“Nothing is permanant except change”, said some long lost soul.
“Change is always for the better”, commented another. But do YOU agree?
This is what came to my mind when during a crisis in an assembly , School leader Aravind A. Menon asked me and Vineeth to speak about anything , but just speak, for we otherwise faced the shortest assembly in school history. And so it was that Vineeth and me penned down in ten minutes what we remember had changed during our thirteen year tenure in this place. Jotted down below are what i still remember from that speech. Thinking that long back i feel that the modern day Ruskin Bond will lament – “Nostalgia comes quick when one is seventeen” rather than
fourty. (I believe that my friend Vineeth has already wrote a bit about this on his diary, but i daresay that you will find this rather rich in details when compared.)
I think that our batch was the one which witnessed more changes in the school than any other. Perhaps the most noticeble change we had itnessed was there standing to the right of us as we faced the audience. Yes. The new junior school building. The old Baker model boomrang shaped building had been pulled down a couple of years ago. In its place now stands a three story giant,build not so Baker style, but to accomodate the increasing number of students as Loyola expanded into one more syllabus. I guess that is a point to explain.
Yes, now we have CBSE too in the school. We have not expanded CBSE into the 11th and 12th yet. And if any of the REALLY old boys are reading this, in case you don’t know, we got HSC into 11th and 12th pretty long ago.
Turning around you see the new auditorium which is set to take over from the Sutter Hall. The building should not be described by any other word than “COLLOSSAL”. The structure, which took up almost all the land which was once called the “forest”, costs an estimated fourty million and is expected to be finished in time for the next LA Fest(heck. it
was expected to be finished for the last one too.) They are supposed to be spending around sixty lakhs for just the acoustics. The hall will have a capacity of around six thousand and will be like the biggest ever in Kerala. At least thats what i heard. Inside you have a main BasketBall court and a practise court to the sides. (Hehe, if Jian and gang are reading this im sure they are raring to have a go). Last term i took a walk through the new building and could not find my exit. I mean i really got lost in the framework. From what i saw that day, the stage itself could seat the audience that the loft of the Sutter hall accomodates. There are also green rooms under the stage and a generater room.Yep, the hall has generators to fully power its own systems.But whatever the new hall promises, i- like most of my seniors and classmates- do think that this one will never truely be a replacement for the legend of the Frank Sutter memorial. I feel that no LA Fest audience will enjoy the same atmosphere as the one you get in the packed Sutter hall. As Deepa ma’am says every now and again- The Sutter hall has been a main reason for the success of the LA Fest’s.
By the way, this used to be the old junior school play ground. And as y ou see now all there is , is a big hole. The earth there has been dug out for the construction work. This is what is left of the place where i had my first fight(Thanks to Akhil Andrews:D ). This is where i spent countless hours on the slide and the swings. Sigh:(. Anyway …the junior school park has been shifted to around the old Pandit house(You know- that old place was also called the DRACULA HOUSE 😀 ). You really need to see that place. Its fantabulous with a really big cement Noah’s ark and all. One more reason to re-visit the school, eh?
When i was in the 6th standard, we had three grounds each big enough to accomodate the school population by itself. But as time passed the population has grown a bit but the grounds have not. Well to be frank we are short of the place which has been used to construct what is supposed to be.. eerr the largest auditorium in Kerala. And if any of
you old Pele’s or Maradona’s of Loyola are out there, be aware that now you cannot play football in that ground with the same rules you used to play when you were here for the crowd chokes the life out of you. Now i think its time to introduce the pick-it-up-in-your-hand-and-run rule.
Ye, this is from the place where we had the GOALIE-CHANGE. And as i visited the school in this summer i took some pictures of the new concrete benches that have come up here and there in the campus, like in front of the canteen and near the mud basketball court.
The examination hall(If anyone of you don’t remmeber it, it was the long room on the second story to the left of the school day stage), has been bricked up into three sections and now surve as classes four five and six of the ISC section. The Berchman’s hall has fortunatly undergone less drastic a change. It also has been divided into three classrooms, but with steel barriers which can be pushed back to reveal the
old Berchman’s hall. Another of our large halls, the Library has mostly remained the same, excpet that it has already seen two new Librarians and also Lazar uncle has hired some muscle to help control the chaos.(I mean, we have another new uncle there helping him.)
When i was in fourth standard i remember that(Pardon me if im wrong- It sure has been long) the COMPUTER LAB at that time was a room to the right of the office. It had like two or three abacus machines.. er i mean computer’s which mostly sat around watching each other. That room
is currently used as the retiring room which im sure that every students in my class has used at least once in pretense of being sick, as a means to escape some gruelsome chemistry classes. And as for the computer lab, now we have an air conditioned room with around fifty computers as
the main lab and a secondary one between it and the server room. The server room boasts the presence of an IBM server, three heavy duty UPS’s and of course the ever enlightening vision called Shijo sir and his deputy Saajan uncle(For those who don’t know this new character, he is the
son of our dear Varghese uncle who left school two years back, although there are general complaints that Saajan uncle does not show ANY of the qualities that made his father dear to many a Loyolite.) Loyola now also boasts of a fully air conditioned projector room fit to seat two hundered students. Most of the talks are held in that room. We met Fr C.P. Varkey in the same hall.(Picture shown above).
