I am soooo excited! After months of planning, the moment is almost here. I'm on my way to our batch reunion!!!!
See, that is the difference between a "normal school" and a "residential boarding school". People who graduated from residential boarding schools tend to have a lifetime bond with their batch-mates. And the reasons for that are aplenty -
In most schools, you might have a few close friends, the ones that you hung out with or travelled to school with, your own circle of friends, your little gang. But there were many other classmates that you didn't even speak to the entire year. And in schools that had hostel facilities, again you might be close with some of your hostel mates, but there were surely many day-scholars you never mingled with in your own class. And as for the day-scholars, school was just a small part of your daily routine, and you had so many other things going on in your life outside of school.
But in a residential boarding school such as my alma-mater Montfort School, Yercaud, you mingled with everybody in your class. All of us were not just hostellers, every batch had their own dormitories, their own football ground, their own basketball court, their own refectory group seating, and so on. Basically, you slept together, ate together, studied together, played together, prayed together, bathed together, bunked together etc., all the while being shun from the outside world. Visitations were highly restricted and there were only three long vacations in a year when we could leave the school premises and go home.
Factoring in all that, it makes sense as to why the alumni "Old Boys Association" of Montfort School is so strong and powerful today. Here is a recent newspaper clipping of our upcoming reunion –
Yup, every year, on our School sports day, some of the old boys get together for a reunion. The number of old boys attending the annual sports day at Yercaud usually tallies to around 100 to 200 every year. But this time, there is a big difference. This year is going to be our school's CENTENARY sports day! As you can read from the newspaper clipping above, more than 2000 old boys had already registered this time!
Our batch alone had already booked an entire resort - Four Seasons Resort (which I'm sure is not related to the Four Seasons, but nevertheless, who cares). It's gonna be so much fun meeting all my batchmates and catching up with them, and to have an entire resort to ourselves! :) Rooms had already been allocated, depending on who is coming as "single" or "family". And we're going to have a grand screening of our 12th std "socials night" as well!
Now kids, remember, our batch graduated in '99. Back then we didn't have any smartphones. If we took a photograph, we had to wait for weeks, if not months, for the roll-film negatives to develop. Such was the travesty we lived in back then. The last batch of the millennium. The Talofians. I'm just dying to meet all my batchmates, most of whom I haven't seen in 17 years since we all graduated.
17 years might seem long to some, but when you had spent most of your childhood together, you remember all the memories like it was just yesterday, all the silly things you used to do together, all the laughter and joy shared.
I'm also particularly looking forward to the fact that this time, all the captains of our batch are going to attend the reunion! There's Kamalesh, Gabriel House Captain and one of the main organizers of this grand event. Because of him, we were quickly able to book the resort and register ourselves to the reunion with no hassles. Antony, our School Captain, is also flying down with his wife Becky, alumnus of our sister school SHY (Sacred Hearts, Yercaud). Ashwini, Montfort House captain, flew all the way from Australia and had just landed in Bangalore this morning. And yours truly, me, Patrick House Captain, all excited and bubbling with emotions as well.
And that is what Sports Day is all about. The battle between the three houses. The intense rivalry between Gabriel House, Montfort House and Patrick House. Blue vs Yellow vs Green.
The moment you become a part of the School's family, you are assigned your color - Blue, Yellow, or Green. And you become a part of that color till you graduate (reshuffling of Houses is allowed only once, and that happens at 11th std due to new admissions). And you stay loyal and true to your color even after you graduate. Throughout your school year, you compete with other houses not just in sports and games but also in academics, discipline, etc (those of you who watch Harry Potter will understand).
[all old pics below are courtesy of Montfort School Facebook group]
I dug out some of our old photos from my album, and it really didn't feel that long ago when all four of us were inducted as Captains! I still remember the vow we took that day, the promise we made to set a good example to the school and students, and to be a source of inspiration that others, especially the junior school boys, could look up to.
And here is us, on our final sports days as students, competing with each other from everything ranging from Athletics and Aquatics events to March-past and dance drill.
Our batch also put up a grand show, reenacting the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, teaching a valuable lesson in history to the younger classes. We even had actual explosions and stuff that really awed the entire audience. :)
We also had our traditional 12th std batch parade, where the outgoing batch goes around the field waving to the crowd while current students and old boys cheered them from the gallery.
Many 12th std students tend to break down and cry at this moment, as they think of all the wonderful memories they will be leaving behind. And that is why the old boys association is always up there, cheering up the passing-out batch because they know how that feels like and they want to assure them all the emotional support they can get.
Haha here is one funny pic I want to include in this post. Here we are with our PT Master Mr. Dharmaswamy and assistant PT Master Sir Ernest, without whom our Sports Day would not have been a success.
Even with all the PT master jokes like "make a straight circle" and "open the window and let the climate in" these two were the pillar stones of any sporting events.
The above photo is funny because Antony, Ashwini and I were wearing Gabriel House t-shirt, the color of Kamalesh's house. We wanted a uniform photograph I guess, and so we exchanged shirts with the closest people we could find. A Montfort House captain and a Patrick House captain wearing a Gabriel House shirt is sacrilegious! :D
I don't wanna bore you with more photos, so I'll quickly end this post with these two photos. This one below is our batch's Prize Nite farewell song. And yeah, many tears were shed on this night as well.
And finally, here is our 12th std batch, with our class t-shirt.
Do know that many other batchmates of our who left in 10th std and earlier will also be joining us for the reunion. They are all very much a part of our family as well. Hoping to update my blog from Yercaud. Until then, see you all. Cheers!