Saturday, June 16, 2007

Durgapur & the Age of Innocence

I grew up in a small town called Durgapur - around 150 km away from Kolkata. in those days we didn't really know about classifications of cities such as SEC A, B etc, so I'm not very sure about Durgapur's (or DGP) socio-economic category in those days. Instead, it was categorised as an industrial town and even sometimes (a bit exaggeratedly) called the Ruhr of India. Some of my father's colleagues who had visited Germany even imagined that the lights of Durgapur Steel Plant which glimmered like fairy lights when the train approached DGP from Kolkata reminded them of the Ruhr Valley in Germany with its heavy concentration of steel plants. Whether that was really the case or not - the lights definitely rang an alarm bell for us passengers in the train because we had to be ready to move to the door all set to alight. After all DGP was a tiny railway station where most trains stopped only for 2 minutes!

But the steel plant is not DGP's only industry - there's Phillips Carbon Black (of the Goenka group), Damodar Valley Corporation the power generating PSU, Fertiliser Corporation of India, Mining & ALlied Machinery Corporation - a PSU where various experts from the erstwhile Soviet countries often came to work. In fact my close friend in school Joanna Hornik was Polish and lived in MAMC. Her father was a mining expert from Poland while her mother was German. The list of industries in Durgapur could go on and on - but ACC Babcock Limited where my father worked was a company that manufactured industrial boilers and pressure vessels. We lived in small townships attached to the industries and probably ingested a lot of industrial pollution through the water we drank and air we breathed. Our childhood however was simple and unstressed. In fact, our smart cousins who grew up in the metros of Kolkata and Chennai often teased us about our naivete. But life in DGP was simple and without the upheavals of metro life. We went to school in a bus provided by my father's company and timed ourselves by the morning news on the local radio station. Evenings were a time for outdoor activities from paying catch n' catch to badminton, cycling and later swimming. By sundown all the kids were home and had to get down to serious studies and we had early dinners are were sent of to bed early. Our parents too followed a similar lifestyle - only sometimes they went for a late movie or a few drinks at the local club, leaving us behind with the domestic helpers. Drinks were probably restricted to the men folk while women chatted over colas. Those were pre-TV and pre-computer days and hence we lived with and for our books, our friends, our games and our lives at school.

Recently when Anup Singh (Munna) - who lived at the Steel township and mentored younger boys and girls to take up sports activities - called to invite me to a meeting of DORA (Durgapur Old Residents Association) in Delhi, I went on a pleasant trip down memory lane. Anup had actually mentored a girl called Anupama to take on my sister Deborani in the Durgapur Club annual swimming championship. My sister, of course, was a champ in her own rights and was a winner of swimmimng competitions at the state and district levels. And she had a strategy of her own to take on Anup's protege. The race was a marathon of a considerable number of laps. My sister allowed Anupama to take an early lead and in the very last lap overtook her to win the gold medal in a nail-biting finish. Of course, she was later reprimanded by our swimming coach from the MAMC Swimming Club - Kanti Dutta - who was also a national diving champion, for taking such a big risk with her competition. While my mother was a teacher for more than two decades at St Xavier's School, the boys' school in Durgapur, my sister and me went to Carmel Convent - which was the best known girls school. My mother walked across to her school through a copse of deciduous sal trees even as the bell rang announcing the start of classes. My father was the last to leave home for office. I suddenly chanced upon a website of St Xaviers Durgapur created by a group of ex-students. Photographs of the huge grounds, the auditorium and the buildings brought back memories of times when I went with my mother to fill in a leave vacancy at St Xaviers during college vacations.

The ABL township where we lived all our childhood years had large British style bunglows and was surrounded by deciduous woods. Among the local places of interest was the Bhabani Pathak's Tila or mound. It was a tiny hillock on top of which was a broken down stone wall like structure. DGP-lore had it that this was the headquarters of a gang of Robin Hood style dacoits of yore and the mound was connected to the Damodar river nearby through an underground tunnel. Needless to say that none of us had ever encountered any tunnel. However, we had pleasant outings to the hillock including a nocturnal moonlit picnic when we had trekked there with a group of friends from ABL - which was about 8 km away. My parents were always very adventurous and had once trekked to Santiniketan which was about 50 km away with their friend Debashish Sengupta. That was the mid-1970s probably and the trio had followed a rural route along the Ajay river. They had spent one night at a forest bunglow enroute and reached Santiniketan the next evening - proving to everyone that Snatiniketan, which was also my grandparents' home - was actually walking distance from DGP. Later, Baba and Ma with Debashish and his wife Sumita Sengupta and two other friends Jawahar Pillay and R.Kumar had gone on an arduous, off-season trek to the hill shrine of Amarnath in the Kashmir Valley. So while life was simple and uneventful - it had its share of adventure too.

