It all started off by a surprise connect with Lakshminarayan (Lachu) my classmate of mine at school – Don Bosco Egmore, Chennai- a year back. I had spent the formative years of my life at Don Bosco between 1972-1980. Immediately he was kind enough to include me in the DB80 Yahoo group and I was suddenly travelling through the corridors of the time machine. Again when I checked my mails a few months back, I recieved a communication about the proposed DB Coverge – a Global reunion program being organised.
I quickly jumped on to it and soon I registered for it. It was held on July 25/26th at Don Bosco Egmore and ITC Grand Chola, Chennai. It was held in grand style at the ITC Grand Chola and had registered 300 delegates for the Celebrity Conclave and 1000+ past pupils had come for the DB Converge at the School.
YG at his humourous best and true to a comedian proving a point with his DHOTI, Arvind Swami was all poise and a rare example of an Actor turned sucessful Corporate Entrepreneur. But Vijay really stole the thunder. Can never forget his 5 D (Desire, Dedication, Determination, Discipline & Divine Influence). Great to see all of them pulling the teachers and sharing their nostalgic memories of DB and how it shaped their lives & careers….. was worth attending the event and will cherish for a long time to come….
After a sumptuous lunch we drove to our alma mater school- Don Bosco and what a great feeling it was, stepping into the Temple of Learning after a gap of 34 years. There were a lot of changes but still we could recognise the school, the nooks & corners, the assembly hall, the library, the knocked down canteen, the water hole, the cricket nets, the basket ball courts, Princi room etc. It was really nostalgic to revisit the place that we had inhabited for nearly a decade. It certainly was a proud moment and the school gave us a warm welcome.
The assembly hall was used to hold a exhibition taking us down memory lane. A collection of all vintage photographs contributed by the Past Pupils beautifully laid out was a treat to watch and reminiscent of our lives at Don Bosco.
The biggest experience was going back to the school. We were treated to a 45 minute class from our old teachers and I was fortunate to attend the Biology class taken by Jerome Rajan. He also used to teach us German and it was treat to be back in his class. The class room was packed with eager but unruly students as we listened in awe his teaching on Bio Technology. It was certainly a great feeling to be a student again.
It was also a nostalgic moment when we all went thro a PT class and went thro the routine drill of our PT Master Mr. Charles. Dressed in a impeccable suit & tie, he took us through the oft famous routine drill of stretch & bend on the parched grounds of Don Bosco. It was a rare sight of an old Suited PT Master conducting the PT drills of an equally aged Past Pupils. It was the ultimate fun that we had and took us back down the memory lane of the love-hate relationship we had with the PT class in our school days.
After that in the evening it was party time to dance to the tunes of DB School of Rock. We were treated to some great old numbers of Ventures, Shadow, Illaya Raja by none other than a group led by the legendary YG Mahendran. He was from our 1965 batch and around 64 years and he was drumming away like a school kid and also whistling the Shadow numbers in all his youthfull earnestness. An amazing talented character. A renowned Actor/Comedian, theatre artist, accomplished cricketer, a musician, drummer, an Engineering qualification and a accomplished student. Truly a versatile talented person that Don Bosco is proud to have had.
Another surprise was catching up with another talented and illustrious classmate of mine Dr. JS Rajkumar who is a renowned Doctor is Chennai (son of late Dr. JR Shankaran) who specialises in Bariatric Surgery and is a famous Endocrinologist & Gastro doctor. He and his brother treated us to some old songs(incl. Bryan Adams-Summer of 69, Deep Purple-Smoke on the water) and we truly enjoyed the evening.
Raj, never knew you & your brother Anand were talented singers. Liked your numbers especially Summer of 69 and Smoke on the Water. Also Anands inauguration with Ilayraja’s old tamil numbers were stupendous. All in all a talented family eh….
The lead guitarist – sorry I dont remember his name- on the left was awsome. His rendering of Hotel California, Smoke on the Water and We dont need no education was a master piece. Great show guys. You really rocked .
On the last day the grand finale was the felicitation of our teachers and awarding some cash awards as our token of love & appreciation. And the biggest roar of thunder & clap was for our old Head Master – Mr. Selvadorai. Now past his prime and above 70yrs he was there with his son – frail and weak but still maintaining his poise & charm. He was swarmed by the old students at all times and waiting to click a picture with him. What a proud moment for him and also to the students. Every celebrity Vijay, YG Mahendra, Arvind Swami, Sanjay Pinto etc. and students recollected their tryst with Mr.Selvadorai and fondly remembered him, though he was strict person and terror in our school days. However the discipline that he inculcated in us and also the English that he polished in us truly held us in good stead for the rest of our life.
And to cap it off, we were treated to a musical feat from our very own Grammy Award winner Vikku Vinayakram and his family. It was a blend & fusion of Indian & Western classical music. After all the shaking of legs the previous night, it was all shaking of the head with Vikku and his entourage. His entourage was none other than his son and grand son.
What a family and a rare sight – Father, Grand Father & Grand son all masters on their own. No wonder the Grand Father was the first South Indian musician to win a Grammy Award. Was truly a memorable icing on the cake….
All in all it was a great trip down memory lane, catching up with my School, the Teachers and my classmates. Thank you guys at the DB Converge team. It was a great initiative, well organised and well attended. Great to be reunited with my classmates of 1980 batch and our teachers and visiting the Temple of Learning. It was a nostalgic reunion of all sorts. Congrats to the team for a great job well done.
We also ought to repay our debt & gratitude to the teachers – Mr. Selvadorai, Lourdraj, Vincent, Stephen, Manuel, Jerome, Adaikalam, Raja Pandi, Charles & others who toiled hard to shape us Body, Mind & Soul and laid a strong foundation to our life & careers. What ever we are today is to a large extent because of Don Bosco & the teachers at large.
Last but not the least this Global re-union, rekindled the pride of being a Don Bosco student, reminiscent of our pride in our school days and living by the values of Don Bosco – Virtuous in Arduous……. and truly my trip to Chennai on July 25-26th 2014, were one of the best days of my life and what better way to remember than listening to the song…….