I have, now for over 5 years, been a self-proclaimed “Honorary SV-ian”. So, I deem myself qualified to write about SV and SV-ians, thus here we are. I nagged my way into getting my article in here, for which I will forever be grateful. This is not going to be a very thought provoking, intense, extremely knowledge inducing read. It is just a bunch of words, strung together, to make sense of what I feel towards the school and more importantly the people I got to know through my SV-ian husband, Joshua Perinbadurai (Class of 2005, “Tunnel Kings”… yeah that’s what, I think, they called themselves, because of an attempted “Great Escape” that almost worked).
I met people who were older, younger, from different places and different walks of life than mine and they all added to the fullness in my heart
Speaking of “Great Escape”, it was just one of the many wonderful things and people I got introduced to through Josh, by way of SV. As a spouse of an SV-ian, I had to choose one of two options: Embrace everything SV or just reject everything that had anything to do with SV, except “the husband”. For me, embracing SV was just so much easier. Having moved to a city like Delhi NCR, without knowing the language and without knowing anyone except my Josh, the SV folks who were already there became not just my friends, but my family. They embraced me whole heartedly and instantly made me feel like I was one of them. I loved having them over, cooking for them, having them stay at our place, roaming the city with them, meeting even more of them. All of these and more are reasons why I still miss those wonderful days. I met people who were older, younger, from different places and different walks of life than mine and they all added to the fullness in my heart, which still makes me tear up as I write these words. We laughed together, they shared SV stories and I listened intently, sometimes laughing out loud and many times wishing I was part of those stories. I also learnt how boarding life can scar and soothe at the same time. I saw how being a boarder during the most formative years of your life can change who you are and at the same time preserve the bonds you created there for a lifetime. I felt how just a mention of a name brought memories locked away for years and there was almost a secret language that bridged all the cultural and other differences between those who had nothing in common except for those years spent in that boarding school. Most importantly, I saw how happy my husband was, among “his people”, his friends, his happy place, and I couldn’t peel my eyes away. Seeing him happy made me happy and I wish I could turn back time just to have one more weekend like that, because we never got to say goodbye.
there was almost a secret language that bridged all the cultural and other differences between those who had nothing in common except for those years spent in that boarding school
Once we had a baby and life got busy, we met less frequently, but never lost that feeling of belonging. We made it to an alumni meet in 2018 in Ooty with our Jeremy who was then 5 months old and had loads of fun. We then had to leave in a hurry, we felt so bad and missed everyone so much that we went to the Coimbatore railway station to see everyone and wave them off as they crossed the city on their way back to Chennai. We waited for chances to meet SV people, and promptly used them whenever we could. We wanted to come back to Tamil Nādu so we’ll have more of those chances to meet more of this family.
This family took a whole new meaning last May, when I was going through what still feels like a nightmare. I lost my father, my husband, and my mother-in-law within 2 days of each other due to Covid. My world as I knew had collapsed, crumbled all around me and I just wanted the earth to swallow me up. I was 34 years old with a three-year-old son, who had lost the father he adored and a 70-year-old mother, who had lost her husband of 43 years. I did not have time to cry or grieve my own enormous losses, because I had to help them process theirs. I just had to move on. But how? Here’s where this family stepped in. I can, with a whole heart, say I would not have made it, if not for a lot of SV-ians calling, texting, and helping. People I barely knew were helping me in every which way possible, during the ordeal and even after my husband’s passing and even now. On the 16th of May, 2021, when the doctor gave me the news about Josh and everything stopped, I did not know how to even convey to people that my husband was no more, and the only thing I could do was call Sudharson and I can still hear his voice saying, “Don’t worry Helen, we are all here. We’ll take care.”. He knew instantly what I was trying to say, through my tears and screams. SV-ians stood next to me when no one else could. They took my burden when I couldn’t carry it anymore. They helped me find hospital beds, they drove to help me negotiate with a Hindi speaking driver bringing my stuff from Delhi, they arranged for food to be delivered for us, they gave me advise on my father-in-law’s health when I couldn’t take him to a hospital, they texted with me during sleepless nights to just lend a listening ear and they called when they wanted to make sure I was doing okay. There were many, so to name a few will be a grave mistake.
There were many, so to name a few will be a grave mistake.
I will forever be grateful to my husband for giving me two great gifts, my son, and my SV family. It would be an understatement to say every call, every text, every help, gave me strength when I knew I had none left. My dad used to say, “Family is family, but when friends become family, you’ll know you’ve hit gold, so treasure such friendships.”, and now I know how true that was. Me being an only child, through SV I’ve got many brothers and now my son has lots of mamas (uncles). Every time he says, “Steve mama” or “Sudharson mama”, it brings me great joy, because I know he has people looking out for him. There is nothing that can make me happier than to know he’s got this family too and hopefully it continues through generations. How do I say thank you for all this? Well, this is my humble attempt. My SV family, please accept my gratitude and I hope I get to meet you all soon, some day.
My dad used to say, “Family is family, but when friends become family, you’ll know you’ve hit gold, so treasure such friendships.”