We had our unconventional birthday parties - meticulously planned out by Baba. The memorable ones are one when Baba drove us with a bunch of friends to the breath-taking rose garden around his office in the evening and the second when he and Ma organised a bonfire and bar-b-que for our friends on a November evening. We had collected autumnal leaves for weeks before that to stoke our bonfire and the party was a roaring success. We had annual picnics, festival dinners, badminton and cricket tournaments and Holi revelries. Most of these events are well documented through photographs taken by my father. In fact, those sepia toned memories are about all that remains of life in DGP - as my childhood friend Nilanjan, who's now a very successful professional in America, says: "Durgapur is indeed a time capsule more than a physical location - a grimy, boring metaphor for our lost youth." He hasn't been back since 1983. And I probably went to DGP for the last time even before 1983. I don't have much clarity on what plans the West Bengal government has for Durgapur - if any. All I know is that most of us who spent our childhood in that city still think of our lives there and have many pleasant memories. I've been part of a school alumni meet at Silicon Valley - when my classmate Kalapi - a computer scientist at Intel - rallied all our other batchmates from Carmel Convent Class of 1981 together for a lunch about six years ago. We spent the whole afternoon at her house in Cupertino, talking about little apart from our school days and life in DGP. Then there's Neema Kudva, a professor of city planning at Cornell, whose garden and house in DGP were happy hunting grounds for many of us on summer evenings. We climbed trees, plucked fruits, played hide & seek or just sat around and talked books.In fact, if Durgapur was about the outdoor experience - it was also about reading lots of books and creative writing and literary discussions.

Two of my friends with who I shared my love for reading and writing were, of course, Neema and Nilanjan. A memorable experience was a play directed by Nilanjan's mother Mrs Sarbani Sen - a very talented individual - who had got together a motley crowd of school kids like us and some of my father's enterprising colleagues to put up Agatha Christie's A Murder is Announced. The challenges for her ranged from dealing with strange regional accents and ensuring that people had learnt their lines before they came for rehearsals to finding an empty bunglow for the rehearsals and chastising the boys in the cast - who often disappeared for a game of cricket instead of practising - and then finding the right costume for Mrs Marple. Needless to say that the production set in a small village in England created quite a stir in our own provincial small town lives in DGP. It was undoubtedly the highlight of that season! There were the muscial programmes too of song and dance that had a great deal of involvement of both my sister and mother. Rehearsals for those went on for weeks and even months and the final evening was always of very high quality performances. The rigourous rehearsals brought out the best of talent and team work in various people including homemakers who usually maintained a low profile at other times. Those were occasions that we looked forward to and which helped us to communicate with others around us and do creative things together.

I'm not quite sure if such a lifestyle exists now, even in DGP. Besides, I'm not even sure if there were not issues that needed to be addressed way back in our childhood such as more global exposure etc. In fact, life in a small town setting where everyone worked at the same office or went to the same schools had its flipside too. For lots of people, malicious gossiping sessions provided the only leisure activity and many of them were trapped in the little comforts that came with the small town lifestyle. Perhaps a lot of talent went undiscovered and many people found their spirit of adventure harnessed by the ordinary routine existence. However, my own world that was essentially created by my parents and my sister was totally nurturing and DGP gave me all the values that have been with me after I left it behind. The two and a half hour journey from Durgapur to Kolkata by Bidhan Express that I always longed to make was more than a grimy train ride. It will always remain for me a metaphor of growing up and transcending the limits of a small town existence. It was a journey that had to be made, even though what one was leaving behind was precious - the age of innocence.


Umang said...

While my mother was a teacher for more than two decades at St Xavier's School...

as an ex-xaverian...this is an interesting post. i agree...everything about dgp was an age-of-innocence thing...


ishani said...