THE ASSEMBLY STEPS.
This is the only place in Trivandrum where students in a school actually sit for an assembly. I have heard of all those people who stand for hours at their school assemblies. We are truely blessed with these steps. And recently the steps have been renovated as in they have been covered with red and white tiles. The work finished 2 days before our farewell. (SIGH.)
This place is perhaps one of the most popular parts of the school. I’m sure all of you reading this is now thinking of the icecream soda. This is like the only place where you get to drink that concoction that Uncle Joseph and co brew up. I always wondered how they make it, but who cares- it tastes good.The canteen once ruled by Abdul uncle has now passed on to Lazar uncle and co. The benches you see there were installed one week before the date on this article.
MORE THAN JUST HUMANS…
When i joined Loyola back in ninty four, what fascinated me more than anything else in the campus, lived in a cage under the stairs, feeding on the mice that our dear Abdul uncle used to give it. Yes. KAA the python.(For those who are reading about Loyola the 1st time, HELL YEAH, WE HAD A PYTHON!!)The serpant once caught from the forest areas of the school at length of six feet grew upto around ten, but as of now, is no more. It’s place has been taken up by chirpy little birds and bunnies. The tank in front of the building has been renovated and plays host to a variety of aquatic life. The oval shaped lawn right in front of it has been covered up and converted into a sanctuary for birds and rabbits. And i realise now that as i do write about the python now; thirteen years hence, so shall the current UKG kids write about how they fed the rabbits living in those cages.
AND PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT- THE TEACHERS
Thinking about the staff, i think i will have to start from my kintergarten years. In UKG i had Ann ma’am as my class teacher. She left when i was in 2nd but now is back in school teaching 2nd standard kids. I guess im glad that shes back. when i met her, i told her how i remember her once telling me 13 years back that she will put a ribbon in my hair if i didn’t get it cut. Nancy Ma’am was my favourite teacher in the junior school. She also has left us to spend the remaining of her time with her family.Comming to some of the teachers you old blokes would remember, there was Thikkurishi sir and Sadashivan sir,(neither taught me) both of whom have retired long back to live in peace away from the little devils they taught. Rajamma ma’am, the oh so loved hindi teacher
moved away from school when i was in the fifth. Ponnnamma ma’am (another one who never taught me) also left the same year. Comming to the seventh, i witnessed one of the greatest mournings the school has seen as Geetha Lakshmi ma’am- arguably one of the most loved teachers of all times- left the school to join her family abroad. She got so many parting gifts from her students that she had to hire an auto to take them home.
That year also saw the parting of two of the most talked off teachers from the senior school gents staff. Jacob Mathew sir, i hear, is so proud of his nickname that his mail id reads firstname.lastname@example.org. The next year bid farewell to Titus sir, another one in the most loved list. He at present, is continuing his work as a principal in some school whose name alas i forgot.
The same year bade farewell to Mrs Saraswati who had long been Mrs Maths in the school, and also to Mr C.T. Varkey, who had been our Physical educations in charge and whose comments have been widely quoted and misquoted to the amusement of many. Remember “I declare the 43rd annual chief guest open ?”.Hehe Just Classic. I will miss the classic dialogue he used to say every year at the march past practise when we got up from the ground. “BOYS. When you get up; Dont wipe your buttocks”. But the most ridiculous one i heard was from a rather OLD old boy(though he claims otherwise)-Mr G.Mahadevan. According to what he had heard, once
Varkey sir marched up to the officer in charge at the NCC camp along with the Flight sergant and requested “Sir, i want to exchange him for a pair of boots”.
Though they wern’t here as long as the others, Prabhu sir and Anil sir(Who took over from Mr. C.T Varkey as PeT) also entered the list of the most loved teachers. Currently Prabhu sir works at Gurukul in Pune. And Anil sir has gone back to Delhi. We will miss them. Radha ma’am- who happens to be one of the most patient people i have ever met- inspite of being offered an extended term, choose to retire siting the need to take care of her health. Shubha ma’am who was rather strict with the students now stays at her home behind St. Micheals. Though they too never taught me i have faint memories of Sara ma’am,who according to senior Subin George was “as kind as ur mother”. I met her again at last years school day.
Elikutty ma’am left our school after one of the longest teaching careers ever. She is still very active in the field and i see her around ocassionally here and there. She too never taught me but is kind of well known to my family. The old librarian Susheela madam has gone on with her life too. After her came three more librarians. VC Jacob sir too is not part of the staff at present.
[I apologise if i failed to mention an important teacher in the list. I hope you understand that it was un-intentional]
[Interesting fact:- Our batch had three class teachers in 7th- like one left every term. The one who taught us in 8th left that year itself. The one in 9th also lasted one year. The classteacher in 10th was a bit better off because she stayed till we were in 11th. 11th standard too witnessed another class teacher leaving. and in 12th DP was our classteacher. The question does arise.. dont you think……Heh lets wait and see.]
