Friday, November 18, 2011
Homecoming 25 Years, St. Joseph's, North Point, Darjeeling 3
By Manuwant Choudhary
Sursum Corda !
Darjeeling: Sursum Corda - our school motto in latin - means `Lift Up Your Heart'. And this motto has stayed with us all through life.
And the first glimpse of North Point in 25 years is simply a joy that is hard to describe.
When in school we would often have `Old' North Pointers visiting and we would simply laugh when they spoke to us and said, "Aah every stone, every pillar is the same..."
Wish we could say the same.
But North Point has changed.
The Fraser Hall is still the same and its stone facade intact. But the schools main building has a coat of grey paint now and it doesn't look good. We `Oldies' just prefer the stone and the moss.
Hope the old stone facade can be restored somehow.
And we also hope the Fraser Hall isn't demolished.
It is a beautiful hall with a wooden room and best acoustics...and its benches are the same. In our time Father Lohar was incharge of films and we saw all the westerns here. If the primary boys were being punished by the Prefect for some reason he would simply cancel the show ! Father Lohar wore the black Jesuit gown and walked with a limp as one of his legs were short and he wore special shoes but we loved him.
A quote outside the Rector's office best explains why North Point has changed.
"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." - Henry Ellis.
The current Rector is Father Kinley Tsering.
But some changes were not just necessary but also desirable.
The quadrangle is a gentle blue now instead of grey and with lawns, It looks beautiful and colorful. We had red dust that blew all over the place.
The old indoor swimming pool has been removed to house the 11th section and the new swimming pool is in the open.
The old dining hall was hardly an attraction and now the new one overlooking the pool looks 5 star.
But there are far too many pavilions.
The main pavilion on the lower ground still exists but not maintained while a new one has been built.
The tennis courts are gone and instead there are dozens of basketball courts.
North Point also doesn't play hockey anymore. Wonder why? Anjay Shah was our great goal keeper and aprt from basketball this was one game we would play with Loreto Convent girls.
We watched the Gold Cup Football. Tata Football Academy versus Baichung Bhutia's Sikkim United. The Tata's won..but the game was nowhere close to the Mohan Bagan versus East Bengal matches we saw in school. Aaah Shyam Thapa's scissor kicks how much we did that on the field ourselves.
The toilets look much swankier...we had those rows of locked toilets and we hated the guy who had the keys and sometimes finding him would be impossible and we would be in `deep shit'.
But we did see the washroom and it felt wonderful turning on the same taps.....except there was no Sister Suma now with a cane shouting `You Piggy, rub harder..."
No Brother James either !
And the commune steam filled bath does exist !
But one good news is that North Point has solved its water problems. Water Harvesting enables it to collect a years water supply.
In school we had 600 students, now there are 1200 !
Mr. Andre Lefevre is our Geography teacher's son and he explained how classrooms have become smarter. "33 classrooms don't have blackboards anymore....anything we write on the smart screens is saved and can be recalled the next day or even in another classroom...teaching biology is easier as we don't have to draw the heart...just call the image and explain !"
And yes, the women teacher's are still beautiful !