Mumbai: Over 500 ex-students to turn up for Girgaum school's centenary celebrations

Updated: Dec 10, 2017, 13:53 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar and Rupsa Chakraborty

More than 500 former students, including a nonagenarian, go back to Girgaum's Wilson High School for the centenary celebrations

Over eight decades after Dattatray Dighe, 99, stepped out of Girgaum's Wilson High School, he is set to enter its halls once again today, for the centenary celebrations of the Wilson High School Past Students Association. More than 500 alumni of the school, several inching close to 100 like Dighe, will come back to their alma mater to relive the good old school days.

Dattatray Dighe. Pic/Rane Ashish
Dattatray Dighe. Pic/Rane Ashish

Along with Dighe, the association has also invited some more of its most senior and illustrious alumni like Baba Parsekar, who was awarded the Prabhakar Panshikar Lifetime Achievement Award by the state government this year, three prominent city doctors Dr Suhas Wagh, Dr Bal Bhalerao and Dr BP Parulkar. Joining them is former India batsman, the city's second oldest Test cricketer, and ex-Sheriff of Mumbai Madhav Apte, who has been invited as the chief host. BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha has been invited as the chief guest.

Dighe, a resident of Bandra West, is from the 1937 batch. After he got out of school, Dighe worked as a stenographer for British judges. The nonagenarian has been counting the days for his return to the school so that he can recollect some of the most golden memories of his life.

No words
Dighe told mid-day, "I have no words to express my excitement. I used to go to school every day, even in the rains. I will go to school after 80 years now, and relive all the memories." The excited alumnus has also handwritten a speech for the celebration that includes tales from his school life. Regaling mid-day with one such incident that occurred a rainy day, he said, "Once, it was raining heavily and water got accumulated in our school ground. A few students started swimming in the puddle. When our principal saw the students, he called them at once. But instead of scolding them, he asked them to go to a pool rather than swimming in the dirty monsoon water."

The 185-year-old Wilson High School in Girgaum
The 185-year-old Wilson High School in Girgaum

Apart from reliving the good old days, another thing Dighe is looking forward to is entering the school wearing trousers. "When I was in school, we used to wear half pants and shirt till class 12. So for the first time, I would be entering my school in full pants," he said with a grin upon being asked what he's planning to wear to the party.

Brightened his eyes
The man responsible for contacting Dighe and the other alumnus is Santosh Panvalkar, 52. Speaking about Dighe's excitement, he told mid-day, "He is quite enthusiastic to visit the school again. I personally met him to invite him for the programme. The news of the centenary celebrations brightened his eyes. We spoke about his school days; the memories that he cherishes. He is going to come with his daughter-in-law."

Dr Bal Bhalerao
Dr Bal Bhalerao

The association might be celebrating its first century, but their 185-year-old school is close to its second one. "The school is almost two centuries old and we have so many memories with it. So, we wanted our oldest members to come along and rejoice in the school days once again. We are going to take the alumni to the classrooms where they studied," said Shailesh Mhatre from the 1988 batch, who works with the Indian Railways and is part of the core committee that organized the function.

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