Meendum Pallikku, an inimitable event in the history of Jaffna Hindu, was a great success
Posted on: 30/03/2015 (Monday)
Meendum Pallikku (Back to School), the get-together of 94 batch, the one of its own kind, created a milestone in the Jaffna Hindu history. The old boys of Jaffna Hindu AL 94 / OL 91 batch have arranged this wonderful reunion in Chennai India in view of their 40th birthday and Jaffna Hindu’s quasquicentennial celebration. The Jaffna Hindu, in its 125 years of excellent service to the Northern Province, not only has created top rung professionals and academics, but also has created a community that rewrote the definition for friendship. The reunion proved that friendship never dies; the time, the distance, and communication gaps are not a matter in friendship. Friendship is like a dormant seed or a Lilly bulb that lies beneath the ground silently, but with a little shower it sprungs up from nowhere, breaking the ground, showing its strength and blossoming again.
The week-long Meendum Pallikku celebration started in Chennai on the 30th of March and went on till 3rd of April. The first two days and the last day events were opened to any JHC old boy, teacher, or anyone belonging to the Jaffna Hindu Community. An open invitation was sent to all schoolmates via Facebook groups and also email invitations were sent to all the OBAs to participate in the first two days events. The Principal Mr.I.Thayanandarajah was invited as the chief guest for the inaugural event. Also, the event was graced by Mr.A.Pachanlingam (Former Principal), Mr.P.Maheswaran (Former Deputy Principal), Mr.S.Luxmanan (Advanced Level Maths Teacher), Mr.R.Balachandran (Retired Science Teacher), Mr.S.Sothilingam (Former Physics Teacher), Mr.S.Krishnakumar (Retired Agriculture Teacher), and Mr.Mahlingam (Lab Technician). It was great to see them coming all the way from Sri Lanka to participate in the event. Representing other batches at the event were Mr.N.Rajkumar (96 batch), Mr.S.Yathavan (2009 batch), Mr.S.Sukanyan, Mr.B.Nandikaran, and Mr.S.Theivachandran (2011 batch), Mr.T.Sujeevan (2012 batch), and Mr.J.Shajeevan (2013 batch).
The inaugural event was held on the 30th March 2015 at the Savera Hotel, Mylapore, Chennai. There were around 110 participants including the 46 from the 94 batch. All were invited to the function hall for inauguration with a welcome drink. It was soulful to see the 46 members of Jaffna Hindu 94 batch meeting at one place after 20 years and all uniformly wearing the traditional dress of the Tamils in the college colour; white verti and blue shirt. The togetherness of them is heartening. They are in different professions now and have travelled in different paths in life, but all have come from different parts of the world to Chennai with only one goal, to meet their childhood friends and go along the memory lane to refresh the golden memories they shared together at the classrooms and grounds as students of Jaffna Hindu College. They went back 20 years on the time scale and became teenagers once again enjoying every moment of the reunion. The function room was filled with so much emotion in meeting their school buddies after so many years, which even transpired to other guests.
The inauguration of Meendum Pallikku started around 10.00 AM with the recital of Thevaram and College Song, and followed by one minute silence. Mr.G.Partheepan (94 batch), who was the lead organizer of Meendum Pallikku, chaired the event. Mr.K.Sivasuthan was the compere of the event. The introduction of Meendu Pallikku and welcome speech was delivered by Mr.G.Partheepan. He warmly welcomed all the invitees and thanked the current principal, past principals, teachers, and other guests for accepting the invitation and being part of the memorable event. He also explained how the idea to organize the Meendum Pallikku (Back to School) event hatched up and the purpose of holding the open sessions and inviting other batches and teachers for the event. Further, he stated that JHC94 MP (Meendum Pallikku) initiative will definitely be a milestone in the Jaffna Hindu history and this concept will be a benchmark for all future reunions. Further, he touched the educational issues in the North and East and highlighted some key points to be considered to improve the educational situation in North and East. Also, he made a request to the Principal to further concentrate on soft skill development of teachers and student leaders to enable them to make a better ground for education development and to cultivate a conducive culture among students. He also did not forget his batchmates who are not living among us. He remembered all those who have given their life for some cause that they believed in or demised due to some tragedy.
Then, the Principal Mr.I.Thayanandarajah delivered the chief guest’s speech. He mostly welcomed the initiative of Meendum Pallikku and said this was an extraordinary event and he has not seen any other reunions in his teaching career that can match to this. He also detailed the current situation of the school and, in general, the student population of Jaffna nowadays. He also mentioned that the students of Jaffna Hindu naturally develop the will power and leadership skills. His main concern is the discipline of students, obedience to teachers and parents, and the distraction caused by the technology. However, he has a positive approach in handling issues and believes in self-disciplining the students, rather than enforcing disciplinary actions.
Following him, the former principals addressed the gathering. Mr.P.Maheswaran, the A/L Deputy Principal for the 94 batch, refreshed his memories about the 94 batch and described how he handled the mischiefs of the students. It was really admirable that he could still remember many of the students by name and the mischiefs they did. When Mr.A.Pachanlingam addressed, he mentioned the importance of having after school programs for school exit students and English language training.
