Held together by one institution

Held together by one institution

Remarkable reunion

As part of the celebrations, Rupert T Meneaud, a World War II veteran of the Royal Air Force; fireman of the Indian Railways and also a Baldwinian, was also felicitated by one and all.

The event had Baldwinians from various states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra coming to be a part of it.

If that was not all, there were old students from the United Kingdom and Singapore as well. And all those who could not be a part of the show could view the entire event as it was being shown on a web page. Goverdhen, an alumni of the 1976 batch, was one of the main coordinators of this webcast. “Old students from different parts of the world are coming online to be a part of this event,” he gushed. “The objective of the reunion is to bond,” he added.

Nirmala George, the president of the alumni of the girls’ school, was delighted to organise an event like this. “This reunion has been happening since 2003. I have always been a committee member of the alumni but last year, I became the president,” she said. As a retired teacher from Baldwins, Nirmala said she is always excited to meet her old students. “It’s just wonderful to see the school holding the students together, irrespective of which class or batch they belong to,” she added.

Shakeel, who has been the president of the boys’ school alumni for 12 years, said, “The reunion had always been happening in the schools. However, in 1998, we decided to take it out of school.”

Rupert, who had studied in the Baldwin Boys School in the 1930s and 1940s, was the oldest Baldwinian of the evening. A strong man in his 80s with unmatched energy, Rupert had many wonderful stories to tell. “I entered school in 1934 as a boarder with four of my brothers. There were just 12 of us in my class and most of the day scholars would come walking to school as there was no traffic at all,” he quipped.

Speaking of his free time during school, he said, “My friends and I used to hire cycles for three paise an hour and go to Anand Bhavan on OPH Road near Shivajinagar.” He described his brothers and friends as “hungry boys”.

“The food was limited and we used to be a group of hungry boys. So after class, we would buy 12 vadas for one anna from an Arabic lady,” he laughed. “She used to sit outside school, right behind Johnson Market,” he added. On being asked about the difference in the quality of education between then and now, he said, “Discipline was a priority at that time and all the children were treated equally. We were taught to polish our shoes, make our beds and clean our utensils.”

The formal part of the show started with a prayer. The teachers of the schools were honoured and both the school songs were sung enthusiastically by all the ex-students. Candles were lit and the chief guest of the evening, M Chandrasekhar, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (East), presented Rupert with a wooden plaque. Once the formal function was over, the old Baldwinians took part in a number of games and fun activities and relived their good old days, once again!