Sunday, August 4, 2019

Kerala trip - Day 3, 4 - Old Boys Day

July 12-13, 2019

(This post has got delayed, and I have been off Blogger because my laptop wasn't working and it had to be given for repair. It's back in good condition.)

Every year, in July, my alma mater - Sainik School, Kazhakootam, Kerala - celebrates its Old Boys Day. This year, there is an added importance, it's 50 years since the Old Boys Association was founded, in 1969.

For me personally, it's a bit emotional too: the alumni group was founded by my late father, N Balakrishnan Nair, or NBN Sir, as everyone used to call him.

These public schools, which focus on military-style discipline, were started since even after many years after India won independence, there was no pan-Indian representation in the defence forces as a good majority of the soldiers and officers were largely from the north of the country, that too from a few states.

In order to correct the imbalance, the then defence minister V K Krishna Menon came up with the concept of Sainik Schools in every state of the country. Kerala state got its near Kazhakootam, a small town some 25 km north of the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram. The primary objective of these schools was to train students to join the defence forces. Though not many of us ended up in the forces, the training we got has always stood us good stead.

My dad was among the first group of teachers who were recruited. After the first batch passed out in 1967, he felt that the school needs to continue its association with the alumni since many of the students would one day reach eminent positions and the school, its staff and students should not squander the opportunity to learn from them. Secondly, the alumni should also have a way of connecting back with their school.

For my father, the OBA Day was a like an annual pilgrimage: he longed to see his students and they longed to see him. Even after retiring from active service in the school, he continued to attend the event, until 2012. I have also been attending the Old Boys Day quite regularly. This year, the event was over two days, because it's the golden jubilee.

On the 12th, among the events were a motorcycle show by an Army team; and a helicopter show by an Indian Air Force team. There was also an impressive rifle drill by an Air Force team and an Army dog show.

That night, we all got together at the Army Officers Institute in Thiruvananthapuram for dinner.

On the 13th, there was a homage to the martyrs, the old boys who laid down their lives in combat; a tribute to the teachers (called Guruvandanam), general body meeting of the Old Boys Association, and lunch.

All these events got dwarfed when compared to the interactions we all -- the alumni -- had with each other, and with our beloved teachers, past and present. Some of the alumni have been very regular at the Old Boys Day but some others have come after many many years. There were some friends whom I met after nearly 10 years.

Altogether it was a very energising couple of days at my alma mater.

3 comments:

  1. I am so glad you had a wonderful time on this occasion. It is a good way to keep in touch with your classmates in person.

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  2. Glad to hear your computer is now in working order. It's always nice to go back and see old friends from school.

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  3. Hi Rajan - Yes, it was a good trip down the memory lane.

    Hi Liz - Alumni meets make us nostalgic and it has a sort of refreshing effect.

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