Alma Mater Beckons

Alma Mater Beckons

Despite the huge process of organizing contact details and trying to get people enthusiastic about meeting up again, school reunions are often a rewarding experience as they re-ignite many friendships and also provide oldies to return to their childhood, if only for a brief period.

On Sunday, June 23, 2002, Saraswati Mandir Trust’s Secondary School completed fifty years. To mark the occasion, students and teachers from the first few batches were invited to join in the celebration.

Teachers of the yesteryears took great pains along to organize the function under the guidance of the School’s founder, Ms. Vimalatai Karve, who is now eighty-one years old. One teacher, Ms. Champabai found out the phone numbers and addresses of her ex-students and contacted them personally to invite them to join in the Golden Jubilee celebration of the school. The response to her invitation was heart wrenching as students, who are themselves in their mid-fifties, came from as far as Ratnangiri, Kolhapur and Pune, to participate in the celebration. The spouses and children of most ex-students accompanied them.

The atmosphere at the School was charged with anticipation and delight as former students got an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and classmates. For a few hours, everyone present in the auditorium traveled 50 years back in time, when they first went to school as toddlers.

It was a sight to behold as balding men and graying women got transformed into eager little kids who recalled every little prank they played and shared fond memories of the childhood they spent together as schoolmates. One ex-student Aru Oak even suggested that in the next such reunion meeting, each of them should bring in their lunch-boxes!

The chief guest for the occasion was former Mumbai University vice-chancellor, Dr. Snehalata Deshmukh. While addressing the audience, Dr. Deshmukh recalled that her handwriting was so poor that she knew was destined to be a "doctor". She also related how one teacher was instrumental in helping her improve her handwriting greatly.

Most ex-students were visibly thrilled to see their own teachers again, as they declared their unchanging reverence for their "gurus" even after so many decades. Dilip Mulye said, "When I first received the phone call on Sunday morning, I was hardly expected Vimalatai to be at the other end. Yet, when she identified herself, it evoked the same fear and respect that it did, when I was her student. This shows the respect that she commands from her students, even after fifty years!"

The ex-students got together and presented each of the teachers who taught them with a memento as a token of appreciation.

As the function came to an end, it was an emotional moment for all present as they bid farewell to each other and promised to keep in touch. They also paid respects to their old teachers and sought their blessings.

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