Dear Columbans and all well-wishers!

The 23rd September marks the equinox and to us in India, where the changes in weather are not so marked, the hot and wet and humid season turns to a cooler and dryer system - a slight relief - yet not one which will sustain the Indian economy - the hot-wet season with the fury of the monsoon and all it brings with it, is vital to the economic welfare of to the millions of people in our country.

I wonder if you would agree with me, when I say, that the monsoon this year was kinder to us - we seem to have got more than our annual share of precipitation - but not too much - of course it did come when we least expected it - it's a big reality over which we have no control - the success of the monsoon drives us to our knees annually - or at least it drives some of us to the arms of the Divine - those of us to whom such basic realities are a matter of life and death - and those who realise that these basic realities are a major factor in their lives - no matter how disconnected to our lives agriculture is to our economic welfare.

I am penning these thoughts on the 30th September - the day on which over 400 youth delegates addressed the leaders of world (unfortunately Ms Mamata Banerjee was denied permission to attend this meet) on climate matters. Is this significant? Greta Thunberg can accuse the world leaders of "Blah, blah, blah" as far as climate action is concerned. Sooner rather than later the Greta Thunberg generation will rule the world - will the idealism of youth prevail then?

It does not matter whether it does. What matters is that we hear the voices!

Our theme for this month's newsletter is WORLD PEACE.

Over the last 18 months we have been living in fear of covid - wondering whether our drastic measures to keep ourselves safe will keep the virus at bay. We still struggle. We want peace - "if only covid would go away and we could get back to our pre-covid lives!" But covid is not going away! Covid is with us to stay! If we want "peace" we got to live with "covid"!!!! That's what we have learnt thus far! We have to respect the virus - as a fellow co-host. The virus has put strictures on the way we have lived! Is the virus nature’s way of telling us - "if you do not willingly respect the rest of life - the rest of life will stand up for itself and force you to respect it!" Do we have not make "peace" with nature? Making peace with nature means changing our social behaviour - we need less crowding in our world! - we need healthier diets! - and there's much more we will need to learn.

In a bold move to resume living, (I believe the governments in India have had a reasonably good job as far as coping with corona virus is concerned - no one can be perfect in the response, and yes, there were matters which would be done better - and there will always be! Thankfully the vast majority of people are beginning to get back to earning their livelihoods) the social restrictions in society have slowly been eased.

We, at St Columba's school could partially open classes to the students of classes 9 to 12 and it's wonderful to once again have students come on campus. I express my gratitude to the alumni who helped us to cope with this phase of education to simultaneously hold onsite and online classes - we're one of the few schools who are doing this and we are proud to say that we are doing so. Responding and adapting to change is one of the key life skills we wish to impart to our students and in being adaptive to the evolving situation, we have shown in action what it takes to do so.

In a few days we will celebrate Gandhi Jayanti - the birth anniversary of a man of peace who wrought down the most powerful empire in the world - surely Gandhiji - is one of "the" messengers of what bringing "peace" to our world means.

With every best wish,

Principal, St. Columba’s School