It has been 3 days and the feeling is still not sinking in. It all started a few months ago when I dismissed a FB event invite as “just another one”. But I soon realized that I was wrong. It was more than just an event. It was an attempt to give back to our school, our Alma Mater the best gift we can. And as more and more students started joining hands, it was no more just a Guinness World Record attempt.
Fast forward to the D Day. The date read 17th December 2016. The day when all the roads in Belgaum were leading to St.Paul’s High School. The huge advertisement boards en-route to the school added to the already brimming enthusiasm. The whatsapp group of my school friends was buzzing without a pause. The entire thought of entering the school premises with your friends was pushing me to keep up car’s acceleration. As I entered the Camp area, the place already looked busy. There were vehicles parked all around the school and I could see people dressed in white and blue(which was the dress code for the event). Thanks to the meticulous planning and information sharing by the organizers I exactly knew which was the counter where I had to register myself. After a quick review of my identity proof documents I was all set with my tag/wrist band and just when I turned back; I could see two of classmates! The party had begun!
There were two sections of the event which had quite an impact on me. The first was the St.Paul’s High School Museum which was set up in our school hall. There were so many amazing facts about our school which I was totally unaware of. I would like to quote some of them here
– One of the earliest buildings of the school was an L shaped building which made way to the current office building a.k.a the Centenary Building. That is one level above history! 🙂
– The first batch to matriculate out of St.Paul’s High School in 1915-16 had 7 students appearing out of which 5 passed. Among these 5 was Ms.Mary D’silva who till date remains the only girl to have matriculated from SPHS.
After the walk to the museum we could see the various huddles growing bigger and bigger. The real re-union was at its peak when I met my classmates after a gap of 12 years! Was able to recognize most of them and as we started conversing, I was soon able to see a noticeable change in my demeanor. The voice-tone, the topics, “the SPHS dialect” as I can say; was back and in full flow. I am sure many others would have also experienced this. We started re-collecting those “legendary” incidents which are still etched in our minds. And yes there were numerous bursts of laughter too as we re-analyzed some of the incidents for the umpteenth time. Then came the moment for which we were all waiting for. The record attempt! We were placed in rows of 50 and were introduced to the stewards who were responsible for official counting and then the auditors who were the stamping authority for the numbers. Soon came the best moment, one that all the 3638 people will remember for the rest of their lives. The highly revered school bell rang(in its traditional style) and we were all called upon to sing the school anthem. Imagine, the largest ever gathering of a school community, which included of past students, present & past teaching faculty; singing the school anthem in chorus. I must say personally for me it was quite an emotional moment. History was being written and who better than the school buildings(which are historic themselves) were witnesses to this grand moment. And soon after a brief “se blotirr” meeting with our beloved teachers we were waiting with bated breath for “the” announcement. And yes it was official that our attempt was successful and the world record had been broken. It was a collective team effort from Paulites that had made this possible. Celebrations had begun! And they will be remembered for a long long time!
As I crawled back home that evening, I kept wondering what was it that made this an unforgettable experience; Was it the breaking of the world record? Was it reliving of school time memories with old friends? Was it meeting the gurus who molded us into individuals we are today? Or was it the “boy” in each one of us that which sprang out to perform the favorite school-time celebratory song-dance? Words fail here.