stranger will be real painful :(...getting recognized after 8 years is no small feat man !!

just went through your batch list in tripod...amazing thing is i know more than half of your class,atleast by name *you guys are one batch senior*...somewhere or the other I have met these ppl..you know memories going back to good old lakshmi teachers' AOs JDs n all

somehow i get glued to your school posts...nicely done !!

so hows onam going in trivandrum and yeah...Thiruvonashamsakal :))

Matter of Choice said...

good one dude...interesting that some traditions are seen across schools. even we have a similar tradition of showing the wife the school..coupla months back one of my friend thus went with his "newly acquired" wife. He wrote in the group saying that the comments made by teenage boys starving for any sight of opp sex are still the same :)

Anand K said...

Your note on Pulickal Father's comments had me in splits.... knowing his wacky sense of humour and scything wit I bet he would have said something like "Athu sheri, nee randu pishachukkal Humayunte shavakudeerathil poyittu athintu plinth anglum elevationum mesthirippaniyum maathrame kandollo?! Ente karthave, chummathalla ee naadu ingane aayipoyathu!"

BTW, Ichayan, Peri and I had a similar experience when we went t school two Christmases ago.... I mean right after school reopened for last term. Many of the former "kids" recognized us.... thank God they didn't have a "Kottayshion" for us for making them surrender their seats in buses, enquiries on their elder sisters and char sau bees like that! In fact I met a really notorious kid in our bus who always got it from Varghese Uncle at a wedding.... recognized him only by his demonic (trust me!) smile and his dimples.

We are sad, sad, old, old, men now yaar..... But what's going to take the cake is when some X-XII gal (leave alone them, someone from BTech) from those schools calls us "uncle"! That moment you know you ain't young anymore..

Dhanush said...

Man.. I could feel why you are feeling for being a loyolite through out the post. You have put this post straight from the heart. And thats why its awesomely beautiful :).

Took me back to my school days, I bet I never had as much fun as you guys. It was a normal school. And that list of people with their nicknames was fundoo. Had ppl with nick names ammavan, motta and annachi ikn my class too. Quite common alle .. these names ;)

Thiruvonaashamsakal!!!

quills said...

Lovely post!

I have friends and family who have studied in Loyola and I see the same love and pride when they talk about their school. Well, I too feel a deep love and gratitude when it comes to my own school..HAC. :)Would'nt trade the fun and fabulous times my friends and I had for anything else.

And you know, it is funny, I also know your school anthem and used to hum it,(when noone was listening ofcourse)and although never openly admitted it back then, thought and still think it is the nicest school songs I have ever heard. :)

Kurur said...

Brings back lots of fond memories about Loyola! My mother often remarks in jest "Loyolayil padhicha 12 kollangal aanu ninne oru ahankaari aakkiyathu"... But what many perceive as haughtiness or arrogance is what makes each Loyolite stand apart from the crowd! And the difference is not just superficial. It is deeply entrenched in every Loyolite.

Jiby said...

arun, yeah man very true...u know what jofu and i always thought we were luckier than all our friends at school bcoz we got equally swell guys like u in college!

bvn, i know what u mean man, coz many guys in st.thomas used to cheer for our school in basketball matches. tuitions were great for inter-school friendships...thats where we made friends with many cool guys from strs and sarvodaya besides secretly drooling over the gals from hac, strs and sarvo. u know wht i met jayadevan sir at a wedding recently and he was so cool and jolly as always.

anish, u poor guys! we used to have a loyola college and every day before movin to our part of the campus and into class in the morning, 20-25 guys in our class wud hang out near the college gate and wait to get a raavilathe kani of the chechimaar whome we coded apple, orange, grapes, etc...good times man!

pappanabha, exactly, that wud have exactly between wht fr.pulickal raved at when we had those moments at humayun's tomb...ur sense of humour is the best man...if only u had enuf ammo to hit back at my pokes on u!! the calling uncle phenomenon has already begun...dont u remember what happened to u in ratedesi.com...hahaha!!!

Jiby said...

dhanush, nicknames were such an integral part of school life...u wudnt believe it, some of our nicknames were put by the fr.pulickal i mentioned!

quills, i know how u feel abt hac coz my sis too went there! she wud beat the shit out of me whenever i poked fun at ur school. our school anthem is very special...the boys there have brought out a ringtone of it this year...what can beat that?

sandeep, thats such a common feature in all our homes...i think our having studied there is something parents and family are still proud of despite everything else we do. and that supposedly overt pride in the school...others used to hate us for that...cant blame them nor us...its so deeply entrenched!

Anand K said...

There's a reason I treat you with kid gloves, and that issssss....
Naan adichal nee satthupoven!. Now chew on that! :P
Kochu pillerude oro vicharangalle.... kalikaalam!

Pinne Ratedesi.... some professional hater. Prolly our ol' Jatt neighbout himself heh heh heh, right? ;) Anywayz athinte range othiri othiri ahead for poor FOBs like us!
Psst.... did you forget that PYT trinity from Cochin, Achilles ;) ? Ormakal undayirikkanam! Remember "Those who live in glass houses..." Jagratai.
NJAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA 8)

BTW, something I forgot to mention in my earlier comment. I can't help thinking of the movie Oldboy whenever we talk about school. Well, it's creepy; yes it is, but still... :) Think of a situation when say, our Abbasuran takes an Oldboy type vendetta on all of us (especially on you and Peri) for all the things we did to that poor soul in school! Thank God he is a pucca Ahimsavaadi.... imagine HIM going guns blazing on us.

PS: There's a school anthem ringtone? WOW! Pillerella valarnnu poyi... all *we* had was a Matthi "Live at Vettamukku Junction" or Thomman and Gunny doing "Valli vera pona" or Sheni-Gunny-Moi doing "Petta Rap" (with a Fr Manimala inching towards wrathful insanity and righteous anger)!
Now find the ringtone ASAP and mail it to the egroups d'oh!

Anand K said...

Apple, Orange........ aahhhhh!
Wonder where they are now! It's been so long, eh? :)

Thanu said...

Was there scotch for this onam? ;)

Happy Onam

Geo said...

Aliya,

I envy you :D

Reji said...

This is what is called blogging.Well written...can be treated as 'oneline' for a campus movie.

DARREN FLETCHER said...

Hi jiby chetta..welll i came to ur blog thru neil...and this post really had me going down those ghost house's and ukg playg round's of loyola....Great work bro....PROUD TO BE A LOYOLITE...