Hi Umang, if you click on the headline of this post you'll get to the SXS, DGP website - if you haven't already checked it out!

ishani said...

Sorry, SXS is hotlinked from the post!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ishani,
I was also Carmel Convent, class of '81. Chanced upon your blog and my god does it bring back memories!! Not quiet of Durgapur, I lived in the coalfields - Bankola. But the lifestyle was similar! Am in Chennai now.
Padmini (Vijayan)

ishani said...

Hey Padmini, what do you mean by putting an anonymous post on my blog, please give me your co-ords and I would love to be in touch. My email is BTW, I do remember our class play in which both of us acted at Carmel! And yes, Bankola Colliery too I remember - you guys probably went home in an army vehicle after school, if I remember right?

Peu Sur said...

Dgp is beautiful, full of memories. Best part of my life was spent there.

Am still not willing to get out of Dgp.


ishani said...

Excerpts from a mail that I got in response to this post:

...I hung out with a motley crew: Avijit, Antu (Kamal Mitra's son), Piplu Das, Susanta and Subrata Bhaduri (these are my cousins – our actual last name is also Bhaduri), the Raju brothers ( G.K. Raju's sons – they both live here) and of course my very dear friend" Pradip" (Dr. Chowdhuri's son). These guys are all little older than me but I hung out with them because we all kinda grew up together in AVB. (In fact, Dr Chowdhuri and my father were very good friends and interestingly, they both passed away in 1999. I was fortunate enough to visit DGP and spend some quality time together with them right before their deaths). As kids, we were somewhat rebellious and got into a lot of (youthful) misadventures. As a matter of fact, as teenagers – one of our great challenges was to bribe Abdul – the catering manager at East Durgapur Club – so that he would re-characterize our bar bills as food bills - in order to avoid detection of our drinking habits by our respective fathers. During those long summer vacations – invariably – almost everyday - we were fairly inebriated by late afternoons

I was very amused by your references to the "Gossip Factor" in AVB. Yes – even as kids – we got a kick out of the somewhat Kaffee-Klatsch ambience of AVB (very soap-opera-esque: part Peyton place – part Stepford Wives – LOL) – I guess – we lived a pre-computer, pre-TV lifestyle (omg) – so we definitely needed some entertainment – right. Reading books helped – but hey gossiping is entertaining and cathartic

Fast forward 27 years – I still miss AVB – it's like the umbilical chord of our childhood. Regret the fact that it's all gone - thanks to the Trade Unions and Jyoti Basu (remember those murders in AVB) – Basu effectively killed Bidhan Roy's vision – insanely stupid. During my peripatetic prance through life – in some subconscious way – I'm constantly trying to replicate little things associated with our DGP days e.g., our house in the Princeton area is surrounded by " deciduous woods" (to use your vernacular) – quite frequently, I sit in our back patio and look at these trees and remember my long lost childhood

Anyway, listen – apologize for this somewhat emotive email – I'm a corporate warrior – I generally don't write such emails – I write tough memos.... plz keep in touch and kindly connect me to the other DGP residents

Raj C. Sinha

Ayush Dixit said...

It has been a real pleasure to read
about Durgapur.I saw an invite,published in the TOI,to a meeting of DORA (Durgapur Old Residents Association) a few years back.Can somebody PLEASE give me the contact details of DORA (Durgapur Old Residents Association) in Delhi !

I went to St. Xavier's,Dugrapur and had friends from the ABL township.Mrs. Kelkar (our Economics teacher) and Mrs. D. Bose
(who taught us English & History) were both from ABL township.I remember going on a Class picnic-cum-cricket match to ABL township.

The trappings of modernity have caught up with Durgapur as well and you now have a BigBazaar Outlet and multistoreyed apartments coming up.A whole lot of colleges offering Professional degree courses have come up and some people refer to Durgapur as the "Education Capital of West Bengal".I haven't been to Durgapur
for three years now.But I visited the St. Xavier's,Durgapur website
recently and felt that I had never really left Durgapur.

I guess you can take a man/woman out of Durgapur but you can never take Durgapur out of him/her.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sagnik Majumdar said...

