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All is well at Rancho’s school

Tarun Upadhay, Hindustan Times (11 August 2010) download article in PDF format - It may take a little while before all is indeed well at Rancho’s school. But the school featured in the hit film 3 Idiots — in which actor Aamir Khan played the role of Rancho, a brilliant engineering student who later starts a school in Ladakh — will reopen on Thursday.

The Druk White Lotus School in Shey, 15km from Leh town, was shut after last week's flash floods. Though all students of the school are safe and there has been no damage to the buildings (contrary to some media reports), a portion of the school is filled with muck. Students and volunteers are helping with the clean-up.

Memories of the film keep them in good spirits. Some students, lined up to remove the mud, hand over muck-filled pans to those next in the line with a smile and a quip from the film — “tohfa kabool karo (accept the gift)”.

Skalzang Dorje, a Class 4 student, greets you, perhaps a tad predictably, with an “all is well”, another popular 3 Idiots line.

Dorje, who has temporarily moved to another building in the complex, was on the campus when the film was shot.

“I have met Aamir,” he said, with pride. He said he wanted his school to be clean at the earliest so that he could “study and play”.

After Friday’s cloudbursts, flood waters entered five buildings of the school complex that were on a lower elevation, filling them with muck.

“Exams are in October. So we will start classes from Thursday in buildings that are clean,” said school principal Prasad Eledath. “We will conduct oral exams of smaller classes to compensate for the loss of time, as classes will be held in a phased manner due to space constraint.”

The Druk White Lotus School provides students with an education that aims to blend Ladakhi culture with modern education.