I spent 8.5 years in DBPC, or to give it its full name Don Bosco, Park Circus. My last day there was the 17th of March, 1978, and I well remember rushing down the stairs after the last ISC-12 exam, excited at finally finishing with school. But I’ve also never forgotten my first day there.
Given the spate of mini-reunions I went to last month and given it’s Thursday, I think a reblog of this one and only formal school reunion I ever attended may be appropriate.
Schools, good ones, were hard to come by in Calcutta. Boys had a choice of St. Xavier’s, La Martiniere for Boys, the recently rejuvenated and rising fast in the ranking St. James and my own school, Don Boso Park Circus, DBPC for short. Admissions were competitive and parents stressed over the best ways to ensure a good education for their children.
So, about a year or two after Baby Stepped In, Tarun, a fellow classmate from DBPC announced that he and his wife too were expecting a baby. A few days later another classmate from DBPC, Anand brought up the subject of schooling. His elder brother (also a DBPC alumni) had a son who was soon going to be needing a school. When we heard that the Principal…
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<This memory was jogged by reading this post>
My last school, (I had 3), took inter-school competitions seriously. If it decided to compete in something, team selection was serious business.
When I first started there midway through Grade 4, football (soccer, if American), was the game the school took seriously. The “A” team was a very serious contender year after year in the Archbishop’s Cup. There were also “B”, “C” and “D” teams, highlighting the depth of talent and gravity.
I was not a contender for any of these teams. Not even remotely would anyone have considered me for a place in a football team. It was in my last two years in school that cricket came up on the school’s radar. If we’d played hockey (field not ice), I think I coulda been a contender.
So when the Bournvita Quiz Contest appeared on radio and grew quickly into the premier inter-school quiz contest across India, my school woke up and decided it was tine to get serious and change the middling returns from the previous couple of years and challenge for this all-India showcase for the brightest brains in schools across India.
I was in Grade 10, when the official team selection rules were drafted. Students from Grades 8-11 would be nominated to attend the trials. Each Grade had 4 sections. Students from each section would nominate 2 representatives. The 32 nominated students would fight it out for selection to the 3 member team that would represent the school.
Trials started after lunch recess. The auditorium filled up with teachers and the 32 hopefuls. Mr Peters, as usual, was the lead quiz master. He was aided by Mr W. (“William, as in Shakespeare”) D’Rozario.
Questions went directly in sequential order. Indirects also went in sequence. A Direct question is one directed to a particular participant. A correct response resulted in 2 points. An incorrect answer caused the question to go to the next contestant, who could gain 1 point for answering correctly.
Needless to say, with so many participants, progress was tortuous. Somewhere around the halfway mark I was ahead of the pack by a healthy 10 points.
The halfway point also coincided with the end of the school day and I was constrained by the need to leave for the long ride home. I did not represent the school. I was told I would be the reserve in case one the 3 designates dropped out.
That year the school was the All-India Bournvita Quiz Contest champions. My input was not required.