Hi Ishanidi,

I am an ex-Xaverian and bumped upon your post on Durgapur suddenly this afternoon.
I am currently working as a Software Engineer in Infosys, Bangalore. I spent the first 18 years of my life in Durgapur, the place I would never ever forget in my life! My parents live in Tansen Road, B-Zone, but they would be shifting to Kolkata next year, severing all physical ties with DGP.
I have always loved the peaceful atmosphere in DGP, its purity, its orderliness, its innocence. ( I liked the idea of Durgapur being linked with Innocence very much )
My days in St.Xavier's School( 1988 - 1999 ) were glorious, fun-filled and lively. My elder brother and me used to go to school everyday in the "caged" grey-coloured " bus number three " ( Xavier's had three school buses, all of them had caged windows and were grey in colour!! ), and I don't remember making any excuse ever to Baba and Ma for not going to school.
I often wonder how DGP has grown tremendously over the last 10 years. City Centre has become a very crowded place now after the construction of Big Bazaar and 89 Cinemas. Benachity Bazaar has also become modern with almost all the shops accepting debit and credit cards. Innumerable residential as well as commercial buildings have been built where there were previously jungles and trees everywhere! The roads have become wider and cleaner, new schools have come up for ICSE and CBSE Boards, and so many things have changed!!
However, the soul has remained the same. The same purity prevails, the same serenity resides, the same innocence shrouds DGP’s entity in entirety.
I did my engineering in Jadavpur University, Kolkata and during the four hectic years I spent amidst the hustle and bustle in Kolkata, I really understood why people brought up in DGP find Kolkata a little difficult place to adjust with!! I never found that peace and innocence in Kolkata which I found in Durgapur. Twice a month I used to go home by Bidhan ( later named as Agnibeena Express ). The journey to DGP used to be cool and more than half of the commuters usually alighted in Burdwan. The journey to Kolkata was a scary movie everytime and we 2-3 friends used to stand the whole way ( two and a half hours ), as it was really difficult to get a seat.
Sometimes we used to do footboard traveling and it thrilled us immensely.
In the last two years, I have gone home 4 times and whenever I went, I didn’t feel like coming back. Still, I have to do what I need to. I will return to the place where my roots are, where I have always wanted to be, when the time is right, when I would have something to give her in return of what I got from her while I grew up on her laps.
I remember the school anthem which we used to sing often, especially ( on Sports Day ) –

Durgapur, city hard and strong,
Land of labour and toil.
Durgapur, hear the hearty song,
We offer to your soil.

Where the jungle wild and green,
Grew unhampered and gay,
You have risen like a queen,
Yielding your mighty sway.

We shall answer, without fear,
Both great and small,
When your name rings, loud and clear,
Like a clarion call….

Looking forward to hear from you,

Thanks and regards,
Sagnik Majumdar,
Bangalore, India.

ishani said...

Thanks for your comment and your youthful perspective! Sent me down memory lane, big-time.

ishani said...

By the way, the caged grey buses were 'objects of desire' for us Carmel girls - with many fighting for the window seats when they sometimes overtook our school bus! Also, I too studied at JU (English lit, postgrad and undergrad - many, many years ago.

goldensilence said...

i was doing a search on durgapur, and chanced upon this blog. I must say, it brought back a lot of memories. i went to carmel convent school too, but am from the batch of 1997. used to live in the fertilizer township, but sadly that, and the one for mamc employees are now in ruins. it hurts when you see that the place you once lived in, and dreamed of making it big in life, is now in shambles...all i have left is the memory :-) thanks for this post :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Ishani,

I am an Ex-Xavarian 99 passout and my parents still reside in ABL Township.
ABL township is the place where I spent 23 years of my life. Now I am working as a S/W Engineer at Accenture in Bangalore. Things have changes a lot in ABL Township. Most of the people staying including my father have taken Voluntary Retirement. There are few good jobs in Dgp.Hence most of the youngstars are working out of the town. Roads look deserted. Swapna Market is filled with senior citizens. Long line in front of the post office where people are waiting for their monthly pension.
But recently in the last 5 yrs Dgp is turning back to it's old glory. A new airport is in construction capable of handling A320. 3 to 4 software parks are coming up. Big MNCs and Indian manufacturing companies are investing here. The face of Dgp has changed dramatically. Shopping malls, multiplex have sprung up.
Roads r wider n cleaner. KMP has been renovated. New parks r here. Big Hotels like Ginger have there presence.Bus service 2 Kolkata has improved a lot with the introduction of a lot of private services.
If you ever get a chance to cum 2 Dgp,just make it. You can feel the change.I do feel quite nostalgic 2 enter ABL Township. No where in India u can get the comfort and peace of mind as u get here.

