Sunday, March 11, 2007

Our Journey Back to St.Aidan

My lil' house.Now converted into an education centre for children with disability skills
Mission accomplished!The holy grail..the foundation stone of St.Aidan(Note the date:16th December 1957)

The location of the foundation stone.

Mr.Nadarajah's house.Jeeva and Viji had loads of good memories here

Side view of the first blocks in St.Aidan which was built in 1958

A peek through the square hole from the projector room and out into the school hall
Orange school hall,but sooo much better than how it looked like a few years back

The projectors may not be around,but that didnt stop Viji and Jeeva re-enacting their versions of how our dads used to handle the movie projectors.

Sometimes, we travel far and wide,looking for the one thing that continues to elude us.The one thing that can finally fill the empty space inside of us that we deem "unfillable".To some it may be a lost love,to others it could be material things. But to three childhood buddies, it meant going home.

Our home,St.Aidan.
Jeeva,Viji and myself decided to take road trip back to Bahau with the mission of capturing the one photo that we did not have...the holy grail..the foundation stone of St.Aidan. I picked them up from Seremban, and we first did a quick pit-stop back at my hometown in Tampin to collect two priceless publications - the "follow the gleam" year books (1965&1972).Thank god my dad was clearing up his cupboard and stumbled upon them.

Within half an hour,we were cruising past landscapes of greenery,cutting through the warm afternoon breeze,and the frozen landmarks of small towns like Jelai,Johol and Dangi,that stubbornly continue to fight progress-ancient chinese restaurants and classic kopitiam outlets that would dwarf Starbucks and Coffee Bean from their sheer heritage and taste.

To the three of us,we just couldnt figure out why we kept reminiscing about St.Aidan.To most people reading this blog,you'd probably be wondering what in the world could be so grand about a place that we only lived in for 10 years,and fragments of memories that we could hardly conjure up today.What made it so special to us? Its really hard to express,but I do believe it has everything to do with the fact that we had a decent childhood with a recipe that included ingredients of a multi-racial friendship, strong-knitted family bonds, a super balance of a great education system and co-curriculum activities, and loads of great events,parties and fiesta.

As we neared the school, we were relieved to see that there was a wedding preparation being staged at the school,meaning we could easily get into the school compound without too many questions asked.Thankfully we had the old caretaker around,Mr Sukumaran,who was cheerfully on hand to provide us with as much information and freedom to snap away with our digital camera.Yet,I noticed something different.Something vastly diverse from the last trip I made a couple of years back.We were faced with a ghastly shade of orange everywhere we laid our eyes upon.Could it be true??Yes...the school had a new coat of paint..every building..even the school hall..and to us,ghastly or not,it was heavenly!!

The grass had been cut,the hall was nicely decorated,the chapel looked wonderful...even my old house with its previous broken windows and scaly paint was all spruced up as if royalty was making a visit.That got us in high spirits,and I didnt waste time snapping up some glorious eye-shots.The highlight of our trip was when we were given a chance to go up to the projector room.It was really walking down memory lane.The steep steps up,the old trap-door, the dark,dingy walls...aaah....sheer nostalgia.Jeeva and Viji were really having a grand time,and we re-lived the moments when our dads used to prop us up on tall benches with cushions so that we could peek out of these square holes in the walls while the movie sailed majestically from the projectors to the silver screen.

We were then introduced to one of the organizing committee of the 50th Anniversary event, Mr Anbu, who himself was a student in the early 60's. He filled us in on more information over a cup of tea, before introducing us to the current headmistress of St.Aidan, the ever-so-friendly Ms Ng Tai Tai.Thank god the school is in her good hands.We gave her a quick background overview of ourselves, and she responded positively about our blog efforts,giving us her blessings.

We made a quick stop-over back at St.Aidan to snap a few photos of Jeeva and Viji's old home,and wished Mr Sukumaran and Mr Anbu goodbye before whisking our tired bottoms back to the concrete jungle.Sigh! The price we pay as adults.But as night falls,and our eyes drift away to slumber land,we are thankful that our childhood is just a dream away,as we once again run and play among the memories that shall forever be a part of us.Home...

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