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Round about: Back to school in beautiful Shillong, it’s yesterday once more

My schooling had been a roller coaster ride as in eleven years I changed 12 different schools. But it was at age 14 in Loreto Convent, Shillong, that everything changed for the better: even my grades.

columns Updated: May 27, 2018 10:28 IST
Nirupama Dutt
Nirupama Dutt
Hindustan Times
Round about,Back to school,Loreto Convent
The writer and her batch mates in ‘class’ while revisiting Loreto Convent, Shillong.(HT Photo)

One often wants to do the impossible like returning to childhood, innocence, the high school classroom, the first crush, the city left behind and so on. Call it nostalgia or the urge to go back to more joyous days of the past when life had just begun.

But this rarely happens. However, I did it all in just three days with over 50 batch mates of three prominent schools of a charming hill town. Many of the people I met had travelled from different places not just in the country but from abroad too.

The brave boys and girls of the 1971 batch, some young at 63 and others still going on 63, managed to assemble for the reunion. Some came alone, others with spouses and children with a spring in their steps and a song in their hearts. We had couples from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Alabama too!

My schooling had virtually been a roller coaster ride as in those eleven years I changed 12 different schools: Just to name a few, Senior Model and Carmel Convent in home town Chandigarh, Mater Dei in Delhi, Notre Dame in Patna, St Mary’s in Mhow and so on. But it was at age 14 in Loreto Convent, Shillong, that everything changed for the better: even my grades.

Those were exciting teens in the city of dreams, with its fetes and school socials and Sister Christopher instructing us to ensure there was space left for a sheet of paper to pass through when we danced to slow numbers with the boys. She was definitely joking then, or so we believed.

So we gathered this time for the first gala evening at the Tripura Palace Heritage Club on the third Saturday of May, the boys and girls of St Edmunds College, Loreto Convent and Pinemount School, shaking a leg to the hit numbers of the seventies: Country Roads, Those Were The Days, Let It Be and Yesterday Once More. We were back in cosmopolitan Shillong represented by people of different faiths, ethnicity and cultures together in celebration of life. This when each one had gone through the vagaries of time.

However, where one found yesterday once more translated best was in the school visits. As we Loreto Convent girls went back to school after decades, very dignified, the years faded away and soon we were back to being young, rowdy kids the moment Sister Mercie showed us in and left us to wander about.

The first thing we did was run up the staircase once forbidden to us as it was then meant only for the faculty. One of us found the school bell and rang it loudly. Finally, when we were inside the room at had been our Class 11, we were raising our hands and answering questions asked by an imaginary teacher.

What a ruckus there was.

After playing school-school, it was time to leave. This was the hardest of all. But suddenly we were all composed and managed to hold back the tears that we had copiously shed 47 years ago when it was time to move from its safe environs to the unknown adult life that beckoned us.

But we had come here again to mumble a thanksgiving in our own spontaneous manner.

First Published: May 27, 2018 10:28 IST