Semanti Sinha Ray

It doesn’t matter where you come from. You leave it all behind. The minute you step on to the road leading up to the red brick building and hear all the excited chatter and laughter, you are home. A home built of years of bonding and traditions that will last you till your dying breath and beyond.

Shirts and sweaters, skirts and ties – handed down for generations – somehow intermingle all the DNA till we are one family. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never met. In the forthcoming years after school, if you meet a stranger and discover that she too is a Lawrencian, the
recognition is immediate – the acceptance unquestioned.

Years fade away – arms reach out in a hug that whirls you back to “the dawn of life’s endeavour”. Your achievements are their achievements and theirs are yours. The pain shared – no recriminations. Just empathy. The older ones guide you – the younger ones are nurtured and you march in step once again to meet the future, a woman confident of the strength of her supportive mates. This is my experience. This is the miracle in my life.

Last year when I came to Bangalore, I met Jessy Jacob at the Bangalore Club. “You’re a Lawrencian! We’re having lunch this Saturday – just the girls. You have to come. In fact we have a WhatsAp group – I’ll add you on it.” That night I received endless ‘welcome to the group’ messages and by Saturday morning I was so excited (and a bit apprehensive I will confess) to attend this lunch.

The minute I walked in to the venue, they knew me. And I knew them! Some were legends whom I had only heard of as they were before my time (they’d graduated from school in 1963, ’69, ’70, ’72, ’73) – some I had met earlier and some were youngsters (2005) who brushed away my elderly stance and had me being as irreverent and brash as they were. At the end of that afternoon my cheeks ached with the hours smiling and laughing. School songs and anecdotes intermingled with current lives. Photos followed and the WhatsAp
group, aptly named ‘Rocking Lovedale Babes’ became a part of my daily routine. Sadly I wasn’t able to participate in some of the other gatherings as I was more out of Bangalore than in – but I watched as my mates attended funerals of fellow Lawrencians, rallied for rivers and condemned the cutting of trees.

It’s Girls’ School once again. The red brick building continues to surround us.
Thank you Jessy Jacob and Lekha Subaiya for starting this group .

Semanti Sinha Ray


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