May 2, 2008

Why I Love Loyola…

Posted in Loyola at 7:48 am by Krishnadev

What’s the easiest way to identify a Loyolite?

 

            Some would say you can identify a Loyolite by the way he talks, the way he dresses and the way he conducts himself. I beg to disagree. I’ve known many Loyolites, seniors, juniors and from my own batch who are as far removed from the above statement as humanely possible. But still, they too are Loyolites. So, what’s the easiest sure shot way to identify a Loyolite? Just tell him, “Loyola Sucks!” If you can walk away without any damage, physically or otherwise, then the guy you just talked to is not a Loyolite (Unless of course you weigh twice as much as him). And in case, you walk away with a black eye, BINGO! You’ve found yourself a Loyolite!! Now, this characteristic response by a Loyolite, ‘defending’ or rather ‘attacking for’ his school, does not surprise any one of us Loyolites, because, we love our school dearly and we’d do anything for the reputation of our love. Recently, a friend (a senior) in college identified this trait correctly and asked me, “How come all you Loyolites love your school so much? What do those people do to you over there?” For all the love I have for my school, I couldn’t find an answer! Strange as it may seem, I simply didn’t know why I loved Loyola.

 

            Some batches may say it’s the friendships they forged in school that makes it so dear to them. They say that the love for each other within them manifests itself as a love for the school which facilitated the blossoming of that love. But in my case, that’s not entirely true. I mean, I do have friends from school, my best friend continues to be a Loyolite and I do share with each of my Loyolite friends, a very cordial relationship. But that’s it… just cordial. Not a ‘die for each other’ kind of friendship. On the other hand, college has gifted me with friends who are not just ‘friends’ but are really ‘FRIENDS’! I truly and honestly believe that my college friends would stand by me and help me more than most of my school friends in the event of a crisis in my life. Not that my Loyolite friends are bad people or insincere or selfish or anything, but that somehow I just didn’t strike as much a chord with them as I did with my college friends.

 

            “So, if it aint friendship, it must be the teachers”, says my friend and Loyolite ‘Hari’ on hearing my dilemma. Hmmm… True, Loyola teachers have always been a source of inspiration, support and confidence for me. Definitely one area where Loyola scores over CET, the teachers in school are simply GREAT! “You : Them” could be like “TVS Scooty : Suzuki Hayabusa” academically speaking and yet you could approach them at anytime, anywhere and anyhow and ask them whatever you want. Not just about studies but also about anything else that might affect the life of a 17 year old. Loyola teachers are simply mind-blowing in that respect. But then again that too was not my area. Even though I knew I could confide in my Loyola teachers, I never actually did. Knowing something is possible and actually doing it are a world apart. Here too, the blame may focus on me but still the fact remains that though I love my teachers very very much, that cannot be pointed out as a reason as to why I love Loyola.

 

            “Maybe it’s the administration”, the thought crosses my mind for just one second and I’m already thinking I must have gone mad for thinking so! This is definitely one area where I know I’m vindicated in my stand by most of my contemporary Loyolites. Fr. Varghese Anikuzhy has been the Principal of Loyola when I reached a ‘thinking age’ and he has continued to hold the same post till date. I do not want to criticize the policies and decisions of a person more than thrice my age but I can sure tell that I, for one person, surely did not approve of them. Though we were taught to think freely, the free thinking could go on only as long as it didn’t challenge the sometimes repressive policies adopted by the school management to ‘discipline children’. From banning school excursions and cancelling the second trips to crowding the school with ‘outsiders’ (I’m referring to the granting of admission to outsiders rather than our ‘home-boys’ in HSC 11th) and demeaning the school youth festival, I found fault in many actions of the school management. Surely then, I couldn’t love my school for its management! It would amount to blasphemy to even suggest the idea

 

            “The facilities in school perhaps?” True, Loyola had one of the biggest campuses among schools in Thiruvananthapuram atleast. And what more, that campus was surely the greenest in the city! Loyola was the only school where you could sneak out of classes and coax Fr. Vice Principal into opening the Audio-Visual room for you to watch a very belligerent Sachin Tenduikar whack the living daylights out of Shoaib Akthar in South Africa  or a blistering knock by one Mr. MS Dhoni to reach 189*. The computer lab with its 1KB-something RAM computers, the multimedia lab, the 2 BB courts and of course the 3 huge grounds! Truly, Loyola was a mammoth speaking facility-wise. (Mind you, I haven’t even mentioned LA Fest!) And now the mammoth has got bigger tusks implanted in the form of the largest (I hear) indoor stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. But do you love the mammoth simply for its size? I think not. All these facilities in Loyola might have played a great role in shaping me but honestly, anyone with money could do all this. There’s nothing ‘Loyolish’ in any of these (excluding LA Fest of course). It simply ain’t the facilities.

