Monday, July 17, 2017

The Old School Tie

The Old School is, of course, St. Xavier’s School Jawalakhel and Godavari where we had the fortune to receive our primary and secondary school education. Established in the 1950s by American Jesuits as the first English medium school in the country, the education we received there was second to none, world-wide.

It has been almost 47 years since we graduated from STX. We gather periodically to reminisce and talk about current events, history, books, our children and grandchildren and so on, assisted by generous helpings of libations of our choice, tasty snacks and a traditional Nepali meal of dal, bhat, tarkari (lentil soup, rice, curried vegetables and meat) with spicy pickles. These glorious evenings with friends I have known since 5th grade and earlier remind me why I have come home after retirement.

A case in point was this past weekend when classmate Buddha and I went over to another classmate, Govind’s, house for an overnight stay. Being with two friends with godlike names (Govind is another name for Krishna) and both of them being medical doctors, I felt secure spiritually and physically! Govind lives in the southern extremes of the city beyond the ring road. The peace, quiet, greenery and the fresh air were nothing but rejuvenating. We went up to the balcony to enjoy the dusk view of the Chandagiri Hills, Hattiban, and Swayambhunath and the airport further away. Scotch for them, beer for me, accentuated by ham from Flat Iron Grill with green olives, we had a merry time discussing medical issues and more.

Then it was time to watch Roger Federer at the Wimbledon semifinals. We descended to the living room and watched the grace of the great man while Govind prepped the dinner. Dinner was traditional Nepali with a ‘masala’ pickle kindly donated by one of our spouses. Post-sumptuous dinner, we settled down to watch tennis again with organic home-grown cucumber and tomatoes for snacks. It was getting late, Roger was way ahead, so time to turn in; the next morning was the hike starting at 6 am.

Morning dawned fresh and cool with a few sprinkles of rain. The sturdy doctors headed out while I, not as fit as them, slept in. I woke up to find myself trapped in the house. The front door was latched from outside by a super-efficient house help after seeing the docs leave, and there was no back door; well, apparently there was but I didn’t see it! I curled up with my novel awaiting the docs’ arrival. Almost three hours later, after a scintillating hike passing many temples, they arrived and released me from my comfortable bondage! A quick coffee and Buddha and I headed home leaving Govind to his splendorous solitude.

Besides the above excursion, meeting school classmates, health allowing, at home, restaurants or the alumni association premises are the events that add spice to a rather reclusive retired existence. We have had a number of class get-togethers, usually stag and especially when classmates living abroad return for a visit. From the 36 in our high school graduating class, 20+ are in Kathmandu, some live abroad and a few have sadly passed away. The camaraderie that exists among a group who have been at school together surpasses any bonding that is acclaimed these days by psycho-experts. There is no barrier to what we can talk about, share or confide. Whether it be school reminiscences, randy jokes, political discussions, business talk or just bantering volleys, everything and anything goes. It is almost a catharsis of the soul!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good pice of story by Birat in Chiya pasal ko ganthan during and post Wimbledon final.

Siddhant Pandey said...

What a lovely read! And how true!!

Dr. Gupta, Deepak said...

Federer's win surely gets diluted with the story of "Three Musketeers from Kathmandu" :) :)
Enjoyed reading every bit of it, almost making virtual visuals speak volumes!

manoj manandhar said...

Interesting. Childhood friends, great settings, drinks and watching your favorite gave on tv with them. Made hostage in your own friend's home giving you time to catch up on your reading and then recalling those wonderful years spent together during the childhood. We all can relate to his but cannot express it as well as you have done so with such ease and interestingly.

Chiran Jung Thapa said...

So nice to see you writing again. Really enjoyed this. Now, you need to raise some social issues that plague our society and offer potential solutions.
You write beautifully and have a wealth of experience. So, keep writing and sharing.
All the best.

Anonymous said...

Well written and from the heart. The pleasure was all mine to have you and Buddha at my home.

saroj said...

Very interesting! Will pass this to pravin Dixit who lives just 2 miles from our place

Buddha Basnyat said...

I agree Birat one of the reasons we came back from wherever we were abroad to good old Kathmandu is so that we could be with St Xavier class mates in the same environment and to re live the good old days. You, me, Govind and Subodh ( who was not there this time) have had many get- togethers like this where we reminisce about the good old school days, the Jesuit fathers, our families, our nation, and authors like AJ Cronin. These are clearly life-enhancing, life-affirming moments that we would not trade for all the gold in Tibet. And of course to read your tour de force write up about this event is the icing on the cake. Suun ma Sugandha!!

Birat Simha said...

Thank you, all, for the above comments. Govind, your hospitality was nonpareil. Indeed, Buddha, get-togethers like this are "life-enhancing and life-affirming", especially as we start the journey into the twilight of our lives (slow journey, hopefully).

Sarin Qureshi said...

A simple get-together of three friends who spent their formative years together for reminiscing their past over drinks, dinner and discussion truns out to be unique and memorable. BIRAT, you have painted a lovely picture of your sojurn to your friend's house off Ring Road. Keep it up.