By Prof. Atanu Ghosh
The 40th year Reunion [FRU] of the 82 batchmates from PGP82 batch turned out to be a spectacular show of the bonding this batch and a memorable event with lasting impression. Around 40 of them joined with their spouses and 5 of them were accompanied by their son/daughter. Broadcasting of some important events enable several batchmates and our teacher-professors watching the event online.
We were so glad that we could assemble in such a fairly large number, at the same campus after a long journey of 40 years.
Unfortunately, we have lost 11 batch mates who are no more with us and left us too early. Many professors who taught our batch at this Institute have passed away and we all very fondly remembered them. We started the inaugural session by observing one-minute silence in memory of their departed souls.
Since you met at our Silver Jubilee Reunion 16 years back, a lot has happened in our lives. Apart from ageing and receding hairline, some of us have completed hectic corporate/professional careers, most of our children have completed their education, started their professional careers, many of them got married, many of us have become grandparents, some of us have started second innings or pursuing some hobbies or initiatives close to our heart.
Many of our batch mates have also made us continuously proud by their spectacular achievements and being recognised for their contributions. To mention about a few – receiving of the Padmashree award by S P Kothari; Piyush Gupta chosen as the Global Indian of The Year, at The Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence 2020; Ranjana being recognised as one of the Most Powerful Women in Banking; Amit Khare currently serving as the advisor to the Prime Minister; J S Raju, a respected Professor of Marketing at Wharton Business School, has been closely associated with ISB from its very inception; Sunny Verghese, founder and CEO of Olam international kept making headlines in Singapore and there are many more with such outstanding achievements in their own sphere of activities.
This FRU gathering happened only because of keen interest among the batch mates to meet each other face-to-face and because of some initiator catalyst like Piyush Gupta.
This event marked the culmination of a long tiring journey of four of us in the self-nominated core group (Arun, Shashi, Piyush and self) who were supported by several people within the batch, institute alumni office and outside. We shared the work. Arun led the efforts for creating of Souvenir book (the Memorabilia), Shashi led the cultural events programming and extension programme of visiting a few places in Gujarat post the main event on the campus, Piyush generally pitched in and kept bringing some great ideas and your truly was trying to do overall coordination and reach out to our professors, convincing many passive batchmates to join and coordinate with the institute administration.
We expressed our heartfelt thanks for the generous contributions of a few classmates in making 40th Reunion memorable – V Shanmugham for the T-Shirts and shawls for our teachers and spouses; K Raghuram for the personalized Coffee Mugs; S P Kothari for hosting dinner for all at Vishala and Piyush Gupta for funding the production cost of the Memorabilia.
SP and Piyush also came forward to assure us of bridging any financial gap, between the actual expenses and the contribution collected towards common expenses from the batch mates.
Mr Victor has gone out of his way to help us in several ways to organise this event. It would have not been possible to have this memorable experience without his active support and involvement. He came up with a very creative idea of putting up a collage with Then (1980s) and Now (2022) photographs of all to welcome us to the campus.
Ralhan took the responsibility for getting customised T-shirts (including getting Reunion logo designed) and the shawls for the faculty, procured from reliable sources to ensure the best quality for us.
Shashi was actively supported by Gautham, Vikram, Nandu, Paul, Chopsy, Neeta, Rasaily, Venki and Meenu for organising the social and cultural evenings on 2nd and 3rd.
Gita Iyer for supported planting of 40 saplings. The idea was floated by Manoj Das.
The FRU started with a New Campus tour to see the infrastructural developments that have taken place over last 16 years. Then we had gone for Ahmedabad City tour – Kankaria Lake and River Front.
There was a REUNION EVE GETTOGETHER for warming up through an Introduction, cake cutting, Quiz and Fun activities at LKP.
The INAUGURAL SESSION on 3rd December morning started with brief overview of the Reunion programme, some milestone events and achievements of PGP82s. The interesting section of this session was to listen to some of the unique, exciting and interesting career experiences and great achievements of our batchmates in diverse areas – Art/Culture, Civil Services, Social Sector, Academia, Business etc. There was a separate session (post lunch) with the current PGPs, where the entrepreneurs from our batch were invited to participate and share their journeys/experiences.
The next session started with the release of The Memorabilia by two former directors of IIMA – Prof Pradip Khandwalla and Prof Jahar Saha.
We welcomed our respected teacher professors, who made enormous contribution is shaping our foundation and helped building our careers. We fondly remembered their sincere efforts inside and outside the classroom and felicitated each one of them who were present there. We were fortunate to have with us Profs Indira Parikh, AH Kalro, Pradip Khandwala, TV Rao, G S Gupta, Venkat V Rao, CG Ranade, K V Ramani, Ramadhar Singh, BH Jajoo, Anil Gupta, Jahar Saha and D Pestonjee. They shared some of the interesting memories about our batch, their own experiences with the institute and left us with some food for thought.
Profs C Rangarajan and Vijay Govindarajan wished us through video recorded messages and shared very rich thoughts.
The evening was enjoyed by everyone watching a grand cultural evening – 82ers Got Talent. Many batchmates and their family displayed their talent by presenting songs, dance, qawwali, poems/shayari. Those who enthralled the audience with their performances are Shashi, Aparna, Gita Iyer, Dhanker and team, Gautham, Patralekha Dasgupta, Sanjay Kumar, Nandu, Hashit, Usha Bharatkumar, Suren, Vekat, Anubha, Kokila, Chopsy, Geese, Kamal, Nandini, and others.
The last day – 4th December 2022 event started with plantation of 40 saplings near IMDC by Prof Samir Barua and a few of our batchmates, to mark our 40th Year Reunion of the batch.
We had a very interactive and engaging session with Prof Samir Barua, through a very interesting case discussion on a very recent much publicised issue.
We had an Interaction with the Director, who briefed us about the recent developments at the institute – research initiatives, ranking of IIMA, logo change and demolition of old buildings. While our batch appreciated the initiatives taken to improve on research and publications in reputed journals, we expressed strong displeasure against the logo change decision of a beautiful, well established and respected logo for no convincing reason, in line with the opinions of many alumni across batches, several former and current faculties of the institute. Many of our batchmates also suggested to retain the external façade of the existing building while these are replaced with the new ones.
Interested spouses had gone for a visit to Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum and to Ahmedabad haat for shopping.
Post lunch, we were taken through a journey down memory lane through a Case discussion by Prof Abhinandan Jain.
There was some friendly cricket match and practice on the cricket ground.
The event came to an end by a having a Gala Dinner at Vishala after some entertaining performances by local artists.