I invited Jiby John Kattakayam (1998), a master at retelling stories, to share two original, unpublished Loyola anecdotes for my blog. – Ashok
A Long, Long Lunch Break
There was an age in Loyola when juniors greatly respected seniors: ran small errands for them during the youth festival, the sports day, the school day and the LA Fest; held seats for them in buses; hung around seniors and listened admiringly to their adolescent stories; and tried to imitate them in every field possible. I don’t know if all this continues.
In our 12th we came across a handful of juniors in one class who were seen as an aberration of a great tradition that continued right from the awe-inspiring batches of the ’80s. These boys went for an inter-state athletic meet at a school in Trivandrum, where they had no reason to go, got into some frivolous disagreement and created some damage on the premises. In the evening, a few friends of ours from that school told us of the incident and all we could do was hang our heads in shame.
The next morning, we went up to Fr. Edassery, the vice-principal, (who too had heard of the incident) and vented our anger. He asked us, “What should I do?” We told him, “Give us a long lunch break and please don’t come up, whatever happens.” He readily agreed. At sharp 12:20 PM we pulled up the offending students from their class and took them into Std 12. I won’t go into details on the methods used or what happened next but they left our classroom humbled, teary-eyed and apologetic. In the evening, Sara Madam who heard of what we did, came over and congratulated us. That must have been the only lunch break that got extended in Loyola School history at the request of a class.
Loyolites Hate to Lose
We were a batch that stood incredibly united. But we forgot that unity for a few days in the academic calendar — during the youth festival and the sports day.
It was our final year. AP had gone down fighting SS in the youth festival, and AP and GG were fighting neck-to-neck for sports day supremacy. The final event of the sports day arrived with whoever winning the 4 x 100 metre relay would take home the first place for sports day and the Overall Best House Championship given at the year end. C.T. Varkey, our PT Sir had conducted years and years of successful sports days and this one too looked set to end in that fashion. He gave the get-set-go whistle/gun/shout (I forget which!) and everyone took off…except Vince of GG House. Apparently another Sir, who just joined that year had shouted out, “False Start” and Vincekuttan expected the other sprinters to return to their blocks. They never bothered and we had to egg Vince to start off, albeit late. In the end GG rallied back finely, but ended up losing to AP tantalizingly. The trouble started then.
We of GG cried foul and asked for a restart. AP knowing that they stood no chance if a re-run was ordered, stood their ground. Our class split into three–one backing GG, the other AP, and the third begging for sanity…the danger of coming to blows was real. In the meantime, a parallel fight broke out among the teachers with CT giving grief to the new Sir who had messed up inadvertently. AP finally yielded to a re-race and though they lost both the race and the sports day trophy, they won everyone’s hearts with their sportsmanship and sacrifice.
All of us went home bitter, wondering if our batch would ever come together after the acrimony of the day. The next morning, as I came walking in through the Loyola College gate, I saw my band of brothers huddled together, joking and laughing, as though yesterday had never happened.