(26 YEARS): PGP 1996 (16-18 DEC, 2022)
Shared by Piyush Doshi, on behalf of the batch
A ONE YEAR BELATED SILVER JUBILEE REUNION
Fate in the form of a pandemic cheated The Class of 96 of its official Silver Jubilee Reunion in December 2021. The consensus amongst the batch was that discretion was the better part of valour and with the rampaging omicron wave and all sorts of rapidly changing restrictions on international travel it was a call we never regretted. A few months later we decided we would try for a reunion on campus in December 2022 – suggestions of having the reunion in Goa were discussed ad nauseum and rejected. The lack of availability of rooms on campus was not a deterrent either. Our able organising committee got us a fabulous rate at the swanky new ITC Narmada located five minutes walk from WIMWI. And so on D-Day, sixty odd alums from around the world accompanied by a smaller number of spouses and children made the pilgrimage back to their alma mater for a one year delayed silver jubilee reunion (which sounds so much nicer than the bland label of a twenty sixth reunion).
The reunion itself was truly a blast from the past with all of us being swamped by waves of nostalgia from 28 years ago. The reunion WhatsApp chat was buzzing with excitement days in advance – with last minute fence sitters being persuaded to change travel plans.
The reunion kicked off with a case study on Sushi Master Jiro (do watch it on youtube / Netflix if interested) – many thanks to Prof Saral Mukherjee for indulging in us and putting up with CP which was probably as if not more arbit than a quarter of a century ago. As somebody joked, Prasanna who is our batch’s resident Japan expert possibly put more CP in those ninety minutes than in his entire two years as a student.
The “old” campus was an oasis of familiarity albeit looked tired and old with the ugly blue steel barricades all over the place. The empty “condemned” dorms looked even sadder – the dark gloomy spiral staircases could well have been from a scene from Hogwarts!
The Reunion zipped by in a blur – Vishalla dinner, touristy shopping at the Campus Souvenir shop, getting to meet some of our Professors (thank you Prof AK Jain, Prof Raghuram, and Prof Rakesh Besant) who kindly spent time with us; KK Sharma who started off as the sole warrior on the dance floor but ended with getting everyone to shake a leg; fifty or more of us crowding into a single hotel room to cut birthday cakes at the stroke of midnight for Raturi and Simha, accompanied by tempo shouts from Madu which are still echoing in our minds. But for me the abiding memory will be of the session at CR-1 where we heard so many hilarious anecdotes for the first time and learnt of new facets to so many classmates – tales of dunking, of CP gone wrong, of dysfunctional marketing groups, of fire crackers singeing a batchmate’s under garments, of nimble classmates escaping through classroom windows and some getting caught! We could have easily gone on for many more hours if lunch had not beckoned. And much thanks to the children and spouses for patiently listening to stories from the past largely about folks they don’t know! And they would have left with the somewhat false impression that all we did in those two years was to party and get upto mischief. The icing on the cake was having several batchmates from around the world join in on this session on Zoom.
A minute’s silence was observed for our three fallen batchmates, all gone too soon – Ashish Joshi, Suresh Menon and Partha Pratim Das (may their souls rest in peace). A sobering reminder of the vagaries of life and that none of us can or should take life for granted. I return home overwhelmed with gratitude – that we had a great time at the reunion, that we were fortunate and blessed to have had a great time together making lifetime bonds and friendships 26 years ago. And for all the “LinkedIn stuff” which happened in between.
For those of you who came, thank you – it was great to catch up. As Rahul “Agro” Agarwal summed it up so articulately – even where we were not close twenty six years ago, we are there for each other today! That is something to be really grateful for. And for those of you who couldn’t make it, we really missed you all and hope to catch up sooner rather than later.
Au revoir – till we meet again. Till our Pearl Reunion (yes, that’s what a thirtieth anniversary is apparently called) four years from now.
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