BIS #6246 'Different Christmas' at Don Bosco High School Matunga

by Susan Philip for BISMumbai

The viewfinder, at Don Bosco High School Matunga, captured the storied stage bereft of participants, a deserted quadrangle , a deafening silence, broken by the twitter of birds coming home to roost , a cluster of stars hanging from the school building and the iconic tree, to usher in the season of miracles, as the camera panned through the campus – a testament to the school having embraced a raft of changes to stay relevant and fit into the pandemic narrative. The events of the 02-day Christmas Panorama held on 18 and 19 December, unfolded on the screens at students’ homes.

The theme for the 'Stylish Student of the Year' held for class IX was ‘Stay Stylish Through Covid’ on the question: ‘How has COVID-19 affected the fashion industry?’ The contestants spoke of retail stores and fashion outlets being hit as customer behavior was changing, since they opted for sustainable fashion, footfalls dwindling as consumers turned to digital shopping. If some looked at fashion industries as problems solvers and as trying to regain their lost soul by turning eco-friendly, there was also a cautionary note as the viewers were warned about green-washing and the backlash the fashion industries encountered because of their impact on nature. The ubiquitous 'mask' was used by contenders to make a style statement. Shubam Sawant of IX A disclosed, ”I have done some online shopping during the lockdown. We cannot get exactly what we want as we cannot feel the texture of the product. I missed the perception we get on stage and the competitive atmosphere it offers:” Atharva Gajakosh, a science research student of IX B, said, “The experience this event offered me was rare. I am not keen on fashion, nor do I follow the latest trends. This contest nudged me out of my comfort zone and made me do acts which I thought I could not do.” Salad Dressing Contest for class X, saw mini-chefs and the uninitiated rustle up an assortment of salads for the viewers. Varun Elavia of X E who put together 'seared Ahi Tuna salad' that boasted of delectable ingredients said, “ When small, I used to sit in the kitchen and go through the spice cabinet. Different cuisines and flavour combinations fascinate me. For the tuna salad, I tried out different dressings which would balance out the bitter peppery taste of the rocket leaves. I overcooked the fish the first time, but got it right for the second piece.” Mukund Wadkar of X C put together ‘Salad on the Beach’ saying,”I started helping my mother when I was 12. I have a fair judgment of the ingredients to be used with regards to taste, health benefits and how to serve salads in the most appealing way!” Christmas motifs featured on the cake decorations and the masks. Students of classes IX and X took part in star making, tree decorations, hat parade, Christmas symbols and crib presentation. Students sang carols with Christmas music as the recorded contests were presented on the screens.

Rectr Father Crispino D'Souza said, “Christmas 2020 is a different Christmas, because of the pandemic, and if there is one takeaway from the pandemic, that is to get used to being different.” The 16 shortlisted 'Bosco King' contenders took up the challenge to vie for the coveted crown differently and be pronounced ‘ The King of the Boscoites’, as Shirley Nazareth one of the evaluators, put it.

The aspirants upended the popular notion of a catwalk, as walking tracks below flyovers , paverblock sidewalks, stairway and school corridors, the humble glazed mosaic tiled terraces , polished floors of homes, doubled up as ramps and they strutted with confidence in their informal attire ’the school uniform’. Lakshmi Krishna, one of the contest-organisig teachers said, “It had to be special, it had to be unique, it had to be in our school uniform-an attire waiting to be worn for the past 08 months.” The contestants believed that the pandemic imposed lockdown when they spent seven months of their crucial year at home, turned out to be a learning moment. Monique Shah said, “I have learnt that we can do without many things in life, but school is not one of them." Keagan Fernandes reflected, “I have realized life can flip and turn at any moment. I have learnt how to handle my study time, family time and boredom.” Tanil Sheth admitted, “I am wary of the virus, but in wonder of technology , I have learnt to work hard not only to excel in academics but also to win a video game.” In the formal wear round, the contestants walked the ramp from the confines of their home. Rael Padamsee, theatre personality and one of the judges of the contest gushed, “I am from the creative field. It was a thrilling experience to see that fashion has been given equal importance, as what is fashion if not an artistic and creative expression?”

The question posed to the last five finalists was: ‘Is 2020 a year to be forgotten or remembered?’ All the 05 finalists were in accordance to the viewpoint that it was a historic year to be remembered. Hriday Sangoi one of the finalists said, “I missed the live audience the most at the online Bosco contest. Parents and friends watch us live, cheered and boosted our morale. A Bosco King contest without live audience is like pizza without cheese.” The Bosco Band played some peppy Christmas carols for the inter class dance competitions for classes IX and X.