Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A SCHOOL REUNION... and One That Did Not Happen

It was wonderful meeting some friends of Sankar (my grandson) whom I have not seen for a long time. Some others I was meeting for the first time - like Ramya and Sarada. All of them who came home were ever willing to sit by me and chat with me.  I was totally touched by their affection towards an old person. All these children (yes, they are children to me though they are in their early forties) had come from far and wide to Chennai in the last week of December ­­ with a special purpose -- they were the  batch of students who had passed out of Vidya Mandir in 1985 to have a reunion and make their bond with the school further stronger.

 This took me back to my schooldays and classmates — I have not seen any of them after I got married and went to Delhi in 1945. I wonder sometimes where they would be and whether they are alive or…

 I was the youngest in my class and because of that I had to produce a medical certificate so that I could sit for the public exam that year. I said I had not seen anyone of them,that is right. But I do remember their names and their faces and the good times, and sometimes the not so good times, I had with them. We were together for nine years and as I look back I feel it was a wonderful period of my life.
Susan Grace Varkey and Thresiamma were the most beautiful of them and I greatly admired Susan not only for her beauty but also for her kind and friendly nature. We worked together as president and secretary of the Hindi cultural society in the final year of our Plus Two years, known as Intermediate or F.A. (Faculty of Arts)and became close friends. Other names I recall are Parvati Ammal, Kamalambal, Karthiyanani, Saramma Varghese, Ruth Ommen. Mary Jacob, Madhavi, Anna Ipe, Mary M.George, Kanthimathi, Aruna, Ratna Amma, Lily, Kasturi, Daisy James who was very good in sports and  Swarnamma. I know for certain that she is no more.

Well, I can easily fill this page with all the names I remember. We were the last batch of students to pass out of The Maharaja’s School for girls in Palayam,  Thiruvananthapuram  in 1942. That school  building was annexed to the College of Science at the end of that academic year and that was the end of our school!!
We did our F.A. in the College for Women in Thycaud. I am putting all this down so that if anybody reading this remembers her school and college days will also remember me. I hope it is not a vain thought. My name in the school and College registers  was L. Lalithambal. May I make a request to the children/grandchildren of the above mentioned classmates of mine, who read this page to contact me so that I could gather some news about them. It is a fact that as one grows old, one’s thoughts do go back to one’s younger days

The generations that followed mine were smarter and luckier. They (including my own children) I am happy to say, are in touch with not only their school and college friends but also with their teachers in school as well as in college. The world has become smaller and closer with all the modern  amenities -- by pressing one button you reach anyone you want in any corner of the earth.

What made me so sad was something that happened in September. In the  second or third week of that month  there was an obituary notice in The Hindu about the death of one Dr Susan Mathews along with her photo, address and phone number, also saying she was originally from Thiruvananthapuram. That set a bell ringing somewhere in my memory. Could this be my old, old friend Susan?

 I was in two minds whether to call and talk to her people or not. After debating for a day with myself I dialled the number and talked to Meera who introduced herself as Susan’s daughter-in-law.  Talking with Meera confirmed what I was thinking, yes, this was the same Susan -- my one-time friend and classmate!! What a way to find out!

 Now what is the use? It is too late. What made me real sad was the fact that Susan was living  just a kilometre away from where I stay. If only I had known earlier it could have been a wonderful reunion of old timers!