My mail id is . Feel free 2 contact me

Anonymous said...

Dear Ishani,

I come from the vintage generation. We lived in MAMC and witnessed the start of the two "missionary schools" between 1964 & 1965. As Carmel Convent started with three grades only, all the girls above the Second Standard, studied in the then co-ed school, St. Xavier's.

Till my Std VI, I studied in the School Building in MAMC. Though the School was a good couple of miles away, we thought nothing of walking from the F-Block Bungalows to school, every morning, through the saal forest (the forest in the '60s was thick with vegetation and creepy creatures), past the Kali Temple and the staff houses

I still remember the day in December 1966, when the new School Building in AVP Township was inaugureted _______________ it was the ultimate fulfilment of Father John Dubois's career

Father Dubois was not just our Principal, but a friend, a mentor and a part of the families of all the early students of St Xavier's School

In his own quite way, he neutralised the effect of hierarchy in the school amongst the children, a malaise of industrial towns. So the son of a GM mixed freely with the daughter of a Shop Floor Manager, though their parents would never be seen in the same social circle. Father Dubois's was the single-handed effort and sustained persuation with the Corporates, which made SXS Durgapur happen

I had kept in touch with Father Dubois, through his stints in an Orphanage in Howrah, at the Presbytery in Asansol and later in North Bengal, amongst the Adivasis, where he died of typhoid in the mid-80s. I met his brother and sister, who came from Belgium and met him in Delhi. That is when I realised that his family is extremely wealthy and educated. It takes a lot to leave all that comfort behind for life in a third world country. For those of us who have seen Father Dubois build the school in Durgapur, from nothing, any Tribute I pay to him, would never be enough

I have heard that the houses we lived in in MAMC, with gorgeous manicured lawns and flower beds in the front garden and orchards and vegetable gardens in the back garden, are now abandoned and in ruins

I am myself a Real Estate Consultant and often wondered why the MAMC Management did not take the permission of the Industry Ministry to sell off their township and convert the official houses into private housing. Today's NPAs would have become revenue earners

I lived in Durgapur when we had to come home before sunset, not because of the piled up homework, but because of the prowling leapords and hyenas

The MAMC Township was built around us. The Santhaal workers would light a bonfire in winter and the lilting haunting music of the flute and the drum (madol) still lingers in my head

Thank you Ishani for bringing back so many sweet memories

__ Mahua Ghose (nee Datta) Mumbai

P.S. Bangalore seems to have a number of ex-Xaverians. Why don't you form your own DORA

Anonymous said...

Hi Ishani Didi,I'm a passout of Carmel.I remember you though you were a lot senior to me.Later on I worked in St.Xavier's as a teacher.It is nostalgic... to read all about school and Durgapur.I just couldn't control myself from sending you a post.

Terry said...

Hi all of you!
Once a Durgapur-ian, ever will stay one!
I am probably one of the older guys around here, but I am proud to be a St. Xavier's school product. I passed out Senior Cambridge in 1974-75 and Piplu Das and Prodip Chowdhury, and so many were contemporaries.
My sisters still teach at St. Xavier's.They are Yvonne (Moore) & Susan D'Souza. My mom taught at Carmel Convent for many years (Mrs. D'Souza) and our family was naturally very close to both the schools. We also had a whole lot of friends in AVB and other colonies too.
By the way, I'm Terence D'Souza other wise known as Terry. My teachers included Pradip Das, Fr. Gilson, Mr. Lawrence Benedict, Ms. Ganguly, Mrs. Sharma.. oh the list goes on and on..
I'm working in an IT Consulting, Training and Outsourcing company in Noida and stay in Delhi.
Anybody wishes to get in touch with me, my email id is

And if DORA is alive and kicking, I'd be delighted to join.
Thanks to all and God Bless us all!

