RemiXXX, our XXX-year reunion
By Jaideep Lakshminarayanan and Sankar Krishnan
Six years had passed since the events of the Jolly Wacky Silver Reunion, and the Class of ‘92 was getting restive. Battles had had to be fought over WhatsApp instead of across the table, and spirited Zoom calls had proved inadequate substitutes. Thanks to our liberal use of turmeric and the regular clanking of kitchen utensils, we had finally navigated through the Covid crisis; the time was nigh to get into planning overdrive for the next in-person reunion.
The reunion’s Organizing Committee (OC for short; folks tended to use more creative, if politically incorrect, expansions for it) assembled itself. Its membership was fluid – at last count, 73% of the class had at some time or the other been on the OC; periodically, someone would leave in a fit of pique, only for FOMO to kick in after a few hours, making them sheepishly rejoin. The OC decided, in its infinite wisdom, to survey all classmates and discover precisely what they wanted. Unfortunately, their zeal made them forget that at any given moment, a ’92 batch WIMWIan held at least seven different and often contradictory opinions on any single topic. This trait was magnified by the enthusiastic communication our close-knit class incessantly indulged in, through eight primary and over twenty secondary WhatsApp groups, resulting in glorious discord! Unsurprisingly, then, the survey concluded that our reunion needed to be:
- On a weekend in early December, but right after the Christmas holidays;
- In an internationally well-connected major city, yet on a hill station far from the madding crowd and, of course, within walking distance to the beach;
- In an eco-friendly resort with rustic vegan simplicity, yet designed for over-the-top luxury;
- Chock-a-block with activities and professional entertainers, including Beyonce and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, albeit without any structured events, giving enough time for relaxed conversation and lazy poolside chats.
To square this circle, the OC finally decided on the Marie Antoinette solution that satisfied “all” of these requirements: three weekdays on campus, with delectable treats from Gopi, chai from Rambhai’s, and music performed by whoever managed to get hold of the microphone. And what a blast we had!
Fifty-odd classmates, all fifty-plus and pretty odd themselves, along with some spouses and kids, travelled to celebrate RemiXXX / RelaXXX / ReduXXX and were immediately transported XXX years into the past.
We started with a gossipy fun quiz about our campus years – it turns out some of us still remember every made-up scandal, while others have even forgotten their section! This was followed by a highly engaging conversation with sports legend Geet Sethi, discussing perspectives on happiness, success in sports, life, the universe, and everything. The launch concluded with a 10-minute montage of the best photographs from our “Books, Pics, Pets” WhatsApp group, with background music by four of our most talented singers.
In keeping with the spirit of ReduXXX, the evening dances, musical performances (“dance” and “music” here used in the broadest sense of the words), casual games, and “quiz” were set to the soundtrack of ‘90s music. Realizing that keeping the high-spirited attendees on track was akin to herding cats and that quality was at a premium, we brought in an event management firm, a guest MC and skilled choreographers who injected some discipline, verve and quality into the proceedings. We learned that while you can’t teach an old WIMWIan new steps, watching the process is absolutely hilarious!
Most of us slept in on the morning after. However, our more energetic classmates decided to work out to shed the kilos gained during the reunion. Some went for a 5km walk; some took to the field to re-live the sporting successes of their youth (while simultaneously expressing relief at not having to play frisbee against the current students); some adventurous souls tried a high-speed cycling expedition around Ahmedabad. These laudable attempts were unfortunately followed by what can only be delicately described as pigging on the vast array of extremely high-calorie pseudo-Gujarati snacks right after!
Turning to serious matters, we discussed the many causes the batch has supported over the years and debated the future areas to focus on. The class can be justifiably proud of its deep-rooted “giving back” spirit, the trust we’ve reposed in each other in managing the processes, and the impact of our efforts.
We deeply cherished the nostalgic meeting with our professors over dinner on the Tower Lawns. Finally, a highlight of the reunion was a carefully curated conversation about the things that really matter, under the Chatham House Rule.
Many spontaneous activities added to the fun. Late-night bun-anda and chai sessions, catered by Rambhai, rolled back the years to when we were younger, life was simpler, and the worst eventuality was getting yesterday’s test grades.
Another after-midnight event that will long be remembered was the impromptu live screening of the Brazil World Cup game, as the “Joga Bonito” boys took on their South Korean challengers. The game was riveting, but more so was the live “commentary” and the friendly, if chaotic, betting on increasingly irrelevant outcomes. It was as though we were again in the old TV room watching sports together. All was fun and games until right at the end when we realized that some of the faculty were sitting in the last row, no doubt re-evaluating their life choices if students like us were indeed the shining successes of their careers!
At the end of RemiXXX 2022, as people reluctantly said their goodbyes and went off with their elegantly designed mementos, we noticed a remarkable phenomenon. Where previously each of us had held the afore-mentioned seven opinions per topic, and even each of our opinions had their own opinions, now there was perfect consensus:
- RemiXXX 2022 had been tons of fun
- For those who missed it – un sab ki leli!
- The OC should start work on the next reunion asap, perhaps with a survey to get everyone’s preferences
Oh well, plus ça change!