           

            “What else?”, I ask my confused brain. And then I get this idea to try and find the answer comparing by Loyola and CET. Something that is foolish to do, as both are entirely different, but still something that is do-able. As I pointed out earlier, I have closer friends in CET, I have the added pleasure of talking and interacting with girls (one thing Loyolites have experienced only limitedly), I have been given more respect as a student (atleast by the canteen staff, if not the teachers!) I have an entire 120 acre campus (20 times that of Loyola) to roam and of course I have stepped on to a bigger stage in CET. But inspite of all this, I love Loyola more than I love CET. I’d jokingly say to anyone, “Oh! CET!! Daey, we too are equally thara as you.” But about Loyola I’d always say, “We truly are a class apart!” The WE in Loyolites’ case has a higher meaning and a higher value than the WE in CET’s case. And it’s then that the answer strikes me.

 

            It’s now that I realize the truth. It’s not the friends, it’s not the teachers, it’s surely not the administration, and it’s not the facilities that make me love Loyola as I do. Relationships may wither with time, be it friends or teachers; facilities are just material things that may vanish faster than you can say “Earthquake!”  The reason is something else. It simply is the spirit in me… the Loyola spirit. Each one of us Loyolites may define ‘the Loyola spirit’ differently but it resides in all of us. And in spite of the numerous definitions we may have given it, the Loyola spirit has one common attribute – It makes you love Loyola. And that truly is what makes me proud to declare myself a Loyolite. That is what makes me a ‘loyoliteforlife’ as my yahoo ID spells out.

 

Cheer Loyola’s sons!

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June 14, 2007

Those Amazing Days…

Posted in Loyola at 6:02 pm by Krishnadev

I’m one of those guys who have been harbouring intentions to start a blog for a very very long time, but just didn’t find anything to write so much about. Even if I did find something, I just didn’t seem to have the patience to write down all my feelings about that particular topic. But, today after an enlightening talk with DP, I’ve decided that I AM going to do this… no matter what. Feeding the idea into my brain and fixing on it was just the first part for I began to wonder what to blog about. After all, you do have to have something to write about!! It is at that precise moment that I had this interesting bit of conversation with my friend Shivan,

Kichu: but I just dont get anything to write about so passionately
Kichu: u tell me some topic….
Shivan Nair: talk abt sthng that u dont wanna remember again
Shivan Nair: i know it sounds strange
Shivan Nair: but u will hav loads 2 talk abt sthng u wanna 4get
Kichu: hmm… okies

Talk about something you don’t want to remember? Why would I want to talk about it if I don’t even want to think about it? Anyway, I respect what he says as that, more often than not, tend to be the right thing to do. But again, it sure would be weird if I were to fill an entire blog with all the brickbats that have come my way. And then came this idea of writing about something has always filled me with hope, pride and inspiration… my school, Loyola.


Life in Loyola began quite early for me. One fine day in 1993, at the tender age of 5, I found myself in front of a teacher (I don’t quite remember who) who conducted some sort of preliminary test. Later, I’m told, I was interviewed by none other than Loyola’s very own Fr. Thayyil and Fr. Pulickal. Unfortunately, I remember the faces of neither of them. Obviously I must have passed the interview, for a few weeks later, I found myself in white and black stepping out of the school bus onto that lush, green campus.Honestly, I don’t remember much about my years in Upper KG but I do remember that the UKG classrooms then were to the left of the main school stage. Actually, the classrooms were just beside the toilets. (Smart indeed!!) Thinking of it now, I do remember an incident on the very first day of my life as a Loyolite. I was actually supposed to be in UKG-B division, but my best friend from nursery, Bhareth was in the A division. As I knew none of the kids there, who had an equally expressionless face as me, I went straight to the other division class and spent my whole day there. The fun of it is that, noone noticed it!! And mind you, I was no slim beauty. Apart from this, I remember this guy, Shanker… he had such neatly rolled rice balls for lunch every day. I still am quite amazed at how those things could be rolled into perfect spheres and made to retain their shape, even after the long and ‘perilous’ journey to school inside the school bag.

