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11 Apr

The Wisdom Tree Global School Anthem


I went to one of India’s premier boarding schools in the mid-seventies. Thirty-five years later, a school reunion brought schoolmates together. Meeting as adults with children as old as we were when we left school, or even older, some with grandchildren too, we realized that the bond hasn’t loosened one bit. Many of us were already clued into each other’s lives, thanks to social media connects, but meeting in person was completely

overwhelming, with lots of catching up and loads of nostalgia. As the evening danced it’s way into the night with much bonhomie and laughter, at one point, all of us got together to hold hands, form a circle and sing our school song. There were seniors from the batches of 50’s, through the intervening batches, until the batches of the early nineties. As we sang our hearts out, I realized that each one of us had the school song embedded in our beings, and singing it together after all these years, evoked a sense of belonging, and, of being rooted to our alma mater that had nourished us, nurtured us, chiseled us and polished us to make us what we are today.

About ten months ago, my friend Ratnamala told me that she is embarking on a school project. I was thrilled to hear this as it was something after my heart. We brainstormed on a name for the school, and in a few days the project was underway.

Sitting in my office a few days later, I suddenly felt a desire to write a song for the school. I caught and scrawled the thoughts as they swam and drifted through my mind. It was straight from the heart, unplanned, unorganized, and quite effortless. But somehow the simple expressions made sense to everyone who read it, and, by the end of the day, it was adopted as the school anthem for The Wisdom Tree Global School.

The next task was to compose a tune for the anthem. The school founders wanted a timeless composition, something that would be catchy and appealing, and create that feeling of belonging and pride in the institution in the minds and hearts of the students and teachers who would sing the anthem, for generations to come. After some discussions amongst us, I got in touch, eminent singer Partha Sarathy Panigrahi, and, requested him to connect with Padma Shri Hariharan, with whom he had a very close and family-like association since long. Partha Sarathy Panigrahi, incidentally, is the son of Padma Shri Raghunath Panigrahi, and Padma Shri Sanjukta Panigrahi, the iconic first-couple of performing arts in Odisha, with whom Padma Shri Hariharan had very warm and cordial ties. After their initial conversation, he told me to mail the lyrics to Hari ji. A few days later, my jaw dropped, when Hari ji called me to say that he will be composing and singing the school anthem alongwith his son Akshay, and that he found the lyrics very inspiring. Needless to add, we were all on top of the world! For me it was a never-dreamt-of-moment … to write something that would be sung by someone whose fanatic fan I was for many many years now!

A month later, we received the first cut of the composition. Some tweaking followed, and, finally, the school anthem of The Wisdom Tree Global School was formalized in January 2018. Everytime the anthem is played and sun, telling of the spirit, philosophy, and vision behind the institution, its shivers and goosebumps, hope and confidence, joy and pride.

“May you flourish and nourish, O Ageless Wisdom Tree, Under your shade we shall toil, Under your shade we shall grow …”

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