When the idea of a reunion was first mooted, we never thought it’d take off… and so soon. For, it’s 22 years since we passed out of tenth grade (yeah, that makes us all old!) and we were sure that the class of 89 was scattered all over the world, and getting most of them
together would be a like climbing Mount Everest or some such thing.
Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and hence Facebook, the effort began in sincere earnest. Those already active on FB were roped in. Namrata started a St Mary’s Friends Group (the name of our alma mater) and thus began the mammoth task of digging out old friends and making it happen.
A few already in Cochin met up with those who came on holiday and we all vowed to ‘each one find one’! That was way back in 2010… and soon the Facebook group started swelling! But despite technology and social networking… there was quite a large number missing… and we simply had to find them.
One of us took upon the task of getting the address book (Sathya) from school. Since most of us had lived within a 5km radius back then, addresses were not hard to find, but did our classmates still live there? It was indeed a million-dollar question. Mehtara made it her life
mission to find out. She went to each address, enquired with neighbours if the person had moved out, made calls from Ireland to Malaysia and found out the whereabouts of atleast 100 of the batch. Hats off to the lady, who with her enthusiasm, will and determination and despite huge family commitments traced her missing classmates. Like one classmate who had moved out of Cochin eons ago told her, “What are you? The CBI? How did you ever find me?”
Twenty-two years was indeed a long time… so the occasion had to be truly out of the world. So mini-reunions and umpteen meetings happened before the BIG day. We wrote scripts for the emcee, welcome speeches, power point presentations, vote of thanks… made invites, personalized mementoes, arranged for photographers, the works… And of course, the reunion, we decided should not stop at school.So there was dinner and dance planned and a picnic. We sure are an ambitious lot!
The day dawned and we had more butterflies in our stomach than we had when we wrote our boards. When the teachers began streaming in, our eyes became moist with tears. We were soon enveloped into an ocean of blue and white, our colour code for the afternoon (modeled on the colours of our school uniform). Many hugs were exchanged and the hall rang with laughter and loud chatter while the chechis hushed us, much in the tones they used when we were at school. As event after event unfolded, we could sense the joy on the teachers’ faces and see the tears in their eyes. Ms. Naomi (our sixth grade teacher) summed it up thus: “We have surely done something good – you’ve all turned out to be the best!) It was heartening to note that most of them remembered our names and after 22 years, we dared to tease them about their standard lines. Miss Cliffine, my Maths teacher pulled both my cheeks hard when I imitated her saying ‘Centre of Curvature’ while Ms. Felcy grinned when we reminded us what a terror she was in the classroom and her legendary diary signing threats (don’t answer and you get a note in the school calendar to be signed by the parents!). Priceless moments are made of these! A small fund was handed over the school and a magnificent cake cut – stuff that opened the floodgates further.
We hardly had an hour to get out of our saris and change into something trendy (in red and black) for the dinner and dance at Abad Plaza that night. We literally boogied the night away… yeah, yeah, we will be 16 till we die! Ritu conducted a wonderful quiz that prompted the kind of jokes that would have made us blush in embarrassment 22 years back. Naah! There’s nothing scandalous about the batch of 89, we are like this only!
Despite winding up late, we were all up, bright and early for our day-long picnic at the Abad Turtle Beach Resort at Mararikulam, an hour’s drive away. Much fun was had at the beach with games conducted by Madhu Menon (who exemplifies that enthusiasm is infectious at any age!) where were ran around with bananas and the like 🙂 A sumptuous Kerala sadya was had by all and more games played…
The laughter and camaraderie was seen to be believed. It was like we had never left school. No awkwardness, no reticence… a no-holds-barred kind of friendship rekindled, and which we are sure will go on forever.
It was a great idea. That took root only because of the efforts put in by so many people, too many to mention here. For, as we always reiterate, it’s the company that counts, not who did what and how much… And that’s how we look back at Yesterday Once More – the grand reunion of the 1989 batch of St Mary’s Anglo Indian Girls High School, Fort Cochin.
Like I said before, ‘We are like this only!’… And we’d never have it any other way. Love you all, all 145 of you!