Speaking of my school days, you will find a number of posts of my life as a school boy in my old blog, “Looking At Life”. I don’t use that much anymore, having consolidated all my writing and blogging work in this website/blog.
A few recent events flooded my mind with many memories of my days at School. For us ” School” meant The Lawrence School, Lovedale, where I studied from 1959 to 1967.
The first was the recent passing away of Mr N S Selvapackiam. The second was the return to Facebook of Mr V M Mohanraj. The third was, in these days of Covid19 and Lockdown, the creation of an on-line Virtual School Assembly by some enthusiastic Old Lawrencians like Kartik Raghava Murty and Gul Panag.
In these difficult times, when one is bombarded 24 x 7 with figures of those afflicted with Covid19, and stories of Lockdowns and much worse, some enthusiastic Old Lawrencians (OLs) organized a Virtual School Assembly . In this, one logs in using Facebook or You Tube. There have been two of them so far and both were highly entertaining. I know that Kartik Raghava Murty and Gul Panag were key amongst the organizers. There must be others I am unaware of. I seek their pardon for not mentioning their names.
I was sad to hear about Selva’s demise. He joined School in 1963 as a junior PT Instructor from the Madras Regimental Centre at Wellington. He belonged to the Madras Regiment and was, if I am not mistaken, a Lance Naik at that time. He was a fearsome fast bowler and the sight of this strapping six footer with his long run up put the fear of God in opposing batsman. To cap it all, the dangling cross on his dark chest reminded us of the legendary West Indian Wes Hall, a top fast bowler of those times! He was equally skilled in football and hockey. Indeed, he had in his younger days led MRC to victory over supposedly far superior teams from West Bengal in the prestigious Durand Cup.
Selva was a gentle giant. The huge amount of respect showed to him and the many tributes showered on him recently show how much he was loved by the students. He served Lovedale for more than 30 years retiring as Physical Education Director in the 1990s. May his soul Rest In Peace! My class mate Ramesh Venkateswaran, a former Headmaster of the School, led us Old Lawrencians in this tribute to Selva recently.
A post in Facebook told us that Mr V M Mohanraj was back in action! Many Old Lawrencian (OLs) owe their interest in reading largely to Mr Mohanraj who spent pretty much his whole career at Lovedale as the Librarian. I think he was there from 1959 to 1989!
He was the one who was instrumental in pointing us gently towards good writing. I am sure there are thousands like me, who think of old Mohanraj whenever our eyes light up on seeing a new book we would love to read!! He now lives in the United States and is active in pursuing his interests in reading and writing. He could well be in his late 80s now – but that’s my guess.
The news around the world is not quite pleasing- mainly because of the rampaging Covid 19 pandemic. As I write this, I understand that over 432, 000 people have lost their lives and 7.82 million people in 213 countries have been struck by this disease that emerged out of China late in 2019. There is no quick end in sight.
But we must and shall prevail. After all, the motto of the old School was, is, and will continue to be, ” Never Give In.!”