To My Alma Mater, With Love.
What is Time? A fourth dimension or a flow of consciousness? I am neither an expert in Physics or in Philosophy to answer that; all I know is it keeps moving faster than the mind can grapple. Thankfully, Merciful Almighty allows the Lesser Mind to travel down the old lanes as I sit reminiscing the best gone days of Life.
A wistful, unfamiliarly fair countenance beamed a bouncer, a rather unexpected one at this five year odd “Who is this?” as he pointed at a photo. This kid was perfected with answers such as My name is…My father is.. This is a Kite. I hesitated for a moment, smiled and then said, bolder than ever, “Tanumay, that is Me.” Father Waveril seemed pleased with my effort. The next time I met him was in School, which was by then, mine. The last time I read on the website, he was Elsewhere. Only I knew what he had meant to me and the One who he was with now, because every time I can call myself a Xaverian, it’s because They had chosen me to walk through those hallowed portals of St.Xavier’s School, Durgapur.
I was taught by the likes of Moore Miss, D’Costa Miss, Lily George Miss, Temple Miss, Anita Mukherjee Miss and Pushpa Miss in my primary days. Barely I realized how much I would miss them in the days to come. Those were not merely moments of teaching but moments of Learning, not moments of frolic but of fearless unadulterated Fun, of not mere friendship but of Faith and Fealty. Our innocence with their motherly love had made schooling only more endearing. Love is not Time’s Fool. Never will Be.
Mathematics had a different taste and sense in Xavier’s. Parameshwaran Sir and his Mr.Butcher, Mr.Bambino, desks, chairs and cattle made mathematics so very easy and understandable in commoner terms that I always urged him to write a book to benefit a million others who were not as lucky as us. Nandy Sir, Our beloved Kaka, may have likened me and many more to the various forms of donkeys and goats, but Practice and Neatness are the forerunners of Perfection was taught by self-example. Jhunu Miss was an enigma, The Missing Link. Last but never the last, Sir Roy, aka Jethu, taught that the Keyword of Maths was Concept. This Pillar was complete, and by far the best I have known till this day. No wonder I remain on the lesser trodden path of Xaverians when I chose to take up medicine and not pure maths or engineering.
There were splendidly intelligent seniors and classmates who made the environment rich with their knowledge, wisdom and above all, their friendship. Whether we went for quizzes or football tournaments, we triumphed. Whether the board exams then or the ones later, our students have had enviable records. Its all due to the ones who taught us the difference of right and wrong. My class, the Millennium ICSE batch of 2000 from the school had joined immediately after the Silver Jubilee year, went on to produce 6 six pointers, the benchmark of per School Success, if Angana Miss, our Economics teacher would have defined. Bhowmick Miss, who could chalk the world map, while still talking to us, touched us all. She even went on to invite us all home for lunch after the exams were over. “Child,” rolling the chalk sticks between her palms, casually thoughtful as ever, Malini Miss would keep a class spellbound as she would reveal secrets in Physics. Rajada was great to follow up in her shoes, very difficult to fill I…. thought in those days. He not only went on to teach relativity and NTSE training after class hours, he even joined us in football in the evenings. Talking of Dedication in off-school hours, Nandini Miss would be there early faithfully every day to revise Chemistry a million times with the entire bunch. We had our share of rebuking too. Madhumala Miss was barely happy with our Biology, neither was Rita Pandey Miss with History. Sandip Sir and Suvro Sir, being from the school themselves, probably realized better and dealt with us in their own style! I hope, looking back, they all feel happy and similar in the way things turned out and with what they worried most about, our performance.
Being an English school where the mother-tongue was Bengali predominantly, we had to be polished in senior school by Chaitali Miss, Lawrence Sir, Moore Sir, Madhumita Miss, Sandip Sir, Suvro Sir, Nita Banerjee Miss and lastly, Nandita Dasgupta Miss. It was a long-drawn beating with the Merchants freaking out with the Jews all the way in Venice, and concentration was, in those days of frolic, little. Nevertheless, we didn’t fail the School Motto. Not because we were like Gold. But because these of these Goldsmiths in the Furnace.
My love for my mother-tongue was flamed by Anita Mukherjee Miss, Sumita Miss, Anita Pal Miss and then, Gita Mitra Miss. I loved reading Bengali literature, the yearning of which comes with comprehension of a language that’s so rich and sweet. I am not sure how many of students today read literature, but my suggestion to them all will be to read, to seek, to find and you will yield to that harvest whose saplings were planted by our own forefathers.
School is not only about studies. It’s about the Making of A Complete Man. Santi Sir, endearingly called P.T Sir, would allow a sixty odd to have a go at a single poor football and then went on to win Inter ICSE Football tournaments like he was taking a stroll to the Gymnasium. The one day, when we got to see our alumni was Sports Day, where they would tug us, fair and square, to their end. The Sands of Time had changed places, and I could not, when I myself became an alumnus, to attend Sports Day, thanks to administrative vigilance. The Sands where we ran, chased and played, remain. Just like our Memories. Upturned now and then once. Thinking of The Light of Other Days.
Our lesser and fairer contemporaries (Read Carmelites) who unknowingly with their lesser volumed brains( Nature’s Design) made sordid comments and were sore at the end. School life, without those mindless quarrels, with them, was not complete. From tamed monkeys whose abode was amidst the sal and teak forests for half a day everyday, We did evolve into The Highest forms.
Looking back through the Looking Glass, I salute all my friends, juniors and seniors and bow with utmost regard before all my teachers with all humility, thanking for such a wondrous life that was gifted, that was blessed and that is never to come again. Knowing that wherever We are, those are unfathomably deep in those same Sands where I played yesterday. Our Roots.
The author can be contacted at email@example.com.
He belongs to the ICSE Batch of 2000.He completed his schooling from DAV Model School,Durgapur and joined MBBS at CMC Vellore in 2002.Having graduated in 2007, he completed internship in 2008 in the same institution and is presently a Junior Resident in Dermatology at CMC Vellore.