Busy as the honeybees, happy butter-flies.
All the Cluny scholars from Pondy by the sea,
We love the blissful hours full of joyful harmony…
It was 6 o’clock in the evening when Meenakshi Pavithra (my buddy since KGs) and I decided to attend the alumni, though we were uncertain about the number of our batch mates turning up. After all, it has been 7 years since we walked out of our school, fully transformed from small children that we were when we began our Montessori to little ladies, ready to face the real world, outside the castle of our school. A stint for 14 years! Meena and I screeched a “Same Pinch” for co-incidently wearing the same colored salwars and proceeded further within the compound walls. I felt a familiar feeling of fondness and respect towards the school for making me the me that I am today. Rev.Sr. Agnes, our able and just principal of that time, used to proudly proclaim, “Cluny’s success does not attribute to meritorious performance alone. We aspire to groom the wards under our care to an overall round-up personality and bring out sensible women to the society.” Looking back at myself today, I amusedly wonder how successful has Cluny been in shaping me 🙂
We skipped the function happening inside the auditorium and walked along the empty higher secondary classroom corridors. It was here that we girls then took places, squatting our legs and resting over the pillars, pouring reverently over our books during the break between the mid-term exams. It was here that we sit for Friday prayer service (long assembly as we call it) as the whole schools drops into pin drop silence, barring the voice of the student reading the Bible verses or prayers. Just the memory of the silent ambience soothed the frayed nerves of us, software engineers. We tried to venture into one of the classrooms and leave mischievous notes to our juniors but alas, knowing us and our mischief, even the chalk pieces were well-hidden. We turned towards the primary corridors on the opposite side and smiled at the memory of ‘House-Step-Garden’, a well known childhood play, played up and down the steps leading to the classrooms.
Certain years of our school days were extra special than the rest. For instance, fourth and fifth standards were considered kids when we just move in to the main school from the primary block by the beach. We were in awe of all the big girls, hoping that we’d never had to get on their wrong side. We took pleasure in waiting on our teachers, pleasing them and being class leaders (ahem…known as ‘minders’) was indeed an honour. The next interesting phase came in class eight. Neither too small, nor too big, we were a bunch of confused early teens. Fan following for favorite and popular girls of the higher forms, looking out for teachers wearing plain colored sarees as a good omen and participating in every sport and cultural programs were some of the prevalent crazy acts. And finally, class eleven, sandwiched between the two tough years of public exams, we freaked out as bosses of the school, always called out for volunteering, monitoring, march-past and what not. At the mention of a trip to inter-school science exhibition, many of our girls would undo and redo their hairs and groom themselves again to impress the boys of Petit Seminar, another famous boys’ school of our town. 🙂
Meena and I were greeted by Mrs. Sheela, our English teacher at the end of the corridor. She was an old student of Cluny herself and continued at Cluny as a teacher. My God! What would you not give to listen to her English – grammar, accent and diction perfect as she taught us the ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ by John Keats. And then, Mrs. Vembo, maths teacher, exchanged greetings. By the time we climbed up the floors to Nannette hall, we had hi’ed and hello’ed to so many known faces just as we meet up with old relatives in wedding halls or other such occasions. Sr. Joel, the so soft sister and today’s vice principal was distributing candles to the past pupils and as I took the candle from her, I cheerfully remembered our class exploiting her geniality and kindness and making her cry with our monkey pranks.
A small prayer service was arranged to call upon Lord’s blessings and we stood listening with candles in hand. After singing the hymns, we moved to the main ground – the huge ground that has hosted sports’ day drills and parent’s day celebration for decades together now stood the same as ever with logs for campfire placed neatly at the centre as a treat for the alumni. Recent pass outs, mostly college students, rounded it up and sang nursery rhymes while we, professionals, with assumed maturity stood by the gallery watching the fun and clicking pictures, inwardly doing the soundless singing.
Apart from the curriculum, there were games room, band room, dining hall, garden, chapel, singing classes, needlework, dance classes, sports, karate, you name it and you have it. Who wouldn’t long to get back to that blissful innocent world that we once belonged to? As the day winded up, we had our talk with Sr. Emiliana. She was a teacher when we were at school and grew up along with us to be the principal today. Every year students come and go in batches of hundreds and I was surprised as she remembered us all by names and not just us, our friends too and enquired on them, leaving us feel so nostalgic. With her blessings, Meena and I bid bye to each other outside the school walls and retreated back to our homes with a pleasant satisfaction of still staying connected.
Cluny was my foundation, a strong foundation that had helped me wade through tough waters, taught me to face trials and adversities with the 3Ps – Patience, Perseverance and Prayers. I had got a lot out of my school and I owe it a great deal – someday I pledge myself to live on as one of Cluny’s successes and I WILL.