Playback singer G. Venugopal still remembers the day when he stepped on the campus of Carmel Girls Higher Secondary School in the city, when boys too were admitted, and the role his teacher played in instilling the belief that he can become a singer.
“Perhaps, every time I return, there is a sense of revival of that spirit, the feeling that it all started from here,” Venugopal said as he joined his classmates at an alumni meet held in connection with the golden jubilee of the school on the campus on Tuesday.
At the school, the singer said he was overwhelmed to see the nursery classroom where he got the first lessons. Mr. Venugopal said even though everything had changed, the bonding with his classmates had remained intact.
He then calls out to Radhakrishnan, his classmate, who is a scientist at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Palode.
He asks him if he remembers the trip to Sivagiri they enjoyed during their school days and the Mother’s Feast celebrations when they received little gifts.
“We used to get special birthday chocolates from Lakshmi Bai, a member of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore and batch mate,” added Radhakrishnan.
Someone announces that she will be attending the meet. “She used to be very plump and so instead of ‘highness’ we used to call her miss heaviness,” Venugopal says with a mischievous smile.
For Lakshmi Bai Nallapat, who was back to the school after a long recess, this was no news.
“I knew students used to call me that. And I just used to say poda,” she said. She said she would always be grateful for the care she received from her teachers.
“There are no speeches or meetings but an informal get-together so that we can trace the students because we want the present generation to understand the value of relationships that we build in schools,” said K.M.Joseph, president of CARMA, the alumni association.