Arup Chatterjee, TNN, Oct 30, 2014,DARJEELING: St Paul's School will turn 200 in another nine years. But it is time now for the institution to mark another milestone.
The school may have been raised in Calcutta, but most feel it is only when it moved to the mountains, and Jwalapahar on particular, that the school acquired its halo and high ground. Rather literally.
Some 300 Old Paulites have converged at this favourite tourist destination to celebrate 150 years of their school's coming to the "Burning Mountain", a name believed to have been acquired from the explosion of flaming rhododendrons that used to bloom there.
Over the next three days, Paulite Forever, as the celebrations have been christened, will see former students from round the world and as far back as the early fifties reliving their school days and sharing space with the current crop and teachers.
"The Quad", "Dawkins", "Lower Field", "Dorms", "Prep Hall"... Words that meant the many nooks and corners of boarding life in one of the premier institutes of the country will come alive once more for them.
Men who have moved on to their many distinguished paths will shed all that for school blazers, flannels, grey suits and the many little things that made life at what used to be a boarders-only school. "Several Darjeeling schools have this legacy of the British education system. But, St Paul's was a little more into the British way than the others," gushed film distributor and entrepreneur Arijit Dutta shortly after checking into a hotel at Darjeeling on Wednesday evening.
"You see, we looked down upon others from our perch high above Darjeeling town," joked the 1983 pass-out.
As the first whiff of winter grips this hill town and the heavy woolens come out, the month-long cultural festival on the Mall nears its end and the hotels prepare for off-season discount offers, the Paulite party is set to begin. The nippy air is thick with a sense of anticipation.
"It will be a terrific reunion," added an Old Paulite.