SUMMARY OF THE "PF" Kolkata meet 21st Dec 2013
27th December 2013.
Greetings Paulites, worldwide,
The weekend of 20th to 21st December 2013 was a significant one for the "PAULITE FOREVER" initiative. This week end witnessed the congregation of Paulites from differents parts of the world and from different locations within India, to Kolkata. The purpose was to attend a first time meet of this nature to discuss matters relating to the Event Paulite Forever, which is a celebration open to all Paulites. This Celebration has been timed to coincide with the 150th Anniversary of our School and scheduled to be held between 30th October 2014 to 1st November 2014, at School.
Please read through the following summary of the activities of the core team and well wishers of "PF" that took place during this momentous occasion at Kolkata. Lengthy though it is, the summary still merits your undivided attention as it will help you to realize the depth and seriousness behind this drive for "PF".
THIS IS ALSO THE LAST AND FINAL CHANCE FOR "ALL" PAULITES TO RESPOND/COMMENT ON ALL THAT HAS BEEN DISCUSSED HERE. FROM HERE ONWARD THE DECISIONS PERTAINING TO THE CONTENTS OF THE FINAL SHOW AT SCHOOL WILL REST WITH THE SOON TO BE FORMED "EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE' FOR "PF".
Wishing you all the best for the coming year,
Jaswant Ch. Sokey (1977, Clive)
Summary of the “Paulite Forever” weekend 20th and 21st December 2013.
I. The OPA Annual Dinner at the Oberoi Grand, Kolkata.
a. As very kindly offered by the organising committee of the OPA, the Paulite Forever Core team and its well-wishers, were given the opportunity to distribute printed Flyers on the subject of the “Event Paulite Forever” to the gathering of Paulites at the venue. The contents of this Flyer basically summarized the main purposes of this event and the projected activities at the event along with the contact details of the main organizers and patrons of the same.
b. Mr. Ronodhir Palchoudhury (1971) executive committee member of the OPA, cordially welcomed Jaswant Chandra Sokey(JCS) (1977) on stage to address the gathering on the subject of the event. The entire group of core team members and well-wishers were also brought onto the stage by JCS, and introduced one by one to the gathering. A detailed speech was not indulged in as the subject was covered sufficiently well by the written material in the Flyers.
c. There was much warmth and encouragement expressed by many of the Paulites present at the gathering, more especially by the senior members of the fraternity and some of the committee members of the OPA such as the treasurer of the OPA J.P.Roy ,the Secretary of the OPA, Sanjoy Chatterje, committee member Ronodhir Palchoudhury.
II. The Paulite Forever Meeting on the 21st morning. Venue “Gharana”, at the Oberoi Grand, Kolkata.
This was the first time, may be in the history of the Paulite fraternity, that Paulites from different parts of the world congregated under one roof to discuss and propose actions on a matter of much sentimental significance to all – to ensure that the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of our school is a great one. The fact that such a gathering took place just goes to show that we Paulites are willing to take time out for each other for a common cause, and for the benefit of the fraternity and for the benefit of our school.
a. As expected the setting for the meeting was “grand”, with a white linen covered rectangular table arranged to seat 12 on each side and one at the head. At the other end was placed the projector and the screen. The names of each of the attending Paulites were prominently displayed on Placards, while scribbling pads, pens, mineral water with crystal goblets were all provided free of cost with the compliments of the Hotel. Tea, coffee and biscuits were also served as and when requested for.
b. The meeting began as, scheduled at 11.00 am., with the reading out of the two declarations of support for the “Event Paulite Forever” expressed by (a) the Hon. secretary of OPA(Europe) David Medland, and (b) the President of OPA (North America) Syed Haider. This was followed by a short PPT on screen, updating all about the activities relating to promoting PF during 2012 and 2013.