RIA said...


i am an ex chance i came across ur blog.......i was really thrilled to read ur column

for such ablog

Shampa Mukherjea said...

Ishani AKA! that blast from the past was so nostalgic with so many familiar names...dil maange more. Please give me Rabeya's info - would so like to link up with her. Where are you now? I'm in NJ (noticed couple of NJ-ites too) and would would like to hook up with DORA. More later......

ishani said...

Shampa need your email address or other co-ordinates to connect!

Dr. Chitrita Bhattacharya Chattterjee said...

Dr.Chitrita Bhattacharya(chatterjee)
Hi ishani! i really liked ur blogs. it brings back fond memories of the past. what r u doing nowadays? How is Dala miss?my email id is

Anonymous said...

Hello Ishani - I was looking for something else and am really glad I chanced upon your article instead. I did not know you specially well but your reminiscences of life in DGP, and the names you mention brought back to me memories that had long since been confined to the dim recessess of my mind. I was there around the same time you were in AVB ...I think we even taught briefly at St Xavs around the same time filling in after our ICSE. Thank you for your well written and easy to read article which has enabled a number of people to reconnect with their past. I remember the play at EDC and was pleased to hear bits of news of people I knew , especially Nilanjan with whom I shared a room at the hostel in St Xaviers Cal where we had the time of our lives ! Also of his parents who were such wonderful people...hope they are all well. I am now living the dream in what's known locally as the arse end of the world....Melbourne ! Best wishes to you, Ishani.....Bev.

Anonymous said...

Awesome. ishani..thnx for the lovely post.. although i dnt know u, ur article made me feel nostalgic..had tears in my eyes reading ur article... miss those days... miss durgapur... am currently in mumbai (ex carmelite 1998 batch)

ishani said...

To Bev and the Carmelite after him, if you give me your email contacts, I can help to join an online community for ex-DGPians - it's absolutely nostalgia unleashed and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ishani,

Only just revisited this site to find your reply. Yes, I would love to reconnect with others from Dgp.

My e.mail address is

Thank you for this and I hope you are well.


Krishnendu Baksi said...

Hello Ishani,

I am not a blogger, but suddenly encountered your writings on Durgapur today. Perhaps, I do not know you, but I was brought up during similar period at MAMC. I am interested to know about Nilanjan, whom you have referred in your blog. Perhaps he is the same Nilanjan Sen, with whom I have studied at Bidhan Chandra Institution during 1981-82. My name Krishnendu Baksi and we were in Section B. I and Nilanjan had consecutive roll numbers. I don't remember, whether I was 2 and he was 3 or the reverse. So if you are in contact with Nilanjan, please refer myself and can send his contacts at if he does not have any objection.

Again it is interesting to get comments from Peu Sur. Though we have together worked at Kolkata for few months, I did not know that she is also from Durgapur. We stay nearby at Kolkata and now sometimes meet on streets and exchange smiles.

It is an interesting blogging.

Srix said...

Hi Ishani,

Couldn't agree with you more on the childhood being simple and unstressed! Having been born and brought up in DGP (and of course having passed through the hallowed portals of SXS-DGP, and through the able hands of Fr. Wautier and Fr. Gilson), I can relate completely to what you have said.

I find it very difficult to explain to my wife and son - it's probably something you experience, or don't. As one comment put it - "you can take people out of DGP, but you can't take DGP out of them"!

If the Nilanjan you mentioned is Nilanjan Sen, I'd be very keen to get in touch with him. Would you by any chance have his contacts? Or you could send him my contact (srikantmk - (at) gmail .com).

Thanks again for bringing back memories...

Babu said...

Hi Ishani ,

I saw this wonderful post some time back and did circulate it to our DGP SXS 83 batch as it was so real - the images of EDC and the environs of ABL.

I am Babu ( son of Mr S P Roy , Shamuda to most ) .

After passing from KGP , I had gone back as a professional to ABL( 1990-1995). Though as an industry ABL was dying , I had the priviledge to witness the tremendous knowledge base in ABL and the proud people who possesed that ) .

I now stay in Mumbai but woud love to connect to DORA /SXS .

My sister Tumpa ( settled in Bangalore ) connects on Facebook with Sudipta di , Purnima di and I believe there was a get together of DGP ites in Kolkata last year .

