Back to blogging after a gap of a couple of weeks. One amongst the reasons was our break to attend the 155th Founder’s Celebrations at my alma mater, The Lawrence School. Lovedale. My compliments go out to the staff and students of the school for a wonderful display in all the events. There was an abundance of talent showcased during these celebrations for which Admiral Arun Prakash, former Chief of Naval Staff, was the Chief Guest.
Much has changed in the good old School since my times. After all, decades have flown by since I attended the school from 1959-67. Some of my early memories of life at “School” ( as it was simply called) impressions are captured in my blog, ” Looking At Life.”
While it is natural for most students to say, ” Things were far better in my time” I must confess that there were many things that were far better now than in those days. This sentiment was echoed by Gul Panag, former Miss India who was the Guest of Honour. Thanks to YouTube I have linked to some videos so that you can see and decide for yourself.
A few things caught my attention:
- The involvement of girls was far more, be it on the parade ground, on the PT field in equestrian sport or indeed anywhere else. I was amazed to see sword -wielding girls command parts of the Trooping The Colour which was the hallowed area for boys in our times.
- The degree of skills exhibited in the Equestrian Display was mind boggling. In my time, we had all of six horses, out of which let’s face it may be three were more pony than horse. Now the school has, I believe, something like 16 horses and all of them look very well bred and cared for. To see Junior School kids do gymnastics on horse back was a splendid sight, and as mentioned in my earlier point many of them were girls. My memory is rather dim on this point but I don’t think the girls did horse riding at all in my times. We didn’t have gymnastics on horse back, that’s for sure.
- The Trooping The Colour was done with greater pomp and ceremony than in our times. I guess the very presence of a cavalry detachment, their pennants flying in the air so proudly on their lances, makes such a huge difference. My friend, Joe Thomas, who passed out of School ten years ahead of me tells me the National Colours were formally presented to the School in 1949.
- Beating The Retreat continues to be a hallowed tradition. The presence of a girls pipe band added significant colour to the event. This, I am told, has been in vogue since the ’80s.
- However, I do maintain that on an individual basis the drill standards and personal smartness of the boys and girls on parade were far, far higher in our times. Our shoes and brass buttons shone and there was considerably more snap in the drill in our days. Could perhaps corporal punishment which was so common then and is conspicuous by its absence now be a contributory factor?
- The quality of the arts and crafts exhibitions were always high and I was glad to find the standards have been maintained. It was heartening to see new age art forms like media studies be given such importance.
- The school grounds continue to be immaculate. I presume the comforts levels of the students must have increased considerably.
It was wonderful to be back in Lovedale. The smell of the cypress and eucalyptus told us, more than anything else, that we were back in the “home of our school days.”