c. The following were the Paulites who attended this meeting:
1. Ratan Singh Narula (President OPA (Thailand)) 1962, Hastings, from Thailand.
2. Ashok Rachanivarakonkul (Secretary OPA (Thailand)), 1969 Hastings, from Thailand.
3. Souri Misra, 1972 Havelock; from Mumbai.
4. Harish Himatsingka, 1973 Lawrence; from Kolkata.
5. Asif T. Khanbhai, 1975 Hastings; from Mumbai.
6. Vinod Agarwal, 1969 Clive; from Kolkata.
7. Sanjoy Kundu, 1977 Hastings; from Kolkata.
8. Shree Prakash Jaiswal, 1977 Hastings; from Kolkata.
9. Jaswant Chandra Sokey, 1977 Clive; from Guwahati.
10. Monujesh Barooah, 1979 Hastings, from Bangalore.
11. Sanjay Saraf, 1984 Lawrence; from Kolkata.
12. Prasenjit Basu, 1983 Havelock; from Singapore.
13. Shankardev Chowdhury, 1984 Havelock; from Guwahati.
14. Jitendra Pradhan, 1986 Hastings; from Darjeeling.
15. Jayanta Banerjee, 1985 Havelock; from Kolkata.
16. Joon Changkakoty, 1988 Clive; from Guwahati.
17. Mohan Bhuyan, 1986 Hastings; from Delhi.
18. Saswat Bajracharya, 2007 Hastings; from Katmandu, Nepal.
19. Tridib Das, 2001 (junior wing) Betton; from Kolkata.
20. Mohijit Mukerjee, 2002 Hastings; from Mumbai.
21. Siddharth Khaitan, 2004 Lawrence; from Kolkata.
22. Debojyoti Das, 2010 Lawrence; from Asansole.
d. The following may be noted regarding the attendance at this meet. (a) Gurvesh Singh (1990, Hastings) from Nepal, could not attend on account of a severe attack of flu, (b) Ehsanul Haq (2003) from Bangladesh also could not attend on account of a personal set back, and, (c) Navraj Tiwari (2006) from Gangtok, also could not attend because of a personal set back, and was substituted by Siddharth Khaitan.
e. The following were the subjects presented by various Paulites at the gathering:
1. Ratan Singh Narula – presented the idea for the use of LED lighting at school to reduce long term costs and circumvent issues relating to health hazards and disposal hazards of other lighting systems. Also broached the subject of alternative sources of energy for school.
2. Asif T. Khanbhai – presented the idea of working out the feasibility of having a guest house on the school campus for usage by past students as well as parents of current students on a payment to school basis. He also felt that something tangible should be created for the school as a mark of this 150 years celebration, as a gift to the school from the past students.
3. Souri Misra – presented an outline on the material that could be used for the contents of the “coffee table” memento that would serve the dual purpose of generating some funds for this Event through the sale of advertisement space therein while also providing nostalgic past and event based photographic images with suitable write ups about the school. He also presented a write up of the ticket pricing policies of the 125th year celebrations of St. Joshep’s School as an idea that we could also borrow from.
4. Harish Himatsingka – presented his views on Budgeting the event by identifying possible heads of expenses, and the potential heads/sources of Income that we would be looking at in an Event like this one. He also presented his views on an entry ticket pricing policy that could work to the advantage of the participating Paulites as well as the event organizers. The gathering was also briefed by him about the legal procedures involved in banking the funds and utilizing the same for the financial transactions of the Event. The suggestion was also made, to include within the working expenses of this event, maintaining of some sort of a ‘Management Desk’ at Kolkata to look after the routine tasks of documentation of processes relating to the event, updating data on the proposed PF website and acting as a sort of centre for co-ordinating movement of Paulites travelling through Kolkata towards, Darjeeling (Kolkata being the largest, organised multiple access point nearest to Darjeeling). Harish also suggested that some additional arrangements may have to be made for covering security aspects during the event.
5. Sanjoy Kundu – presented his summation of the advantages that an educational institute like St. Paul’s School, could reap in terms of good will generation, by participating in the accreditation for the International School award Program that is conducted by the British Council. Adopting a global theme with a local perspective can – he felt – forge a new relationship between St.Paul’s and other educational institutions from different centres or countries. This would be of tremendous advantage to the students of St.Paul’s school.