1 year went away quite quickly, or so it seems in retrospect. Before i knew it I found myself in Bhanumathi madam’s class… 1-B. Bhanumathi madam was one of those caring, yet strict kind of personalities. One moment she would be scolding you and the very next moment, she would be consoling you and telling you to forget what had happened and make sure it never happened again. The class itself was located in a new area. We had shifted to the Junior school. I do find it quite ironic that UKG was in Senior School and 1st in Junior School. The Junior School was something which epitomized the spirit of Loyola. The airy classrooms and the garden in the centre of the building, all were unique to this building. It was in first standard that someone (me to be precise) managed to upstage the genius of our class, Rakesh (who is in IIT Madras right now) for the first and last time, and walk away with the first rank. Of course, this was not because I got more marks than him. It was because he managed to fall sick on the day of some exam and miss it. 😀 Despite that, I did relish that first solid VICTORY I had in school. I went to the extent of thanking Rakesh for being absent. Come to think of it, Bhanumathi madam did mention that to my parents once during some PTA meeting. I wonder how she came to know of it. Rakesh told her, maybe. It was in the 1st that I got my hands on the yellow Class Leader badge. Though I was CL in UKG, we had no badge in UKG, probably owing to the fact that they ended up buying new badges every term. Let me tell you that that badge was one of my most prized possessions in those days. In fact, in that picture alongside, I’m the guy to the right of Bhanumathi madam, wearing the very same yellow badge.Elizabeth Madam’s 2-B came and went in a flash. Class Leader post, 2nd position in the exams (Nope, Rakesh never got sick again!), proficiency prize at the school day, regular quarrels with someone (anyone)… yup… 2-B was quite ordinary. In the junior school (1 to 4), all the classes were in this wide semicircular arc and so, we had a clear view of what was going on in the opposite class. I remember one particular incident when I was caught staring out of the class one day, by Elizabeth madam. A casual “Would you like to go join them, Krishnadev?” was enough to bring back my wandering mind to the Modern Oxford English Reader book lying in front of me. If Elizabeth madam was calm and cool, we had just the opposite the very next year. Shubha madam’s “I’ll skin you alive…” still sends shivers down my spine, though I never had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of that one. Of course, she was an awesome teacher… someone who understood you and guided you to the ‘right path’. Ranjini Madam’s 4-B had another attraction in it. I would be taught by Maithri ma’am, one person who had always captured my imagination. In fact, hers was the only Hindi class I EVER enjoyed.

One painful incident I remember involving the junior school is during the Junior School Leader elections in 4th. I was halfway through my speech and had just finished saying, “We are the cream of tomorrow’s India” when my mind went totally blank. I don’t quite remember why but I forgot the rest of the speech completely. Fr. M.M Thomas and Fr. Kuruvilla spared me the blushed and asked me to go back to the audience. I distinctly remember Kuruvilla father asking me my name, in an appreciative manner before asking me to go back. Needless to say, I never became Junior School Leader.

Again, in 4th, I still remember we had this slogan kinda thing, “Now we’re the seniors of the juniors, next year we’ll be the juniors of the seniors.” Sounds stupid, but does have quite a significance cos 5th standard was the year… The transition to the Senior school was one hell of a change. So long, we were in a remote corner of the school and got to meet our illustrious and celebrity seniors only during combined assemblies or other functions like the School Day. Even the Youth festival was separate for the Junior school. But, suddenly, we found ourselves where we started out. The 5th classes were just near the UKG classes, just that now we had benches and desks instead of those small green coloured chairs we had in UKG. We were now in the big league, in the company of the greats… our seniors who had demi-god like status there. In the 5th, we had an entire batch of new teachers teaching us. Starting from Gigi Devasee Sir, our Class Teacher to Bijo Sir (Phy) and another sir, about whom the only thing I remember is that he looked great in a red shirt he had. All of them lacked this mature and dignified aura that our teachers till now had, but they more than made up for that with their cheerfulness and their ‘let’s do’ attitude.

5th was the first class in which I never became a Class Leader, something that I had always cherished. From the 5th onwards, we Loyolites had come of age and were given voting rights. Class Leaders and Asst. leaders were chosen each term by means of vote. I never became a class leader again till the 9th.

