A meeting of a lifetime

A meeting of a lifetime

It was towards the end of 1961 (sometime in September or October) that our school, St Joseph’s Indian High School, took us on a trip to North India. In the 14 or 15 days we were there, we had a chance to explore Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. We stayed at Jesuit schools everywhere we went and slept in classrooms.

I was the youngest in the group — I was in 6th standard and the only one from my class who opted to go — but that didn’t stop me from making memories that would always stay with me. At the time, Bengaluru was a small city and none of us had been to Delhi before. We lived sheltered lives so it was exhilarating to go on this trip. I wanted to see the world outside and a bigger picture. But it was a long journey that took us three days by train. We also had to lug our bedding around with us. As I was the youngest and had a tough time with that, the elders would help me.

What made my school different from the rest was its nature to think ahead — we had people from different religions and economic backgrounds coming together on one stage.

We didn’t differentiate between each other and this gave us a good base to understand society and its problems. This trip and the school shaped our future. They made me who I am today.

Some of the stops we made on this trip were at Raj Ghat, Qutub Minar, Red Fort and  Parliament building. We’d wake up early, go for a run, have breakfast and go sightseeing. The most memorable visit was when we went to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s house. We were the post-Independence born children so he asked us about our vision for the country, what we wanted to do in the future and whether we give enough importance to our studies. This meeting with him shaped us and our general outlook on life.

Nehru, at the time, was in the seat of power and the epitome of idealism. It was amazing meeting him and we too began thinking about the problems in India, diversity, religion, caste and ethnicity. We realised that it takes great strength to control such things. And unlike the leaders of today, he was loved by all.   

Those days, Bengaluru was different. There weren’t any cars on the roads and everyone had cycles. We’d travel from home to school and stayed within the Cantonment region. School had a 45 minute lunch break so I’d cycle back home (Gandhinagar), have lunch and head to school again.

After school, I’d head to British Council, which was above Koshy’s then, and go back home in the night. We had steady morals that we picked up from experiences. These days, there is a sense of uncertainty and different morals. If this continues, society will get fractured. The innocence of life has gone.

Dilip Shah

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry