25 Years Ago: 1982-’83

Newspapers like the New York Times and The Hindu offer a history section where they cull out news reports from the archives and present slices of the past. For Loyola, the LENS and Wall Diary squads are best equipped to carry such a section. But till then, let me offer you a series — 25 Years Ago — based on the school magazines of yesteryears.

Loyola School Trivandrum - school magazine 1982-83

  • For a school that has made a mark on the national quizzing scene in recent years, the most significant development of 1982-83 was probably the setting up of a quiz and debate squad — “the brainchild of Mr B.O. Sebastian” and guided by Mrs. Santha Nair. Mitu Gulati (1983) wrote “The Squad started its work with house-wise quiz programmes for different standards. In the second term, a debate for Std IX and X was conducted on the topic ’20th Century Man: Better Off than his Predecessors’.”
  • 105 students were involved in service squads, whose number rose from twelve to nineteen in 1982-83. (It is not clear as to which ones were introduced that year). There were service squads for maintenance, auditorium, wall diary, buses, safety, picture display, weather chart, indoor games, inter-school competitions, morning study, and LENS. Sankar Krishnan (1983) wrote about LENS, “Loyola English Newspaper Service aims at reaching all the item of news in the school to the students through their weekly publications. Some special issues regarding the School Day, St. Ignatius Day, the Loyola Basketball Tournament and indoor games have also come out. We carried out a few interviews and also conducated an indepth survey of Cheruvickal School to find out exactly to what extent it profits from Loyola’s helping hand.”
  • The School had children from four religions — Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism. Prayer services or special assemblies were held before major festivals, and programmes included singing of devotional songs by the school choir, reading of extracts from sacred books or of well-known writers, and an explanation of the festival’s theme by the Principal.
  • Every Saturday our blue bus rolls by / Every Saturday we Loyolites in blue get on” to go to school for NCC parade, wrote Rajiv Narayanan (1985), then in Std VIII. Rajiv’s poem reveals that aeromodeling was taken seriously, and so was shooting. “When they whistle after theory class / We Loyolites jump up from the grass” suggests that the class was held outdoors. I counted about 70 cadets in a photograph. And yes, the Troop Commander was Mr C.T. Varkey.
  • It was the year of the Asian Games in Delhi and the sports fever was quite high in Sreekariyam. In school sports, there was a Loyolite in the state hockey team, one in the state athletic team and two in the state cricket team, not to speak of several in the district teams, including eight in the Trivandrum district basketball team. Loyola were the district champions in basketball.
  • But Loyola was runner-up in the school’s own basketball tournament, losing to St Thomas 63-85 in the final. Varghese Varghese (1983) in his analysis of the ninth Loyola basketball tournament wrote

[t]he St. Thomas team are older in age and experience, and are taller too. We Loyolites, as an average are of medium height and in basketball, height has a great advantage. lacking this we should patch this up with accurate shooting, for which we have not yet got the knack. Quick and short passes with drive-ins can often change the tide of the game and the St. Thomas players dominated in all these fields. But in outside shots, we Loyolites are far superior…. Coaching is another factor which decides the fate of the game. This coaching given by Mr P C Thomas though very useful was really very brief and short. The lack of dedication and interest taken by the players is responsible for this. We have yet to master the art of man to man defence.