THE NON TEACHING STAFF.
The loving uncles who always welcome you into the school bus, who you see comming with the attendance register every morning, who are always around the office waiting to mend you if you fall down and scrap your knee, they who play a really important part in making life at
Loyola really special are never to be forgotten in any writeup on the school. The ones who left include Varghese uncle- perhaps the most loved of them all- and Rajappan uncle. Varghese uncle has moved on to serve another set of children at Trivandrum International school.( MAN IM
JEALOUS OF THEM. HE WAS MY FAVOURITE.). Whereas i see Rajappan uncle around once in a while running around with his job as an LIC agent.
AND NOW LETS TURN THE LEAF OVER.
So, no that we have seen what has changed during the past decade, now let us see what has not. What is it that is still left of the Loyola that stood up and shone with the aura none could compete with?
Perhaps the most important of the lot are again the teachers. But before i mention them there are two figures who stand out from the rest of the staff. Fr Varghese Anikuzhy is about to complete his 6th continuous year at Loyola .
The other person without doubt is the most popular person on campus and yes it is of course father Joseph Edassery. He still heads the LOBA and still serves as the bank for LA Fest(Although the author seriously doubts the credibility of this statement after he made quite a story by putting the Fest in debt- He owes VP a sum of 12,000 Rs;) )
The Teachers who remain from the old days are few. They are namely Mrs Grace Kuriacose teaching the 1st standard, the ever cheerful Merl Murray ma’am (whose handwritting most Loyolites copy down for life) is still teaching running hand in the 2nd, Mythri ma’am, Mrs Elien Job, Mrs Ranjini and OH MY GOD.. HOW DID I FORGET .. THE EVER VIBRANT FR M.M. THOMAS.
He has been here in Loyola as far as many old boys’ memories go back. I don’t think i’ve met a Loyolite who does not know father Thomas. Even at this ripe age, going into the eighties, you can see him going for a walk around the school if you stay around a bit after 2nd trip. Memories of his pinches still make me go OWWW.
In the senior school staff we can still see Joy Sir, Philipose sir, the unforgettable Thomaskutty sir and perhaps the most memorable of them all – Jerry sir, ruling the gents staffroom with his witty remarks. In the ladies staff i think only DP has been here since a decade ago and perhaps Ann ma’am. Alas, it has not been the same since the rest left.
As my good friend and junior Peter Gautam remarked about him, he is the unsung hero of Loyola, he is perhaps the most in-demand person in the campus, if you ask the students. No tribute to Loyola would be complete without a special place to mark his name. Yes, the man that everyone runs to as soon as the lunch break bell rings. JOSE UNCLE!!!. He has been the keeper of keys and games at Loyola for aeons. Surly its tough to manage this many students mobbing him to open the sports room. I don’t think anyone can easily take on that job if he left, for we often see many of the other staff really struggling to control the situation if Jose uncle takes one day off. This paragraph i dedicate as a testimonial for that
The man who from sheer experience,has a solution to perhaps every problem on the planet is still here in our little heaven. Yep you guessed it from that simple sentence and now i can assume that you are reminded of the smell of parottas and beef/peas/chicken whichever you prefer. Joseph uncle still is the seniormost of the nonteaching staff. No activity in this school can be predicted to really go off well without this iron hand behind the scenes.Talking of him reminds us of something else that you people would remember. Joseph uncle , it has been claimed, has been selling the SAME parattas for the past thirty years. (THERE IS NOT MISTAKE IN THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE.
THE AUTHOR SPEAKS FROM EXPERIENCE)
Oh by the way, the oh-so-droolable icecream soda left the canteen when i was in 2nd standard and now is back with more water, less carbon dioxide and more strain on your pockets.And now realising the collossal length of this writing, i think i will wind it up for i have no intention to challenge the new auditorium in size.The Facts are before you. Has Loyola changed ? Is it something you like about it? Is it something you don’t ? Is it for good or is it for the wort? Do reply and let me know. Cheer Loyola sons.
Oh and, Respected father principal, father vice
principal, respected teachers and my dear friends……………..THIS..
That was how we winded up that speech 😉
The author would like to express his heartfelt gratitute towards his senior Subin George for helping to obtain some of the pictures put up here and also for reading through the post and suggesting some tips. The author is also grateful to Prasanth P, again his senior, for helping with the pictures and providing him with tips on editing them. Thank you.
[THE AUTHOR HOPES TO PUT UP A FULL REPORT ON THE RETIRED TEACHING AND NON TEACHING STAFF, THEIR CURRENT WHEREABOUTS AND CONTACT DETAILS AS SOON AS HE CAN GET HOLD OF THEIR PICTURES AND THE SAID DETAILS. IF ANYONE CAN HELP WITH THAT PLEASE MAIL THOSE TO GETMESYAM@GMAIL.COM THANK YOU ]