A dance performance at the 13th reunion of Birla High School (Boys) on January 16. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
It was a journey back to the classroom for the ex-students of Birla High School (Boys) on January 16 at the 13th school reunion, organised by the Birla High School Alumni, in association with The Telegraph. Called Homecoming, it saw students from 18 to 80 turning back the page to recall the old days.
“The alumni meet is a must on our calendar. It is the only time we meet students from the 1950s to the more recent passouts,” said Mukta Nain, the school principal.
S.K. Birla, the chairman of the school’s governing body, released the alumni’s annual souvenir Setu, mentioning that the alumni’s former president, Vinod Neotia of the Ambuja Realty Group, would be greatly missed. He expired last year.
Among the old boys was K.P. Lohia, from the batch of 1955. “I joined school on January 2, 1948, in Class IV. This was the second day after the school was restarted at the AJC Bose Road address. It was closed during World War II.”
Arun Baid, Atul Jain and Rajiv Jain, from the 1997 batch, walked down the corridors, reminiscing about old days. “We are trying to find our old classrooms,” said Baid, a businessman.
“Our batch was notorious as mischief-makers. No wonder that our class teacher was changed thrice in Class IV,” he said, recalling an incident when they were caught throwing chalk in class.
“Perhaps that is why our primary teacher, Sapna Mukherjee, still remembers our names,” smiled Jain.
“We maintain an active network of ex-students who can reach out to each other in times of need,” said Arun Dalmia, the president of the alumni association. The association has a benevolent trust to help old teachers financially. “We have generated Rs 30 lakh with the help of alumni members. We helped with a teacher’s treatment recently by giving him Rs 50,000,” said Dalmia.
The evening saw 15 ex-teachers being felicitated for their contribution to the school. “It makes me so proud to see my students well-placed in life,” said Manisha Ghatak, a primary teacher who retired in 1998.
The association is also reaching out to children affected by Aila through a project with Bijoynagar Adarsh Vidyalaya in Bally II panchayat, Gosaba.
“We have provided funds for reconstructing the school building, for furniture and exercise books. We plan to get solar batteries for the school and give away bicycles to students who have to travel more than six km to reach school,” added Dalmia.
As the evening progressed, the band Dhwani took the stage, belting out numbers like Koi kahe from Dil Chahta Hai and All izz well from 3 Idiots, with many joining to shake a leg.