“Glimpses” features in the OL Assembly

I must congratulate the Old Lawrencians Association, (OLA) the alumni association of my alma mater, The Lawrence School, Lovedale for their new initiatives. One of them is called the OL Assembly. You will remember from your schooldays that the morning Assembly was an integral part of school life. Here, the OL Assembly is positioned as a Variety Entertainment of sorts and features hymn singing, interesting features relating to the school and its alumni, etc.

In the recent edition of OL Assembly, held on November 14, we the OLs who contributed towards the writing of “Glimpses of a Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale” were pleased to feature in a video made for the occasion. This describes the genesis of the writing of this book. You can see the OL Assembly-7 of November 14, 2020 in the OLA’s YouTube Channel.

For those who may not know about the book, I had spent the better part of 2015 to 2017 editing this book which covers the history of The Lawrence School, Lovedale from 1858 to 2008. The 150 years are divided into 3 books which reside in the website of the Old Lawrencians Association.

Should you be interested, you will find the links to access these books in my blog post of August 21, 2020.

The future editions of the OL Assembly, which are held on the second Saturday of every month, will have more about “Glimpses” in them.

I hope you will watch future editions of the OL Assembly on the OLA You Tube channel.

Remembering Mr Gupta!

A subject that I dreaded in School was Hindi. Perhaps it was more my fault than that of my teachers. To start with I could not understand , for example, why a chair was of the feminine gender and cloth was of the masculine gender. It was not surprising that I struggled all through School!

Mr Ganesh Prasad Gupta, known far and wide as “Gupu” was one of our Hindi teachers at The Lawrence School, Lovedale. He could pack a punch and I write with considerable personal experience in this matter. This was, of course, long before the days when corporal punishment was frowned upon. Masters could- and frequently did- slap us to put some sense in us. Whether they succeeded or not is highly debatable!

For reasons best known to himself, Gupu used the phrase, ” steady slap” as against the more common, “tight slap.” He once asked us to write an essay on ” Urban vs Rural” expecting us to write about the differences in outlook, facilities, economies etc. He was a sticker for exactitude. If he expected 1000 words, by God that’s exactly what he accepted. 999 was not good enough. You had to pass the magical 1000 mark.

I was on 950 words or so and the clock was ticking. We had to hand in our papers soon. To cross the much wanted finish line, from out of the blue, I made the Town Guy say, ( in rudimentary Hindi, of course! ) : ” Hey, look at that guy! ” To which the Village Guy asked, ” Where? Which guy? ” Town guy, ” There, there! ” Village Guy, ” Just look at him, ha ha!! ” Town Guy: ” Yes, look, look, ha, ha ha,” There was more along these lines and the essay finished well past 1000 words.

Over 55 years have gone by but I still remember the walloping I got from Mr Gupta, much to the amusement of my classmates. They howled with laughter when he read out the last few paragraphs to highlight how an essay should NOT be written.

Mr Gupta perhaps prided himself on being a stickler for grammar as he would ( for reasons best known to himself) start with the future tense. ” Bewakoof ladka! You need a steady slap!” This was fair warning for fellows like me as to what was coming in the very near future. He shifted then, more hurriedly, to the present tense, ” I will give you a steady slap now.” That was the signal for me to take a deep breath and brace body and soul for what was imminent. Whack! There came the steady slap! Your head reeled and you could actually count the stars. Then seemingly in the distance you could hear Mr Gupta, as correct as always, summarize recent events with his customary, ” I gave you a steady slap!!!” As if you couldn’t make that out!!!

Sadly, Mr Gupta is no more. Wherever he is, if he could, I am sure he would have a chuckle on reading how his ” steady slap” – if not the Hindi he taught- is remembered even after five and a half decades.

“Glimpses of a Glorious Past”: Revised Links

The first mention of “Glimpses of a Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale” was made in this blog on June 10, 2017. This was a writing/editing project I was very much involved in as The Lawrence School, Lovedale has a place deep in my heart. I studied there for nine years from 1959 to 1967.

The book covers a period of 150 years in the history of the School from the time it was founded in 1858 till it completed 150 years in 2008. It was officially released during Founder’s in May 2017 by then OLA President, Rukhmini Reddy Krishnan. Since then it resides in the website of The Old Lawrencians Association (OLA).

Recently we updated the short URLs for the various volumes that make up the book. Here are these short URLs:-

1. Book 1 (1858-1907)             https://bit.ly/3kQZV06

2. Book 2 ( 1908-1958)              https://bit.ly/3kVJkbQ

3. Book 3 ( 1959-2008 ) Part I     https://bit.ly/3fXpMju

4. Book 3 ( 1959-2008) Part II     https://bit.ly/3kVJkbQ

5. Book 3 ( 1959-2008) Part III.    https://bit.ly/2PV6YXA

We opted for the web-based mode so that it is more easy and cost effective to edit, and update. Besides, you the reader can dip in and read as few or many pages as you wish- at your leisure, any time of the day or night, anywhere in the world, on any device!

Our thanks go out to Kartik Raghava Murty ’84 for all his help on the OLA website.

The Glimpses team was made up of : Joseph Thomas, ’57; , Beena Belliappa ’70; Nitya Cherian Matthai ’77; Thomas George ( Teaches at LSL) & your’s truly : Prem Rao ’67.

“Looking At Life” My Days At School

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 PanagContinue reading ““Looking At Life” My Days At School”

Two Lovedale Stalwarts: Mr Prince & Mr Matthai.