5th was the year in which we had our first ugly incident in class… And it was pretty ugly. One of my classmates, whom I don’t wish to name, had a quarrel with the class teacher, which finally resulted in him pushing Gigi sir, who fell over the bench. Luckily, nothing happened to him and sir managed to keep the incident under wraps. Oh!! And how could I ever forget… We were shuffled for the first time since we joined school in the 5th. I went to the A Division.

Elizabeth madam’s 6th was rocking, to say the least. Absolutely amazing was the way she encouraged us to think independently and form our own ideas in life. She was the first person who encouraged us to think more. She was new to the school then, but she taught us to be Loyolites.

At this point of time, I notice that it’s not the first years in school that you forget as you grow… Rather it’s the ones in the middle. I remember nothing more of 7th and 8th than that we had English teachers at the helm both years. Mini Thomas madam was our class teacher in the 7th and the same post was held by Sonia Madam for the first half of 8th and by Shiela George madam in the latter half.

Ahh… wait… 8th had 2 other events of great significance… The first one is of course, as every Loyolite knows graduation from shorts to trousers. That was one transition I was quite happy to go through. Surely shorts weren’t suited for my.. well.. larger than average body. On the 1st day of 8th, as I came to the bus stop, Rakesh Chettan (School Leader 2004), on seeing me said, “There’s some difference… ah! you’re wearing pants now!!” That was one moment I felt proud. Don’t know why but I did feel proud to be wearing trousers.

The second significant event was the arrival of our very own Prabhu Sir as Chemistry teacher. He was… more of a friend than a teacher. With all his energy. enthusiasm and his… well… unconventional methods of teaching, Prabhu Sir was a true asset to the school as well as to the Loyolites. In him, we had a superb chemistry teacher as well as a great friend. I did have my odd moments with him but I still relish the memory of him. In his very first class in Loyola, he WOWed us with all the sublevel configurations and all of NaCl. Not to mention his phrase ‘Silly goose’ which I believe he gave up soon after some bloke went and told Princi about it… heh… Anyway, coming back to Prabhu sir, his trademark, as far as I’m concerned is his “DAEY THADIII” fashion of addressing me. I don’t know why but I DID like that somehow… He was quite a character in school. In everything he did, he left that unique trademark of his. Perhaps, his methods weren’t all that refined, but successful they were.. no doubts about that.Come 9th.. Come Shiela Madam… One of those moments which really stick with her image in my mind is the one where she held a photo of herself in front of Shakespeare’s house in Avon. She’s telling us about the photo and just then, Gemini stands up and asks, “Madam, is that your house?” That was quite a funny scene as I look back. 9th had Sindhu madam as our class teacher. Again, she was one of these friendly teachers in Loyola. A person who really warmed your heart as you stepped onto the school campus.


10th was easily the defining year of my life in Loyola. A lot… a LOT happened in 10th which has affected me deeply and changed my life a great deal. Many incidents which have hurt me a great deal, many which made me think on the person I had become, which made me change. First of all, I lost the Asst. School Leader elections, which left me hopeless and desperate. Then, I had this HUGE argument with Fr. Principal. Actually, it wasn’t a argument. Rather, it was me, shouting at him all the time. And the reason was nothing but a lot of misunderstandings and false accusations. Finally, it led to be getting suspended from the school for 5 days for ‘behaviour unbecoming of a Loyolite’. Unbecoming indeed… People saw this as a punishment for me. I too did then. I used to curse father for doing that to me. But now, as I write this, I realise what he did for me. I value what he did for me. I’m glad for what he did for me. I’m glad he suspended me. Contrary to what many others in my batch think I feel about him, I think Fr. Varghese is a great guy. Those 5 days were the most valuable days in my life. I learned a lot of lessons thanks to those 5 days. I learnt that my temper was going to get me into trouble sooner or later. I see him now and realise “That’s how a man should be”. He easily forgave me for all my sins and took me back into Loyola in the 11th even though I managed a miserable 85.5% in the ICSE boards. Even while suspending me from school, he made sure i wouldn’t lose my classes. All I lost was 2 rain-washed basketball matches and another game that Loyola lost pathetically. The feeling was quite something, but I guess it gave me a kind of rude awakening to the reality. For after that, I tried to change myself.

