More than 20 years ago, in the classrooms of St Xavier’s School here, they learnt valuable lessons that shaped their future.
On Saturday, the class of 1986 — now all grown up and leading successful lives — gave a little back, to make the future of those who taught them a little brighter.
They raised Rs 2.2 crore, which they presented to their teachers at their old school on Saturday —
Children’s Day. They said the money would ensure their teachers didn’t struggle for their day-to-day needs and medical expenses.
“I got only Rs 2.2 lakh as retirement benefit. I get a family pension of Rs 319 a month,” said Shushil Sarkar (72), who taught English, geography, history and mathematics between 1968 and 1997. “This gratefulness is wonderful. They have brought a ray of hope in our lives.”
“In the words of Charles Lamb, you are our dream children,” said A. Samajpati (66), who taught Bengali.
The alumni planned for this day for over a year. Ratul Ray, former student and now vice-president and chief marketing officer of Telenor (Unitech Wireless Ltd), explained: “We all hold steady and, may I add,
high-paying jobs. But every Thursday, for the past year, this core group spread across Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, the UK and US dropped everything and got hooked to a one-hour conference call.”
Dr Biswaroop Mukherjee, consultant prosthodontist (reconstructive dentistry) said he owed his career to Amit Tripathi, his biology teacher. “I failed biology in Class VI. Without making me realise I needed help, Tripathi sir gave me extra classes, didn’t charge me and ensured I got interested in the subject. From then on, I never got below 90 per cent and ended up a doctor.”
The alumni worked hard to trace their teachers. “Apart from getting in touch with batch-mates and raising funds, we had to trace our teachers, many of whom live in other states and even in other parts of the world. We invited everybody individually,” said Arup Ratan Mitra.