My email id is



Anonymous said...

An excellent post.
I am a 2002 passout from SXS, Durgapur. I am currently working in Bangalore.
Regarding the website of St Xavier's Durgapur, thanx for the linkage. We are working on popularizing the site but there are still many ex Xaverians out there who do not know about the site.
If Bangalore has a DORA, I would be very pleased to attend such a meeting.
In recent days, Durgapur has changed quite a lot. This is partly due to the shifting focus from the steel plants to the new industrial complexes which are said to come up in a few years near Durgapur. Apart from that, a lot of the old places have changed. City center is now the hub of the town compared to the old township.

Priyam Mukherjee said...

Its such a great feeling to read and feel like I'm back home again. Durgapur is and will be a place where I would be much more comfortable being than any other place. Might be because of the fond childhood memoirs that we still cherish. My name is Priyam Mukherjee and I am a 2001 SXS, Durgapur passout, currently residing in Kolkata.

Thanks for the post, an excellent draft indeed.

Nifty Next said...

The Steel City-Durgapur is now more Stronger than Steel now.We at Durgapur Holdings ( )has started Providing people of India the Right Trend of Indian Stocks Market, mainly Nifty.All credit Goes to the People like you who are creative in nature & blesssing of Bhiringi Kali Maa...
Email Us for Stocks Query

mrinal said...

this was indeed a trip down memory lane...i am from SXS '92 batch and can imagine the Durgapur you left was far more close to the wonderful description than that we left. But it brought back old memories. awesome post.

my coords are

Anonymous said...

Dgp of today is really different from ur time.It's truely A steel CITY

Anirudh said...

I was at durgapur only few days back. It is so difficult to relate today's durgapur to the old durgapur during my higher school days (mid 90's). Then we had hardly anything at city centre. Now city centre has become the epicentre of growth. Big bazaar, spencers, pantaloons, shoppers stop and what not. All is there now. Latest addition is the junction mall which seems to be the biggest mall in west bengal now basd on size.
Now I amback to my work place in hyderabad. Suddenly happened to go though this blog. Getting nostalgic.

Unknown said...

It has been a delight to read the initial blog by Ishani. I am an Ex-SXS student of the 1975 ICSE batch. I was admitted to the school in 1965 by Fr. J. Dubious and then taught by Fr. PY Gilson and the Headmaster was Fr. Wautier. I have excellent memories of Durgapur ans as one comment mentioned of leopards and other animals - I remember the howling of wild animals when I was little. The tract to the Railway station was always deserted when we went at odd hours.
The grey caged buses came very late - we went to school on the buses which were on contract basis from a transporter by the name of Prithpal Singh. The school had only one bus and the driver was Gurdial Singh. Many a times he drove the Vespa scooter of Fr. Wautier for errands.
The Golden Jubilee Reunion is scheduled for Jan 5-6 2013 and I have plans of going there.
I have visited Durgapur after doing my UCSE but last visited in 2001. The change was evident even then. My sister went to Carmel Convent and passed her ICSE in 1981-2. She went on to graduate in Veterinary Sciences and is now based in San Diego USA. the premier University in Asia - Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.
I have clear memories of Lawrence, Roy and Kurien Sirs and Mrs Sharma for Hindi; Mrs Pandey for Biology; Mrs Goswami(?) for Geography.
The Steel township had an aura of its own but the life we led has surely shaped our lives. I have loved going down memory lane and will post after coming from the Reunion.
If any of you are coming over - it would be a great meeting of Xaverians.
Thank you Ishani and Terry.
And thanks also for DORA. I will check it out for Delhi!
Swarndeep aka Prof.(Dr.) S.S. Hundal

skip said...


especially the comment about knowing the Raju sons.

My friend Jehangir and I (Sunil) lived in the AVB colony till we were 10. I went to benachiti school, and then to boarding school in Mussoorie. I remember the two bungalows assigned to my dad, and they were huge (at least to me as a kid) with a lot of land around them. we would drive our bikes in the forest. my mom worked in the guest bungalow and I would visit her and try to drink as many cokes as possible.
Jehangir and I have stayed friends for over 50 years, he's in california and I in texas. last year I drove over 3000 miles round trip to see him.