6. Shree Prakash Jaiswal – expressed his support for the efforts behind Paulite Forever.
7. Jaswant Ch. Sokey – presented a broad set of guidelines, inculcating inputs from a C.A., that would help with the management of the event titled “a working business model for core Team members of Paulite Forever”. This covered the following topics; (a) drafting of an M.O.U for the purpose of establishing an association that would exist for the duration of one financial year only. In other words, this association would exist only for the purpose of organizing this event and wind up thereafter. This is permitted as per the Laws of this Country. (b) Regulations that need to be complied with for opening of the Bank a/c of this association, auditing the same, its location, and assigning of authorised persons from the association to operate that account and closing down the same after completion of the event. (c) Utilizing of paid professionals to attend to the routine secretarial and accounting tasks related to this event. (d) Development of a dedicated website for this event that would act as the centre of all information and also serve the purpose for on line registrations for Paulites spread world-wide. (e) Drafting of some simple protocols to be applicable to members on the core team. The proposal was also put forward, to rename the ‘core team’ into a Paulite Forever Celebrations/Organizing committee divided into (i) executive Committee members comprising members who would execute certain tasks, and, (ii) Patrons Committee, comprising Paulites of repute whose name would give credibility to the association.
8. Monujesh Barooah – Presentation on a projection of the broad schedule of activities under (a) Nostalgia, (b) celebration, (c) games, (d) Workshops, (e) ideas Forum. He proposed a ‘light’ set of activities on day one to give time for Paulites to recuperate after the long journey to Darjeeling. Placement of appropriately worded Banners. Printing of personal name tags, to be worn by all visiting Paulites. Special Lapel pins. The suggestion of an entry fee of Rs.7,500/- per head.
9. Prasenjit Basu – presentation on eminent Paulites in their individual fields of operation whose presence would add value to the overall image of the event. Prasenjit did mention that there were more names that could be added to the list, but for the moment the Names suggested were:-
1. P.R.S.Oberoi ranked as one of the world’s greatest hoteliers.
2. Ajay Chibber a former Assistant Secretary General of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Asia Pacific region.
3. Rehman Sobhan one of Bangladesh’s best known economists.
4. Ammar Siamwalla Emeritus-Director of the Thailand Development Research Institute. A prominent Economist of Thailand.
10. Shankardev Chowdhury – presentation on “ties that bind” – a forum that would promote (a) networking among Paulites from different professional backgrounds, and, (b) also promote a forum for the interaction between senior class students and Paulites who have achieved a prominent degree of eminence in their profession.
11. Jitendra Pradhan – presentation on the thoughts expressed by the OPA Darjeeling Chapter. Being located closest to the school and also comprising some of the members of the school staff who are Paulites, the feeling was that the Event should achieve something for the Alma Mater. Currently the student count is down and it was felt that the Paulite fraternity could be encouraged to help the school organize entrance tests for fresh students at locations of Paulite concentrations, or at the locations of the various chapters spread world-wide. It was felt that an interaction between the Chapter heads and the school authorities at the Event, would benefit the school in terms of reviving student enrolments in future.
12. Jayanta Banerjee – a presentation on suitable souvenirs and mementos that would play an important part in the nostalgic sentiments of Paulites, and at the same time help to generate funds for the organizing of the Event.
13. Saswat Bajracharya – gave a presentation centring around the entertainment aspects of the Event on the subjects of football and Music. He suggested that the players of the Paulite football team, congregate to School, at least two days before the final event to put in some practice at school. May be, the school could be approached to permit this and to also permit the team to stay at school for those two days. He also suggested explorations through dialogue the possibility of the musically talented Paulites joining hands with the school Choir/band to perform a specially created musical number for the grand finale. The logistics of each performer practicing his part independently would have to be worked out.
14. Mohijit Mukerjee- presentation on “the Changing Face of Educaton” and how some experienced and qualified members of the fraternity could help to provide inputs in collaboration with the school authorities on this technology driven medium, to enhance the value of the education being imparted to the current students, so that the school can reap the long term benefits through an improved turnover of students by bringing them in line with the rest of the world in terms of the quality of educational exposure.
