Our Respected Ex-Principal, Mrs Manorma Titus
Her journey at AFBBS in her own words.
I joined BBAFS in July 1972. From mid 1967 -72, I was working with New Delhi Polytechnic For Women ,South Ex as Incharge and Co-ordinator Journalism Department. I had a Diploma in Journalism and a Masters in Political Science. As The Polytechnic re-scheduled to longer working hours it did not suit me as a mother of two small children. Moreover, my husband William .S.Titus worked as a Senior Journalist with the Hindustan Times and had long working hours .I wanted to change to a teaching job with shorter working hours .
One Sunday morning in June I happened to see the BBAFS advertisement for HOD’s for some subjects as the school was being upgraded to the Senior Secondary level & Political Science was one of them. I had no knowledge about the school or its exact location. I tried to get some information from our neighbour Air Cmde Chandy who was very discouraging and suggested not to apply as it is an Air Force School and being a Non Air Force person, the chances would be low.Ignoring his advise, I went ahead and applied. After a few days, got an call to appear for an interview at IAF, Race Course.
When I went for the interview ,l was received by a young person who took my papers and offered a seat .In the room I noticed some other candidates ,who had come for different subjects – Mr Uppal, Mr Banga, Mr Kapoor, Mrs Bhargav and Miss Chopra (Naveen Chopra sister) amongst them. At that time we did not know each other. After a while, the young man who had received me took me to the Chairman’s office. The interview board had five serious looking officers and a Charming lady seated on the side. Soon I was put at ease ,the officers relaxed and smiled and interestingly they asked me questions on Newspapers ,Time and Life magazines etc. In the evening, I received a telephonic message to report at 9 am at Race Course the next day. On arrival, the same young man was waiting for me, he received me and whispered “you will be selected “. On reaching inside the Chairman’s office, I was informed of my selection as HOD – Political Science on a Salary of Rs 480/ per month. The charming young woman shook hands with me and said that she expected me to stay long with the school – this was Mrs Baxi the Principal.
By now dear students you are all keen to know who was the young man who was managing the interviewees; you have guessed it right -it was Mr Duggal, the man who knew it all and has played a significant role in every ones life who was connected with AFBBS.He is a friend to all.
The senior school building was partially built by 1972 some classes were held inside. The School Library ,Science Labs ,Principals and Vice Principals office -shared between Mrs Nanda and Mrs Samial ,Reception handled by charming young Veena Dhand were located inside .While rest of the school functioned from war time barracks, Our school had the most natural surroundings and environment conducive for learning. Lots of old fruit and flowering trees, beautiful creepers and shrubs, patches of grass and flowers were all over. There were no immediate building’s around & two huge drains flowed in front and behind the school. Beautiful birds nested around; one often spotted Wood Peckers,Parrots,Pigeons, Nightingale, The Humming Bird, Weaver birds, Sparrows and Crows. During break, children were cautioned to watch out for vultures ,eagles,and kites .Morning Assembly was a nice time to be in the open.
Mrs Baxi was totally committed to the school, she guided all of us as a family , while never allowing staff to take their duties lightly. Mrs Nanda, the Vice Principal and Mrs Samial, the Bus Incharge were most helpful and humane amongst seniors.Both of them along with Mrs Khanna, Mrs Kohli, Mrs Kulshresth, Mrs S Jain, Mrs Sakhuja, Mrs Bharadwaj, Mrs Santosh, Mr N Sinha and Mr R.K Sinha lived on campus barracks.
Class 10 was the senior most. Under the old CBSE system Science, Commerce and Humanities streams were offered and the Board Exam was held at the end of class Xl. Mrs Dayal, Mr Suresh Goel,Mrs Chowdhury ,Mrs Madan, Miss Bedi, Mrs Raturi, Mr Chatterji, Mr Bindra, Mr Randhava, Mr Nagpal, Mr Sidhu, Miss Sen, Mrs Neelam Ahi, Mrs L Gupta, Mrs Sehgal, Mrs Seth, Mrs R Sharma, Miss Gosain and Mrs S .Dutt and others had joined before me.
A lot of school expansion happened in all directions during this time .Well designed modern buildings for the junior and senior school were planned and constructed .School was excelling in Sports and Academics. Our Management was keen on providing the best facilities for the students. CBSE also revamped the old Board System and introduced 10 + 2. The number of students increased, more subjects were introduced, new co-curricular activities added. Many new staff members were appointed for the Junior ,Middle and Senior sections. Mrs Raghubir (who became my close friend ), Mr Anand, Mr Bhasin, Mrs Mehta, Mrs Das, Mrs Dimri, Mrs Malhotra , Mrs Joseph, Miss A.Sharma, Mrs Sethi, Mrs Sherawat , Mrs Diwan, Mrs Dhiman, Mrs Sibal, Mrs Sikka, Mrs Sharda Garg, Mrs A Mathur, Miss Kalia,Mrs Batra, Mrs Amrithalingam, Mrs S Sud, Mrs N Surma, Mr Thakkar, Mrs Chandra Sekhar and few in the Junior School .Mrs P.Kohli (Prem Bal) was appointed as the Junior School Head Mistress. With a dedicated team, she made Junior School a creative and enjoyable learning wing.
