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Cofradia 2020 – Moments to Memories

 

Spanish is a beautiful language and it is quite befitting that the annual fest of the St. Xavier’s College hostel, Cofradia derives its name from the Spanish word cofrade – a member of a confraternity. To put it in a colloquial way, Cofradia translates to brotherhood and the annual hostel fest, Cofradia is the perfect epitome of the fraternity that exists among the hostel students. There’s a quote by Gabriel García Márquez in Spanish which translates to “Life isn’t what one has lived, but what one remembers, and how one remembers it in order to retell it.”

 

Years from now, as we look back down the memory lane, all we shall have are memories to cherish and reminisce about our good old days. The tagline for Cofradia 2020 said – Moments to memories. This Cofradia, the beads of priceless moments strung together by the threads of unity and friendship among the hostel students weaved before our fascinated eyes an unforgettable tapestry of memories for each one of us to treasure forever.

 

Month-long preparations culminated in the most anticipated event of the calendar year of the hostel, Cofradia 2020 on the morning of 23rd February,2020. A holy mass for the Catholic students followed by a general prayer service for all marked the start to the auspicious occasion. Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio, SJ, the Principal of our College and the main celebrant, Rev. Dr. Thamacin Arulappan SJ, the Principal of St. Xavier’s School, Fr. Joseph Kulandai, SJ, Hostel Superintendent and other hostel fathers celebrated the Holy Eucharist. Father Principal shared his thoughts on how it is often hard to leave home and adjust in a new environment in the hostel. We often just wish to survive our days away from home, forgetting to live each moment. It is only later on in life when we look back and realize that these were some of the best days of our lives. The Mass also witnessed soulful hymns in various languages, a manifestation of the lingual diversity that exists within the four walls of this place we fondly call, home.

 

Mass was followed by photo sessions and thereafter medals and certificates for various events and competitions that took place in the past month leading to Cofradia were distributed. The awards were numerous, and talent innumerable. The scene in the girls’ courtyard in the morning after breakfast was one as colourful as the bright festoons that decorated the courtyard. There was the nostalgic blues of the outgoing students as they posed for perhaps, their last Cofradia photo. The sunshine yellow of joy emanating from friendships built during the past month. The fresh green of excitement of the first years as they witnessed the celebration that they had, till then only heard stories about. The bright red of passion, the serene white of our collective calm in the chaos, the hues all blended and swirled on our phone screens and camera lenses until they were all but memories. They say, it is not the destination but the journey that truly matters. Cofradia, to the rest of the world may be an evening of celebration but for the hostel, it is a summation of moments spent together the year long. The laughter we’ve shared, the jokes we’ve cracked, the shoulders we’ve cried on, the hands that have held us, the friendship in which we’ve sought refuge – all find their way into the making of Cofradia.

 

The cultural programme that is celebrated each year as a hostel tradition showcases the talent in the hostel. This year we had Rev. Fr. Jeyaraj Veleswamy, SJ, the Rector and Chief Guest, Janab Md. Sazzad Siddique, Secretary, West Bengal Madrasah Commission and ex hosteller as the Guest of honour, Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio, SJ, Principal, Fr. Joseph Kulandai, SJ, Hostel Superintendent, Respected Vice Principals, and College and Hostel officials were present as dignitaries for the programme.  The celebrations began at 5:00 p.m. with lighting of the lamp followed by a prayer dance and extended well into the night for three hours. In the span of a few hours, the stage witnessed the finest performances, each unsurpassed by the other. Dances representing the culture of various ethnic groups including the Bengalis, the Assamese, the South-Indian, the Gorkhas and the Adivasis were performed.  Various other dance forms including contemporary, freestyle, Garba and Marathi were equally appreciated by the lively audience. Now if there were top-notch dance performances, there were mellifluous musical performances to match it up. There was music in the air as melodious voices rose to sing in group songs performed in English, Hindi and Bengali. In between the festivities, there were felicitations and thoughtful speeches by the Superintendent of the hostel, Rev. Fr. Joseph Kulandai SJ, the Chief Guest and Rector, Rev. Fr.  Jeyaraj Veluswamy SJ, Fr. Principal, Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio, SJ, and the Guest of Honour, an ex-hostelite himself, Mr. Siddique. While the Fathers shared words of encouragement and inspiration and exclaimed pleasure on seeing the camaraderie among the hostel students; Mr. Siddique focused on his days as a hostel student in his speech. He delighted the audience with anecdotes about his youthful years in the hostel and at the same time passed on words of wisdom to the generation to come.

 

Often, it so happens that we forget hard work and the details when we look at the big picture. Often, it is that as we fly, we forget the wind beneath our wings. However, this did not happen at Cofradia. All the sleepless nights, all the brainstorming sessions and the multitudes of hard work that went into making Cofradia were rewarded, and rightly so. All the committee members were also felicitated.

 

With the advancement of technology, we as the human race have reached a point where we find it difficult to cherish a memory without a visual hardcopy of the moment gone by.  This was taken care of by the media committee as they gave us a video to remember and recollect Cofradia 2020 by. To relieve these moments of great passion, short performances ranging from dance, music to slam poetry had the audience engaged. In the later part of the evening, band performances had the crowd ecstatic as some of them sang along to popular lyrics while, yet others cheered their friends on. The evening drew to a close with a cultural theme walk that had the in-house models of the hostel display various cultures, fashionably and gracefully. The core committee members acted as the showstoppers for the theme walk as they took the final bow as the curtain went down on Cofradia 2020. The cultural programme was followed by delicious dinner in the basketball court of the college after which students walked back to the hostel, soaking in the last rays as the sun set on their most anticipated hostel event of the year. Cofradia 2020 drew to an end but the camaraderie did not. To say it in Spanish, “En este pequeño hogar, lo mas grande es mi familia” – In this small home, the biggest thing is my family. Thanks to the able leadership and guidance of our Hostel Superintendent Rev. Fr. Joseph Kulandai, SJ, and other Hostel Staff for making Cofradia 2020 truly a memorable one in the lives of every hostelite.