Another important aspect of 10th was we had Lekshmi teacher as the Class Teacher.She was one person I really warmed up to. She truly loved me and I reciprocated the feeling. She helped me out during that incident I mentioned earlier and gave me moral support throughout. She always remains one of the teachers I hold closest to my heart.

11th was the most enjoyable year out of the 13. Tuitions, girls, the best excursion ever, LAFest and of course… how can I ever forget… DP. In every aspect, 11th simply rocked!! Noone was bothered about the 12th boards or anything. It was all about partying all the time. If I were to be given a chance to relive any one year from my 13 years in Loyola, without hesitation I would choose the 11th. After all that happened in 10th, 11th was quite a change… a welcome one. Soon after school opened, I found myself bagging the post of Asst. Coordinator for LAFest. That was quite some achievement as far as I was concerned. And I was… no.. am still proud of it. The tuition places which came with 11th were the first places where I got my very first friends from the fairer sex. To be quite frank, it was quite a welcome change from the boys only life at Loyola. But again, that was Loyola life. That was what made it special. The other thing that made 11th so close to my heart is the best excursion we ever had. Bangalore, Mysore and Veega Land were simply not enough for us. I’m sure the poor guys at Hotel Presidency, where we stayed, still remember us. I guess those rooms still bear the scars of our visit. Heh…No account of the 11th and 12th in Loyola would be complete without any mention about the great lady…

Deepa Madam… DP… Finest teacher Loyola had… Greatest friend any Loyolite ever had… DP was is simply one amazing lady. I mean, we, 17 year olds were struggling to keep up with her. Such was her passion and the enthusiasm with which she did things. I guess she’s the one who truly completed our transformation from simple guys to true Loyolites. My only regret is that I never quite warmed upto her in school. It took me till after I left school to meet the great friend and confidante in her. Still, better late than never, as the saying goes…

 

My final year in Loyola was, well, eventful to say the least. The year started with a great disappointment as i lost out on the School Leader elections yet again. But again, the post of LAFest Coordinator did come as a consolation prize. LAFest was, as usual another event where we Loyolites showed others why we were WE and they were THEY. As a friend of mine put it ‘SIMPLY STUPENDOUS’ was the response. And we were loving all the attention. This was our board exam year and here we were having fun when others were neck deep in their textbooks. Something that happens here… only here… LAFest was a great success. All our hard work had paid off. Thinking back, I feel that I really f***ed up on my job as Coordinator that year. I was completely confused and didn’t know what to do. In the end, I completely messed it up. Still, fortunately my friend, Abhi was there, constant as ever, to ensure LAFest was a grand success. I did return to LAFest last year after I left Loyola and do that job once again in LAFest 2006. I did help out my juniors, partly to absolve myself of my sins in not doing my duties properly in LA Fest X. I do sincerely believe I cleared myself of that guilt with my contributions towards LAFest 2006.


Anway, before we dusted off the cobwebs from our textbooks came the Excursion. Of course, it was the last year and there was no way I was gonna miss it. Though we had just very few numbers, we did have an excursion and we did enjoy it. Youth Festival, School Day… everything came and went in a flash. And before we knew it, we were holding candles listening to our teachers bid us adieu. Everything that I had thought to be mine was being taken back. Painfully, I realized that I was going to be an ex-Loyolite. Those 2 simple letters before Loyolite make a whole world of a difference. Atleast it did for me. Loyola wasn’t just a home away from home for me. It was my true home. I would say the place where I live is the home away from home. Unfortunately, time and fate are not to be messed with. The board exams came, went. And with the board exams, 13 years of life in Loyola came to an end.
I think I cried on our farewell day.

Now, as I think of it, though my life in Loyola may have ended, the life of Loyola in me has not ended. And as long as that life remains in me, I guess I can proudly say, “I AM a Loyolite” People from college always ask me why I still keep this email ID ‘loyoliteforlife‘. Well, it’s because I AM one. I AM a Loyolite for life. That’s what I’m proud of… That’s what I want others to know I am. That’s what I believe defines me. Many say, “You’re in college now. Why do you cling on to your school?” They ask me, “How come you’re so foolish to cling on to your past?” They ask me this because they don’t have even the slightest idea of what Loyola is and what life in Loyola is. I’m just another inspired fool who’s in love with his school but my words, I believe, speak for every Loyolite. We all… All of us who’ve had the privilege to pass out of this great institution must at some point look back at all this and say, “Wow.. Those Amazing Days…”

Cheer Loyola’s Sons…