During this time, our School was re-named as Air Force Bal Bharati School as per the Air Force Education Deptt decision. New facilities,equipment, play grounds,training and guidance provided opportunities to all of you to excel in sports,co-curricular activities and academics. Many of you won prizes in Inter School debates, G.K, Bournvita Quizzes, Essay competitions. Mrs Baxi took personal interest in the development of Cricket, Water Polo. Yachting, Swimming, Volleyball and our school won at various levels in these sports. Maninder Singh, Zeeshan Mohammad, Pawan Arora, Haroon Bawa, Anil Lal,George Iype Kovoor, Naveen Chopra, Anil Tandon ,Tripta Chatwal, Anuradha Kottor, Sham Lal ,Munna Lal and many other sports boys and girls added to the schools fame. Priya Raghubir topped the CBSE 79-80 Humanities batch .
In 1985 Our founder Principal,Mrs Baxi retired. Mr K.K. Mohindroo, an author of Physics Text books and Senior Faculty member of Modern School, Barakhamba Road joined as the Principal. He had a long tenure till 1997. By now the School was one of the top ten in Delhi. He was pleasant ,helpful and very understanding. He wanted to stress on Academics. The school continued to do well in co-curricular activities also .
In 1992 Mrs Samial retired as the Vice -Principal and Bus Incharge. Here I like to mention that AFBBS had a fleet of buses and provided excellent transport service at nominal charges for students. For all after school activities children were dropped all over Delhi. There were nice drivers like Mullaji, Hanif, David, Krishan, Jeet Ram and Jagdev; many of you may have travelled in their buses. Mrs Samial managed the transport service so well. I was appointed as the Vice -Principal now. Apart from my taking Pol .Sc classes with Class Xll, I had a plate full of duties. By now the school had grown further. New staff members Ms Sonia Sareen, Ms Sadhna m, Mrs Juneja, Mrs S Gupta, Mrs Varshney G, Kang, A.Tulli, M Pandey, S.Chanana, P Gulyani, A Gupta, Mrs Mani Shankar, Mrs Goswami, Mrs S.Chandra, Mrs.S Khurana, Mrs Dixit , Mrs S Maheswari, P Rajyalaxmi, Mrs N .Sampath. Counsellor Ms Ritu Johari, young PTIs Mr Amarjeet and Mr Yadav and few others had joined during Mr Mohindroo’s tenure. Senior staff members Mrs Raghubir, Mrs Khanna, Mrs Chowdhry, Mrs Dayal, Mrs Madan, Mrs Das, Mrs Mehta and few others also retired .
The old school canteen that many of you remember manned by Amar Singh, Lakhwar and Bharat Singh who made the unforgettable bread pakoras and alu tiki was shifted to the Art and Science Complex and given on a contract to Mr Kutty. By now the staff strengths of all categories had increased and several welfare issues came up. All of us are very grateful to Mrs Diwan ,Mr Sidhu, Mrs Dimri and Mrs Batra for having stood up for us and having boldly taken up these issues with the management and getting them resolved in our favour .
Mr K.K. Mohindroo retired in mid 1997. Mrs.S.Walia was the School Principal from mid 1997- mid 1999. In August 1999,I was appointed as the AFBBS Principal, I had come a long way; as a class teacher,subject teacher, HOD – Political Science & Incharge of many co -curricular Activities and the Vice Principal. I personally knew all the staff members with whom I had worked for many years, hence it was comfortable for me to take the school forward. Mr Goel became the Vice-Principal, with his and the Senior Staffs help we took various measures to improve upon the School Discipline and Academics .
In 2000 ,the Management introduced Technology in School Administration and Class Room teaching. Computer Education was compulsory for all. AFBBS over the years had a very dedicated Support Staff, you all remember Ramadhin, Bahadur, Amar Singh, Lakhwar , Bharat, Banti , Veena, Amravati,Sudesh ,Dubayji ,Hiralal, Mahinder, Dayal Singh, Changa, Ramjilal and many others. Most of them were living in old huts behind the school,as a group they came to my office and requested me to help them improve their living conditions. I was very keen to take up their case, one because they were an important and dedicated part of the school staff, secondly, their children were our students and they needed to live and play in a better environment. With Mr Wadhwani’s and Mr Duggal’s help, a case was prepared to construct new Staff Quarters for them. When I presented their case, Management graciously accepted and sanctioned funds for the new construction .
From 1992 to March 2004, I stayed on the School campus. I got a chance to interact more with Staff on campus and the hostlers. We enjoyed the garden outside Principal’s Bungalow. Ramashray and his team grew prize winning Roses,Sweet – Peas, Dahlias and Chrysanthemums.A mongoose family also lived underground . By this time our sons Amol and Ajoy had excelled in their School St.Columba’s, St.Stephen’s College and Management Institutes XLRI Jamshedpur and IIM Ahmadabad and were well settled in their jobs; married and posted abroad. We have four adorable grand children .
My Dear Students, the greatest strength of an institute of learning is it’s Alumni. Over the years, you have given a lot of respect and affection to all of us. You have made AFBBS what it is today .
I cherish the smiles, the greetings and innocent pranks that I encountered every day. knew all your hiding corners but pretended not to. In March 2004, I retired with a sense of achievement and satisfaction, for having worked in an enjoyable, friendly, respectful, academic institution. was happy to handover the Office to Mr S C Goel.
Mr.Titus and I shifted to Titus Cottage that we had built in India’s greatest Village called Gurgaon. As I have been travelling often, it has been a pleasure to run into some of you in different Countries, Airports and On Flight. A friendly visit or a phone call from some of you makes me happy.
I want to share what I have learnt from my Children, Students and Grand Children over the years. The simplest way to happiness –Live, Love, Learn, Think, Give, Laugh, Try .
Thank you for re-connecting .
Best Wishes to all of you .
Thank you Ma’am for the lovely transcript of your incredible journey at BBAFS / AFBBS
With Respect & Gratitude !