At times, a disastrous calamity materialize as a wondrous boon.
Kerala witnessed a catastrophic flood in August 2018 and it is the worst flood in nearly a century of my home state’s history.
On August 16th 2018, while Kerala was reeling under flood, a place named Ambadimukku (അമ്പാടിമുക്ക്), a few kilometers away from my house got ravaged by landslide.
Subsequently, Ambadimukku has been put on red alert. 160 residents of that place got evacuated and transferred to Kerala Agricultural University High School where my brother and I had completed our secondary education.
I have heard that a landslide had occurred near to my house but I wasn’t aware that my school has transformed itself into a relief camp.
During the evening of August 16th 2018, while I was taking a stroll through school premises, I have seen huge crowd, policemen and ambulances in that area. I’m prompted to go and ask what is happening there.
There, I met Vijin Raj, president of our KAUHS Past Pupil’s Association (KAUHSPPA) in which I’m also a member. I asked him how the financial side of the camp is taking care of. He replied that some community organizations have offered help and he is waiting for their response. I understood that KAUHSPPA is short of cash and a fund raising should be done.
I reached home after visiting the camp and I was thinking about how to raise money for the camp.
At night, I got a phone call from one of my friends in Chennai. He asked for my bank account number and I asked him why.
He told that he came to know that Kerala is reeling under floods and offered to donate money by transferring it to my bank account. He also added that I can use it in anyway according to my wish.
I thanked him for his kind heart and told him to transfer money to our KAUHSPPA’s bank account. He transferred money and send me the receipt.
Inspired by his contribution, I turned towards my school mates’ Whatsapp group. Through a voice clip I requested donations from my friends who are part of KAUHSPPA.
By next day afternoon, the KAUHSPPA bank account filled with enough money to take care of the people who are staying in the relief camp. I have made contribution from my side and have received donations from various other batches as well.
I was overwhelmed by joy since I didn’t expect I can collect good amount of money with a single Whatsapp voice clip.
By evening, I got more calls from friends in Chennai and Cochin who were not even associated with our school or KAUHSPPA by offering financial support. I thanked them and also told them that I have gathered enough money. I also reminded them that I will get back to them if I needed more cash.
My friends who were also my classmates at Kerala Agricultural University High School provided financial aid for the relief camp and also showed willingness to lend a helping hand solely because of their love for the school along with the trust they placed on me.
I’m really proud of the fact that even though we have received help from various social clubs and community organizations, the majority of the financial support for the relief camp which lasted for 12 days from 16th August 2018 was taken care of by KAUHSPPA. Our love for our school keep us united.
All these events were truly an eye opener and served the purpose of a catalyst to organize an event to celebrate our friendship, unity and love. And, everything ultimately led to the birth of Orma’18.
Under the leadership of Smitha chechi (Smitha NS of 1995 batch), Vijin Raj, Akhil MS, Pradeep VG, Sreejith TS and I teamed up by the second week of September.
Luckily, Latha teacher and Najeema teacher also joined our team.
Our first endeavor was to unite every batches passed out from our school since 1991. Latha teacher took the responsibility of contacting students from every batches and created a Whatsapp group consists of two class representatives from each batch.
We are extremely thankful to Latha teacher for brilliantly executing a job that is highly time consuming and requires tons of patience. Basically, she laid the foundation for Orma’18. Without proper coordination, the event can’t be planned and implemented successfully.
Almost every weekends since the second week of September, we gather at someone’s house and discussed on how to organize and execute Orma’18. Sometimes, when we couldn’t meet in person, we discussed over conference calls.
The weekend meetings were full of fun and also a learning experience to everyone. In point of fact, we were trying to do something which no one has ever tried before. So, we don’t have a clue on how things are going to work out.
We got suggestions from various people to make Orma’18, an official event. Gently, we turned down the suggestion since we know that bringing officialism to a past pupils’ reunion does nothing other than ruins the whole event. Orma’18 was planned and executed as an event for the students, by the students and of the students.
The pressure started building up when we got confirmation from Registrar to conduct Orma’18 at Central Auditorium on 24th December 2018 from 1:30 PM to 6:00 PM.
We passed this information to batch representatives and invited programs from every batch. We started preparing the program chart by keeping in mind the shortage of time and quality of programs.
I got featured in a music video showcased at Orma’18 titled Ormakal (ഓർമ്മകൾ) scripted, directed and edited by Sreejith TS. I appreciate the effort of Sreejith since it is his first attempt in film making. He is also the man behind the new logo of KAUHSPPA.
Vijin and Akhil were all-rounders of our team. They are the persons behind organizing food, printing posters and inviting guests. Pradeep VG took responsibility of maintaining discipline during the event.
I did online and offline media management.
Najeema teacher with the approval of Maggie teacher, the present Headmistress of the school provided volunteers and basic amenities from school for the event.
Smitha chechi took immense care in organizing every side of the event despite her busy work schedule. Her activities were an inspiration as well as a learning experience to me.
Though I have organized modest events during my college days, organizing a big event like Orma’18 is a new experience to me. In fact, I was enjoying every bit of it.
On 24th December 2018, we assembled at central auditorium at 8 AM and started arranging everything for the event. But, by 1 PM, when people started pouring in, the ambiance had changed in matter of minutes.
Happiness, laughter and excitement filled the air. When curtain was raised for Orma’18 inside the auditorium, the sound of hooting, whistling and clapping brought goosebumps to me. Just from that ambiance, I could fathom the level of enthusiasm and excitement of every single spectator.
I’m really glad that I could play a good part in an event that paid tribute to the memories of our school days and also to the teachers who had taught us the basic lessons of life.
I consider Orma’18 as a time machine that took everyone back to their good, old school days. School days present special, memorable days along with lifelong friends to almost everyone.
Nearly one thousand people confirmed their participation in Orma’18 but only about seven hundred people could attend it.
The appreciations, suggestions and opinions we received from the attendees is the proof that everyone has enjoyed every bit of Orma’18 and the premier past pupils’ reunion in the history of Kerala Agricultural University High School is a huge success.