After the guest addresses, the award ceremony took place. In the outset of the award ceremony, Mr.G.Partheepan explained the purpose of the award ceremony and each of the award. He mentioned that the 94 batch believes that as we stand proud of celebrating the 125th anniversary of the school, we should not forget those who made the school stand tall among all other schools. It is not possible for a school to reach 125 years of excellence, without the undevout service of all those associated with the school like the principal, teachers, non-academic staffs, old boys and students, and school communities. Thus, they need to be honoured as a part the 125th anniversary celebrations. That being the thinking of the 94 batch, the principal, retired principals, teachers, and lab technician were honoured and awarded with trophies appreciating their valuable services to Jaffna Hindu College in its 125 years of excellence. In addition to this, a couple of others also were awards as follows;
Mr.N.Rajkumar - Long Standing Sponsor - Contribution to 125 years of excellence for being long standing sponsor for Basket Ball and other school activities
Mas.T.Sujeevan – Jaffna Hindu Activist - Contribution to 125 years of excellence through scouting and individual contribution in promoting the Alma Mater
Mas.J.Shajeevan – Jaffna Hindu and Tamil Language Activist - Contribution to 125 years of excellence through Tamil Union and Individual contribution in promoting the Alma Mater
Mas.S.Sukanyan – Promising Sound Engineer - Contribution to 125 years of excellence through promoting the Alma Mater via Music & Sounding Engineering Skills
Mas.B.Nandikaran – Promising Mechanical Engineer - Jaffna Hindu Activist - Contribution to 125 years of excellence through board of prefect and other school extracurricular activities and promoting the Alma Mater
Mas.S.Theivachandran - Contributing to 125 years of excellence and promoting the Alma Mater
Mr.G.Saitharsan, a promising, talented musician who has contributed to Tamil Cinema
In addition to this, Mr.G.Saitharsan, a promising, talented musician who has contributed to Tamil Cinema by directing music to two Tamil Films in India, was honoured on the event for being a Sri Lankan Tamil and reaching this great achievement in the Tamil Cinema industry. He is the brother of Mr.G.Sathiyan (JHC91) and son of Mr.Kannan (Kannan Music Band Group Nachimarkovilady).
With the conclusion of the formal events of the first day, all were invited for a scrumptious lunch. After the lunch break, the mood was changed totally into fun and entertainment. A musical programme directed by G.Satish with accompanying artists and renowned musicians Kalpana Ragavendar, Ananthu, Prasanna, Krishanraj, and many others created a festive mood in the hall and the 40s turned into 20s, or teens, and started dancing to the tunes. Even some displayed their own singing talents. Also, the popular comedian Vadivel Balaji made the crowd more energetic and boosted the humour sense that was lying inside the people. Chutty Aravind, who was anchoring the musical program, made everyone giggle with his vivacious compering. Though the first day event was fairly long, which started at 10 AM and went on till 5PM, and many have travelled long distances, for hours, to come to the event, no one was in a mood to go back to their rooms to take rest. The fun and frolic continued till late night on the first day. Some went to romp the Chennai streets while others sat down with their classmates to rewind their school day memories.
The second day function was arranged at the Radisson Blu Beach Resort in Mamallapuram. A coach carried everyone, including the teachers and guests, from Chennai to Mamallapuram; this reminded the merry go school trips. At the beach resort, everyone first settled down in their rooms and refreshed and then assembled for a small meet where some activities that were left out from the first day schedule due to shortage of time took place. Then, everyone enjoyed the lunch at the resort’s restaurant. After lunch, everyone had a bit of an entertainment in groups. In the evening, a musical and dance program was arranged to entertain all. That was a real entertainment with the dubbed Rajini in style. The two key events of the second day were honouring the Gurus, who guided us in the critical juncture of our lives, and celebrating the 40th birthday as a batch. A huge birthday cake with the decoration depicting the Jaffna Hindu entrance was brought to the function hall with 40 candles. One by one all 94 batchmates lit the candle and then with the birthday chorus cut the cake and shared among all the friends and guests. Then, it was time to say farewell to the teachers. The obedient students (not so obedient those days), now entering the prime 40, touched the feet of their teachers and worshipped them in honour of their service. It was an unforgettable memory and definitely it would have given a satisfaction to all for given this opportunity to honour their teachers.
The next two days were reserved exclusively for friends to enjoy and have fun among themselves. The final day was again opened to Jaffna Hindu old boys and Jaffna Hindu community. On this day, a souvenir “ Kalloori Salai” (College Road) to mark the Meendum Pallikku 2015 was released. Swami Athmaganandaji, former Sri Lanka Ramakrishna Mission Head, was the chief guest for the final day event and souvenir release. The souvenir carried many memorable articles and the biography of the Jaffna Hindu 94 batch members. It is a treasure in 114 pages with a fabulous cover representing college road with 3D effect on the front cover. The college entrance pillars could be touched and sensed with the latest state of the art printing.
After that, everyone shared their experiences of Meendum Pallikku event and appreciated the efforts of the MP organizing team. What most opined is that it doesn't matter how many years we didn’t meet or speak, our school friendship remain the same and it is an awesome experience to meet our friends after so many years. When we met our school friends, we felt that we have gone back to our teenage; we went back to the day we departed from the school 20 years ago. Also, the common request to the organizers was, we cannot wait another 10, 20 years for the next reunion, we have to meet in short time intervals to energize us and remain youthful.
The memorable event ended with a bit of a charity. As a part of the Meendum Pallikku (MP) initiative, all the members of the 94 batch were asked to bring new clothes, used/ unsized clothes in good condition, toys, and other items with them. All those items that came from different counties were collected on the last day and were donated to the Ramakrishna Mission Mylapore for the use of the orphanage managed by the mission. Swami Satya Jinanandaji accepted the donation on behalf of the mission.