I am so happy and proud that I was involved in the writing of an informal history  of my Alma Mater, The Lawrence School, Lovedale. It was Wing Commander Joseph Thomas, VM, IAF retired, 10 years my senior at School, who first spoke to me about this endeavor. He introduced me to Nitya Cherian Matthai and  Thomas George, both then on the School Staff who had access to the rich treasures of the School archives.

Nitya Cherian Matthai ( Class of 1977) flanked by Wg Cdr Joseph Thomas VM IAF (Retd ) Class of 1957) and Prem Rao ( Class of 1967). Picture by Beena Belliappa (Class of 1970).

Nitya, JT and Prem cropped Continue reading “Two Lovedale Stalwarts: Mr Prince & Mr Matthai.”

Book 3 of “Glimpses of a Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale.”

Some of you, I know, have been following here the story of a school that is today over 159 years old. I speak of my Alma Mater, the good old Lawrence School, Lovedale. This is located in the scenic Nilgiri Hills in the state of Tamilnadu in the south of India. You would recall that a bunch of us who are alumni, (we are called Old Lawrencians or OLs for short), have attempted to write a book on the history of this old institution.

 

We decided to call it “Glimpses of a Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale.”  Book 1, which covered the first fifty years from 1858 to 1908 was uploaded to the website of The Old Lawrencians Association, Lovedale on June 10, 2017. I shall not describe this because I would like you to read it for yourselves.

Later came Book 2, which covered the next fifty years from 1908 to 1958.  This was uploaded on July 26, 2017. The period covered in Book 2 saw the zenith of the old British Raj and later the coming of Independence for a new, democratic India.

I am pleased to inform you that yesterday, Book 3 of “Glimpses…” has been uploaded. This covers the third fifty years from 1959 to 2009. By then the School already had a reputation for being one of the finest public schools in India. I use the term ” public school ” in the way it is used in the UK as distinct from the public school in the United States.

Here’s hoping Old Lawrencians all over the world across many generations would enjoy dipping into this work from time to time to savour the sense of the past. Many have contributed by sharing their reminiscences and giving their inputs.

 

 

 

 

” Glimpses of a Glorious Past”: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale: Book 2, 1908-1958

On June 10, 2017, I had shared the links to Book 1 of  “Glimpses of a Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale” which resides in the website of the Old Lawrencians Association (Lovedale). In that post, I have explained in detail about this book project and how happy we the contributors were that it was supported by the Old Lawrencians Association. The book was formally released at Lovedale during the Annual General Body Meeting of the OLA during Founder’s on May 22, 2017. Book 1, for those of you who have not yet read it, covers the period from 1858 to 1908.

 

 

I am delighted to inform you that Book 2 of ” Glimpses….” which covers the second fifty years from 1908 to 1958 has recently been uploaded to the website of the OLA.  Here is the link for you to read Book 2 of ” Glimpses of a Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale”.

As you can imagine the second fifty years were of crucial importance in the history of the School. I have captured the essence of Book 2 in this blog post of July 12, 2017 titled, ” About Book 2 of Glimpses….”.

Happy reading and send us your comments and feedback. Thank you!

 

 

 

About Book 2 of “Glimpses of a Glorious Past” : An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale

On June 10, 2017,  I had posted links to Book 1 of “Glimpses of a Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale.” This covered the period of the first 50 years of The Lawrence School, Lovedale from 1858 to 1908. As is commonly known, the School was named after Major General Sir Henry Lawrence KCB (1806-1857) who initiated the idea of providing schooling for the children of British soldiers in India, a large number of whom were orphans. He made the first financial contributions and helped raise funds for this purpose. He and his wife Honoria had the satisfaction of seeing their dream come true with the establishment of the Lawrence Asylum at Sanawar in 1847. This is now known as the The Lawrence School, Sanawar. Some years later, in 1855 this was followed by the Lawrence Asylum at Mount Abu in Rajasthan. In the memory of Sir Henry, the main subject of our book which is the institution started as the Ootacamund Lawrence Asylum, was established in 1858. Continue reading “About Book 2 of “Glimpses of a Glorious Past” : An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale”

“Glimpses of a Glorious Past” : An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale

I am delighted to say that a book project in which I was fairly immersed for a year or more has finally been launched successfully. “Glimpses of A Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale” has found a home in the website of the Old Lawrencians Association (OLA). It was formally released on May 22, 2017 at the AGM of the OLA by its President, Mrs. Rukhmini Reddy Krishnan, (Class of ’61).

The School, founded in 1858, is now over 150 years old. We therefore decided to break the informal history into three parts of fifty years each. Book 1 covers our Founder, Major-General Sir Henry Lawrence, KCB and the formative years of the school. It describes the first 50 years of this institution in the Victorian era of the British Raj.  Here is the link for you to read Book 1 online wherever you are and whenever you wish to do so.

 

The Lawrence School, Lovedale ( Estd 1858)

Continue reading ““Glimpses of a Glorious Past” : An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale”

Death, Be Not Proud!

When we were in school, I remember studying the famous sonnet, “Death Be Not Proud” by the English poet, John Donne (1572-1631) . I must have been around 13 or 14 then and this poem made a big impact at an impressionable age. The first lines remain etched in my mind though over 50 years have flown by since I first came across them. “Death, be not proud though some have called you Mighty and Dreadful, for thou art not so…” Donne mocks death and says it is not something to be feared as it happens to everyone. He concludes by personifying Death, predicting that one day Death too shall die! ” Death shall be no more. Death, thou shall die.” Continue reading “Death, Be Not Proud!”