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Golden Reunion: PGP 73 Reunite at Campus

By Raj Nair, PGP 73

Excitement was palpable as the night of December 7 turned into dawn. About 80 young men and women in their 70s trickled into the campus with their spouses from all over India, USA, Scotland, and Indonesia for Golden Jubilee 1973 (GJ73). By lunchtime, it was a flood, each one carrying suitcases full of sepia tinted memories of five decades ago, some real and some imagined. The scenes that played out at the reception area of IMDC again and again on December 8, assured the Reunion organising committee that things were happening as per plans.

In 1971, when we walked into a strange bare brick campus we were excited but a tad tentative.  When we went out of the portals of IIM Ahmedabad in 1973 with a badge of honour, which was as recognised back then as it is now, we were more sure of ourselves. In 2023, we were still young at heart and no more tentative because we had achieved our professional milestones.

Once upon a time there was a Campus
Where we used to attend a class or two,
Remember how we laughed away the hours
Thinking of all the great things we would do?

Those were the days, my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way


Then the busy years went rushing by us
We lost our starry notions on the way
Then we came to IIMA from everywhere
In 2023 to smile and be happy and gay

Those two days, my dear friend
We thought GJ73 would never end
We sang and danced, drank, and ate
We did in between, even meditate
We brought back old times in many ways
Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days

At night we roamed where our dreams were born

Many things didn’t seem the way they used to be
In the dark, I saw my dorm all sad n worn
Older and more jaded than me.


Then I heard sounds and a familiar laughter
I saw your face and heard you call my name
Oh, my friend, we’re older but no wiser
For in our hearts, the dreams are still the same

(With due apologies to Mary Hopkin and the songwriter Gene Raskin)

On our GJ73 whatsapp group, three months of pre-Golden Jubilee camaraderie flowed smoothly into our planned events on the campus, which  started with a great session, specially curated for active participation by our ustad, Vivek Pande. With our hearts primed up, we literally waltzed through other participative joint events, hugging sessions, campus tours, specific visits to our old dorms that are mournfully awaiting demolition, the dinner hosted by the Institute and our own gala dinner, beverages which greased our creaking joints and made CP flow effortlessly, chatty gatherings over breakfasts and lunches, trips to Sabarmati Ashram, shopping, the heritage walk, etc.

The campfire after the gala dinner in the cool Ahmedabad winter brought back memories of similar events of 1971-73. Talented batchmates and spouses  belted out period songs and new ones were sung by current students. The talent on display was awesome. Dean Sunil Maheshwari made our event special on December 9 by delivering a talk to apprise us about how IIMA had progressed over the years when we were away and busy with our own lives. He also talked about his  plans to create strong Alumni – IIMA bonding, a clearly missing tile in IIMA’s beautiful mosaic. He also presided over the ‘mock convocation’ at which each of us received a shawl and a very special memento which will be preserved by our progeny- a crystal glass cuboid into which each person’s 3-D image was laser engraved. The latter was a well-kept secret till the moment arrived.

The gracious students of PGP 1 and 2 were not only a great help throughout but they even had their professional quality music band entertaining us with wonderful numbers. Our own talented singers and dancers took to the stage to make both nights memorable. It was pure nostalgia to felicitate our teachers– Prof Indira Parikh, Prof Sasi Mishra, and our student contemporary, Professor A K Jain, talking about the old times and new. Quite by chance, Prof C Rangarajan who taught us finance and went on to become the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, was in Ahmedabad. Since he is old and feeble, a small group of students felicitated him at his son’s home, on behalf of our batch.

There were also excellent spiritual interludes in an adda which brought out the best in brotherhood (gender neutral) and on the CR2 Lawn which was more meditative. In both, the spirit of life was imbibed. As one who popped into them, I can assure you that both were excellent.  The bonhomie in the adda was incredible as expected and the sincere attention at the latter was admirable. Both these continue post the GJ event. A special thanks to Kalpana Raval, spouse of our dear departed classmate, Kirit Raval. She provided us with more lovely snacks than we could possibly consume. We cannot forget the spirit of Mridula Gupta, wife of our good friend, Ravi Raj Gupta who passed away not long ago. She attended the event despite nurturing a fractured leg but would not drop out.  Thanks are due to our old friend, Commander Malik who helped us immensely and hosted a few of us for lunch at his home after the GJ73 reunion.

We remembered all our much-loved batchmates who are no more. We spoke about them, funny incidents, and their achievements. We also had some unfortunate dropouts at the very last minute. One passed away and another suffered a fracture. It also included two members of our small organising committee– Vijayaraghavan (Viju) who had to undergo an urgent surgical intervention and Jerry Rao too for medical reasons. We have come to accept that at our age, everyone would be nursing some medical or physical challenge, big or small. Viju was the backbone of our organising committee which comprised, besides him, Sunil Kala, Vivek Pande, Jerry Rao, Deepa Mohan, Peter Menezes, Shankar H, and yours truly. There was tremendous teamwork all through the weekly meetings for several months. Without Viju and Shankar’s outstanding efforts the quality of the event would not have been what it was. Shobha (Shankar) who was all the while working silently in the background, stepped up when Viju was hors de combat.  Together the three of them, put together the  fascinating Yearbook while Peter has volunteered to create a hard copy.

Jerry’s efforts led to a collection drive for the Batch’s donation to create a corpus to pay for the fee at IIMA  for a girl student from an economically challenged background. The collection was doubled during the GJ, thanks to the persuasive efforts of Palani Kumar. I merely assisted all of them in my little way. Ashmita from the Alumni and External Relations Office and Chhavi Moodgal, CEO of the Endowment Fund, deserve a special mention for their help. We cannot forget to be grateful to the Late Victor Periera who got the programme planning started in July when he spent hours with me to guide me based on his vast experience. He later guided me on the phone even from his hospital bed. Alumni across batches will miss this wonderful person.

Right before and after the GJ73 event on the campus, there were optional satellite events at the Statue of Unity and in the Rann of Kutch respectively for some who wanted to visit them. Partying continues post GJ73, as there have been numerous smaller group gatherings which bear testimony to the wonderful experience that we had on the campus.  Another wonderful factoid: The GJ73 WhatsApp group is buzzing every day two months after we got together.  About 53 of the 65 participants have posted at least once since Christmas, way past the honeymoon period.

Friends were reunited and that’s what mattered.




AUTHOR: admin
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