  • Students of Std VII went on a half-day study tour to the neighbouring Central Tuber Crops Research Institute.
  • The School Day was held in November, as in the previous year. This was probably a hangover from the past, when the academic year (till 1979) was from January to December. “About 350 students, i.e. 1/3 of the whole school” appeared on the stage. Earlier, “about 85%” of the students had taken part in the school’s own youth festival, according to the Principal’s annual report.
  • Loyola organised an inter-school youth festival for neighbouring schools. “About 150 students from five neighbouring U.P. and L.P. schools participated,” said the Principal.
  • On the social work front, the school was active. The Principal’s report says, “Students donated Rs 1,000 to Sisters of the Poor, Rs 3,000 for the rehabilitation of the blind and Rs 10,000 to the Cheshire Homes. They donated text books and uniforms worth Rs 6,000 to poor children studying in neighbouring schools.” A later publication put the figure at Rs 5,000. The school offered full or half fee concessions to 61 students.
  • The construction of the silver jubilee block (building) was in progress. It probably began in 1982-83. If so, some of you may see this as the biggest contribution of 1982-83 to Loyola history.
  • Principal Fr Varkey conducted a day-long seminar for parents, on child psychology. Dr Manoranjan Rao, a scientist at VSSC wrote “Topics like Motivation, Responsibility, Jealousy, Sex education etc. were also dealt with. Also certain case studies were analyzed by the participants who were divided into ‘groups’ for this purpose. The ‘group discussions’ were carefully ‘guided’ by the Principal…” Fr Varkey’s ‘human relations approach’ seminars were popular in not just Trivandrum, but far away Bombay too, revealed one letter from a parent in the metro.
  • Old boys outside Trivandrum wrote letters to the school. Rajiv Vijayan (1980) wrote from IIT Madras “Dear Fr Varkey, I reached IIT on 12th July. Our classes began on 19th July. I am staying in Mandakini Hostel….Here I have met four ex-Loyolites–Lagichan, Joseph Mathew, Roy Mathew and Vani Prasad.”
  • The School Magazine of the previous year did not have students on the editorial board. In 1982-83, five student editors appeared: Paul Augustine, Sajit N., Anand M., Sankar Krishnan and Sanjay Kumar (all 1983). Though the editorial board did not mention his name, the statutory declaration said that Fr C.P. Varkey was the Editor.
  • I have not confirmed this, but it looks like the medal for the school topper in the SSLC exam was named after Renji Mathew in 1982-83. The previous year’s school magazine mentions it as “Loyola Medal”.

* * *

What are your recollections of 1982-83?

How different is Loyola today (or the Loyola you studied in)?

Post your comment

17 Comments

  • I don’t know where i heard this one. I think it was when an old boy came to speak at our assembly when i was in 11th (2005-06).
    He spoke of the LENS. Here is what i remember
    When he was a student here, there was a guy in class whom the rest of the class never got along with. After some serious tussle, four classmates decided to do something to embarass him. They came up with some stories, and wrote it down in a paper to pin up on the board.
    I again forget the content , but the victim of the prank was embarassed enough to complain to the then principal, Fr. Varkey who had the culprits summoned. After apologies were rendered, Fr. Varkey announced that their punishment for this would be that they will have to bring out a newsletter like this every week.

    Hence was born LENS

    (btw i notice that my name is up in the comments count list.. jiby needs to be more acive 😀 )

  • I also have one story i heard from Mr. G. Mahadevan(of the hindu fame).
    Was visiting him a while ago when he told me this about Mr. C.T . Varkey

    “Varkey sir was always famous for his language. Once we were on a camp during the vacations. The Flight Sergent had the sole of his boot torn off during a march. A new boot would be available on request. Varkey sir and the Boy marched up to the officer in charge and ‘Sir , i want to exchange him for a pair of boots.’ “

  • This story of the origin of LENS was narrated by Suresh Radhakrishnan (1977) in a school assembly in 2003-04. If I recall correctly, he also said that he was one of those given the ‘punishment’. LENS began in 1976, according to a school publication.

    I request commenters to recall incidents only of 1982-83 here. Unrelated comments will be deleted (not just struck off).

  • I joined the school in the academic year ’82-83. And I guess that was the year we had a new school bus. 🙂 May sound petty, but traveling in the newest of the the fleet “One Bus” was a privilege then.

  • Really? The lone Tata of those days came in 1982-83? Yes, I recall that the rest of us — in Buses 2, 3 and 4 — were envious whenever Bus No. 1 got a “new bus”. The murmur was that the school always gave a new bus to Route No. 1 because we wanted to show off our new bus on Trivandrum’s main road.

    Sandeep, your comment reminded me of your post on Loyola bus rides.

  • I am from ICSE82.. The school magazine you are referring to is the one just after we passed out. I need to thank Syam for pointing me to this blog. I must say you guys are really doing a terrific job.
    Ashok, My apologies for not saying something relevant to 1982-83, but I must say this-I’ve been following your blogs very regularly and find your writing style to be simply superb. You guys have really instilled a terrific sense of nostalgia in many a Ex-Loyolite. Must confess that reading your blogs has made some of us want to get in touch with all of our long lost friends from Loyola and I’m very happy to state that we have now traced out about 50 of our class of ’82. Thanks guys.
    Anyone able to put their hands on the Loyolite of 1981-82? Would love it someone could review that issue. I’d surely be able to contribute a lot on the happenings of that year! Cheers!

  • Happy to hear from Uday that the class of ’82 is regrouping and has achieved tremendous success. It is not easy to find long-lost classmates. Congrats to all of you!

    I have The Loyolite of 1981-’82 at home, but not in perfect condition.

    Thank you for your kind words on the Loyola blogs. In addition to kindling nostalgia, the blogs have also brought bloggers/Loyolites closer. Last week, when I reached Trivandrum, the first people I met were two Loyola bloggers (Jiby and Syam). We had a long and lively session at Arul Jyothi restaurant.

  • Thank You very much for this recap of the ’83 magazine. It only increases my interest in getting the old school magazines in digitized form. Really fascinating to compare the loyola of then with mine. To compare with the loyola of my time, the LENS became irregular, the basketball tourney continued with same fervour, quiz has taken off from where it started in ’83 to becoming a permanent fixture in loyola with every class in my time and even today boasting of a horde of competent quizzers in their rolls, the service squads were disbanded i think by the time i was in high school, old boys writing in was one of best features of the school magazine(and as i write this i thought i should email my classmates to write back to school just like so many seniors before us, did).

    Wonderful stuff, Ashok. This post struck a nostalgic chord in me. Sorry for the late comment…have finally got settled in here. And thank god we left on that day before the Arul Jyothi people kicked us out!

  • The poem on NCC in the 1983 magazine starts “Every Saturday our blue bus rolls by”. Loyola buses these days are cream in colour, like the buses of all other educational institutions (in India?). I noticed the hidden clue in my blogpost only today!

    Does Loyola nowadays organise a fest for neighbouring schools? Notice how that event contrasts with the elitist character of LA Fest. (Ok guys, cue for all LA Fest fanatics to attack me. 🙂 )

    Jiby, thank you for the comparison with your times. Why not ask your friends to write to teachers who taught you? That’ll make their day.

  • I remember talking to Br. Mathew once long time ago about the colours. He told me then that the buses used to be light blue in colour till a legislation made it mandatory that all education institutions paint their buses yellow. He say’s its been changed before too. He belives it’s some kinda ploy to get better business for paint companies or something.

    Oi Ashok,
    no touching ‘our’ LA Fest.
    Lol mebbe you should stick to your time. 😛

  • hello brothers,

    25 years ago… i think today is one lucky day… guess what… to see what was Loyoloa like some 25 years ago… go grab a copy of the movie “Snehamulla Simham” released in 1986…
    I am seeing this on TV this very moment … initially i couldnt belive what i was seeing… I was there between ’82 & ’93 … i cannot recollect that a movie was shot or somebody telling me about it …may be i wasnt old enough to realize cause i may have still beein some where in Junior school…

    I am sure that its worth a watch …

  • and there is Father Pullickal in one shot ….and so many shots of the class rooms, teachers rooms …basketball court …canteen, sports room,

  • Syam, that’s a typical Kerala response — oru conspiracy theory, painting capitalists in a certain light, a jaundiced view (since we are on the topic of yellow). Please see Why are school buses painted yellow?.

    Thanks, Sreekanth, for reminding us of this. There was talk of it in school, when the movie was released. Didn’t know that Fr Pulickal appears in the film.

  • I passed out in 83. Our batch celebrated a 25th anniversary get together last June in Tvm, an event that I could not attend unfortunately. We have a Yahoo group with 50 or so members.
    Talking about movies being shot in Loyola, in 1981 a movie called Novemberinte Nashtam was shot on campus. I remember yours truly and a bunch of others did our share of drooling over the actress Madhavi.

    Uday- your brother Atul ragged me to tears at Guindy. Btw, I was working next to a batch mate of yours, Alex Jacob Kadavil, a few years back in Minneapolis. It was quite pleasant to realise after the usual questions about where one is from and where one went to school, that we actually were together in the same school for about 6 years or so!

    Ashok- I notice a passing mention of my name as one of the student editors of the 82-83 magazine.

  • Anand, it’s a joy when people who I write about drop by and leave a comment. Thank you for the tipoff on Madhavi and the moview. Varghese KU told us about your batch’s coming together offline. Good to hear of the online community.

  • ‘Tis I who narrated the genesis of LENS story at a school assembly in 2003 or thereabouts, at the insistence of one Rajeev Var’gheese’. We are the BOSS….and proud of the Loyola heritage, even here on the left coast of usa.
    I was also inspired to read in the Indian Express of the generous community conscious actions of the 84 Batch at their 25th Reunion recently….on 26 Jul, I believe. Totally floored and indebted to them for remembering my brother Sateesh Radhakrishnan who took leave over 12 years ago….to fly away!!!
    Gratitude and heartfelt wishes for health, wealth and happiness to all Sateesh’s friends from our parents and myself – always. Keep up the LOBAs work, Ashok.

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