Ashok Kumar Yadav
WHENEVER educational institutes call me to their annual functions, I rarely decline because of my insatiable craving to enthuse youngsters, but if the invite comes from my own or my children’s alma mater, it drives me nostalgic. One morning last year when the Headmaster of The Lawrence School, Sanawar, asked me to preside over the annual sports meet, the thought of revisiting the alma mater of my children spilled my emotions.
After negotiating the whistling pines as we reached, the tears started rolling while we were being ushered in by a contingent of smartly dressed scouts. What, in fact, had made me trendy among the budding Sanawarians was not just my being a member of the Lawrence School Society that controlled the school or someone belonging to the elite service, but rather the factum of my being the father of my son and daughter who studied there.
When the Headmaster in his address recapitulated my son’s gesture splashed by him in the Kirlosker All-India Business Quiz Contest a year before, it refilled my eyes with some more tears. With Wordsworthian ‘inward eye’, I could distinctly ‘hear’ the echo of roaring applause in the Tilly’s hills cradling the campus when my son had surrendered well-earned 10 points despite his having replied a question correctly when the rival Vivek High team raised a hullabaloo, albeit unfounded.
Not just the participating teams but even the chief guest, Valson Thampu, Principal, St. Stephen’s College, had also then joined the chorale to pat my adolescent son who refused to wear a stained victory on his sleeve despite the quiz master’s ruling in his favour. In an atypical exhibit of fairness as epitomised by Francis Bacon in his essay “Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature”, my son floored everyone by displaying his sportsmanship. Eventually, there was a nail-biting tie which the host team, nevertheless, sailed through to lift the laurels.
It instantly reminded me of similar display of sportsmanship by Indian cricketing deity Sachin Tendulkar, who usually left the crease once he felt he was out without waiting for the umpire’s signal. That my son idolises Sachin is no secret. However, my son is just half his age, but the way he championed the Gandhian principle of purity of means made the school and its schooling proud.
Basking in the glory of our children, I and my wife meandered to their classrooms, dormitories and interacted with their juniors on various subjects. My wife sensitised the girls, in particular, about their safe-keeping from the ‘polar bears’ disguised in human form. We then went past the Honours’ Board where my son’s name was inscribed, being the topper of the batch.
While returning, my wife elbowed me if I would like to study here if reborn, I replied in the negative. She was surprised but I had my own reasons. It was true that the Sanawar school was iconic in the arena of all-round education and the only public school in the world having catapulted the ever-youngest team of students to scale Mt. Everest, I still felt it had no pond of rainwater where I could float ‘kaghaz ki kishti‘ at will as I used to do in my own alma mater at Bawal, my home town.
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