Home Dehradun Reunion held 50 years after passing out of SJA

Reunion held 50 years after passing out of SJA


By Our Staff Reporter

Dehradun, 24 Apr: “Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven”.
This sentiment was on full display as the distinguished alumni of the 1971 batch gathered in the hallowed building of their school – St Joseph’s Academy, here. It was not an ordinary reunion. It was a reunion celebrating 50 years since the batch passed out.
“A lot has changed since we were in school. New blocks have come up and some old buildings have disappeared. The carpentry room is no longer there. The big hall where we used to have debates every Friday now has classrooms,” reminisced Anil Thapliyal, who has had a successful career in the merchant navy. Barun Chakravarty looked for the hockey field. “We could see it from our class 9C, which was part of the old ‘rail gaari’ block,” he said. “It’s gone – but the memories will remain.”
The alumni were warmly welcomed to the school by the SJA Alumni Association President, Praveen Chandhok, and the other office-bearers, Dr Alok Jain, Vice President (Out-Station), Taresh Sharma, Tushar Singhal and Kamna Bagai. Praveen Chandhok spoke in glowing terms about the impact the batch had on generations of Josephites. The President went out of the way to make the alumni comfortable and offered help and facilities (organising matches, holding talks and seminars) in any way that was possible. The Association also distributed personalised mementos to each member of the Class of 1971, who had graced the occasion.
Sudhir Arora spoke of the importance of the alumni meeting. He also thanked the school for being as always a home away from home. He also thanked his batchmates who had flown in from as far as Mumbai, Indore, Delhi, and Gandhidham.
The Head Boy of the batch of 1971, Kulbhushan Kain, also addressed the gathering. In a spirited speech that was laced with quotations from Shakespeare, Seneca, and a popular song, “yeh kya jage hai doston”(Umrao Jaan), he took the audience into the sixties, urging everyone to keep meeting even though it may get tougher as they age. But he reminded them that it wouldn’t be difficult if “you don’t let the old man in you enter through the doors and windows of life”. He lauded the efforts of Sudhir Arora and Ashok Ahuja, who worked tirelessly and persistently to coordinate the event.
One could sense sadness as the alumni paid tribute to all who had left for the other world. A minute of silence was observed.
Kanwaljit Bagga paid a special tribute to the efforts of the late Subash Chadha, who was the pioneer in getting the schoolmates together by tirelessly collecting their phone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses, birthdays, and then creating a database that became a powerful way of keeping in touch.
“Without Subash’s efforts, we would not be here as a separate group of alumni today. Had he been alive, we are sure he would have built a house here for all alumni of 1971” he said to thunderous applause.
The school function came to a close with a tea party that had a sumptuous spread. However, the one item which every alumnus ate was the “bun samosa”!
“It’s like our national snack,” said Anil Dhingra.” “Every Josephite has it in their bloodstream!”
Harsh Johri agreed. Both, Anil Dhingra and Harsh should know – they are distinguished doctors. The alumni present included Praveen Aggarwal, Digvijay Singh, Surendra Sharma, Rajive Rekhi, Ravinder Kapoor, Christopher Woodward, Mukesh Sawhney, Satnam Bagga, Praveen Mehta, Parvinder Atwal, Devraj Adhirana, Siva Kumar, and others.
Adding colour and glamour to the gathering were the spouses of the alumni.
Senior Coordinator Sumit Gupta thanked the august gathering and gracefully accepted the memento presented by Kulhushan Kain and Ashok Ahuja on behalf of Brother Jeyaseelan S, as he was out of town for an important meeting.