15. Tridib Das – a presentation on the generation of favourable publicity for the school. He advocated the utilization of favourable media coverage both before and during the event in combination with the presence of as many eminent Paulites as gatherable at the final show. The media could be utilised to highlight the eminence achieved by various Paulites in their own fields so that a favourable aura is generated for the school. This could translate to more students from different parts of the country desiring to enrol at school, thereby gradually combatting the damaging impacts that the media may have had in covering only news about the bad effects of the political turmoil of the Darjeeling district.
16. Siddharth Khaitan – Siddharth, it must be mentioned, stood in for his batch mate Navraj Tewari (from Gangtok) who could not make it for the meet. His act of solidarity further highlights that fact that we Paulites know how to take care of each other’s backs. His subject was the identification and selection of potential sponsors for generating funds for the event.
17. Debojyoti Das – a presentation on the subject of photographic and video coverage of the entire event by a team of professional photographers. From Paulites alighting and being welcomed at Siliguri/Bagdogra, to coverage of all aspects of the event should be executed to a high degree of professionalism he felt.
f. The above presentations helped to give the audience a broader perspective on the picture of the final event. This further facilitated the next agenda which was the voting on the contents for the final Event at School. The following were the results of the votes that were taken;
1. On the subject of having a Chief guest and V.I.P’s at the event: All members present were in favour of having “Paulite guests of honor” at the Event. The name of Mr. P.R.S.Oberoi figured most prominently considering not only his eminent position within the Hospitality Industry, but also his contribution towards keeping the fraternity together through his annual dinner fixture at Kolkata, for many, many years.
2. On the subject of sporting activities: The addition of a round of Eaton Fives was favoured in addition to the other fixtures of Cricket, football, Tennis and Basketball.
3. On the subjects of a (i)a special Chapel service, (ii) a special school concert, (iii) a school choir or musical based event, & (iv) an Arts and craft exhibition: The vote was a resounding YES to having all the above activities that have been offered by the school.
4. On the subject of inviting past school teachers to this Event: It was felt by the majority that first a list of available past teachers should be communicated with to find out how many of them would be willing to participate. Thereafter, the committee could take a final decision.
5. On the subject of creating interactive sessions for Paulites from different professional Backgrounds: Everybody present was “OK” with this being an activity at the final event.
6. On the subject of The grand Finale: 14 Paulites voted in favour of having a display of fireworks, and 6 voted not in favour.
7. On the subject of Involvement of the media to cover both (i) the happenings during the event, and, (ii) the advertisement/publicity preceding this event: All voted a yes to this subject.
g. The open House Discussion regarding the putting up of a website for the Event: It was agreed by all that the organizing committee would need a website that would act as the medium for (a) online registration and sale of Event Tickets to Paulites worldwide, (b) a common platform of Information pertaining to the Event for all Paulites to access, (c) accounting updates to all committee members spread worldwide. One of the attendees, Mohijit Mukerjee, was of the opinion that the same facility could be had for free through the Face Book site. He has been asked to submit his notes on the same for further verification by the organizing committee.
h. The open House Discussion regarding the raising of some funds to meet some of the initial expenses relating to the Event, before the sale of tickets began.: The idea of raising some “seed money” from the willing core team/organising committee members was suggested. This point would be thought of and discussed further before implementation. The suggestion was also made for organizing the core team into a committee comprising (a) Patrons, comprising of eminent Paulites, and, (b) executive committee, comprising Paulites who would play an executive role.
i. The Future Plan of action: The school would be briefed on all technical aspects of the event Paulite Forever. A written proposal would be submitted to the current in charge of Affairs at the school, Rev. Joy Halder, with the aim of formalizing the terms of cooperation between the school authorities and the organizing Committee of “Paulite Forever”.
III. There being no other matter to discuss, the attending Paulites put their signatures onto a joint letter of thanks addressed to Mr. P.R.S. Oberoi. The same was handed over to the office of the General Manager of the Oberoi Grand, Kolkata to be conveyed to Mr. Oberoi. The meeting was then adjourned and followed up with a photography session. The gathering then proceeded to The Dalhousie Institute Club, for lunch as scheduled earlier.
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