It was an evening of mirth when the boys of the 1975 batch of Don Bosco School, Egmore, got together for a reunion
In their fifties, these men display poise and the trappings of success. They get out of their ritzy cars, acknowledge the receptionist’s greeting with a calculated nod and climb the stairs as noiselessly as possible. But, once inside the party hall at the Madras Race Course, they are unrecognisably different beings. “Dai Lottai, how have you been, man?” a new entrant is greeted by a chorus of voices. After hugs, they settle down to a drink and rambunctious humour. The 1975 batch of Don Bosco, Egmore, is having yet another reunion.
“There are doctors, engineers, scientists, corporate high-fliers and top-notch entrepreneurs in this room, but don’t try guessing who’s who. We will all behave like 14-year-olds, relating to one another as we did at school. We’ll not talk shop; for another three hours, we will be boys again,” says Balinder Singh. Gripped by a desire to be childlike and carefree, they have understandably left their families behind! As the evening progresses, nicknames and secrets tumble out. One ‘boy’ narrates how he was caught travelling ticketless. “Five of us from the 1975 batch rode buses on the Routes 9 and 10, from Egmore to T. Nagar. A ticket cost 25 paise. We had a bet. By turns, each of us had to travel ticketless one day. The other four did it and when it was my turn, the ticket inspector showed up! Just my luck!” Amidst the laughter, Manuel Thomas says, “It’s unbelievable we are able to meet regularly. Until 2006, we had no reunions. In fact, we were barely in touch with one another — strange because the 1975 DB-Egmore batch has 108 members. But for technology, we would be out of touch. In 2006, a small group began to establish contact through emails, which soon grew into a Yahoo group. Ever since, we have met regularly. We are energised by these reunions. "
The room now filled with all the expected friends, the 50-somethings sing the DB anthem with boyish mirth.