Category Archives: Personal Memoirs

Personal Experiences

Reunion – Class of ’86

My imaginary journey for reunion began the day Thakur, Shukla and the gang made me to take charge of reunion. My experience has to begin from then. Initially I had no clue how to start. I started talking to people whom I knew or could reach out. Got ideas and thoughts — a kind of unstructured brainstorming.

Pre-Reunion

Internet and Facebook were my initial support system (they incidentally remained biggest support system). They deserve a BIG THANK for the great Reunion we had. The first thing that I fixed was Hotel. I know from my past experience, that as the date becomes nearer, the cost of the hotels go up significantly. After speaking to several hotels, I found Clarke good from several angle?

1.         It was place we had lot of memories attached. (They put a ban on unlimited deserts after a competitive evening for ice creams by Kamakkal group)

2.         The hotel was giving a package that was comprehensive. Others were only willing to do some bits of it.

3.         They were the most economical in the category.

4.         They were the only one who had access to the Palace. (The dinner at palace was a memorable experience. A royal one)

The next challenge was to also get the dates. This also went through several cycles of discussion. We all were clear that it has to happen in 2011 only. A date agreed by most was around 25th December. But the Reunion Cell in charge Prof Mukherjee said it would not be good choice for following reason:

1.         The dates coincided with BHU’s general reunion, which was a VVIP game. I was also told that availability of Director and HODs would be questionable.

2.         The institutes would have reopened only after reunion (as early dates)

3.         Messes would not be available.

Finally dates were fixed. That was necessary for me to plan other things. The biggest challenge was what to do during the three days. There was a need to optimize following expectation.

1.         Meeting all folks after a long time.

2.         Going to places where we all went during our golden years. (Not all places was possible with families around, but as much as possible)

3.         Since a good number of wives and children were expected, it was necessary to package something that would interest them as well.

4.         Use the package from hotel as much as possible. This was necessary to keep the cost low.

Thus came the program that all of us enjoyed. Those who could not make it have certainly missed something significant. Some of our folks who met/ spoke to me after the event were feeling missed once they knew how it went.

The next challenge was the budget and collection. We had a debate on whether the money should be collected per student or per member. Finally we believed that the reunion is ours and families are guest to see our old “…..MATES”, Profs, Messes, Hostels etc. We initially estimated a budget based on 80 batch mates and 125 in total.

Then started follow up for confirmation on attendance and collection. I thank to advice by our Income Tax Commissioner (Parbat Bhai) for opening a separate account. The new account actually made it little easy for me manage as my all other accounts are not in my control. I am happy with that arrangement as my requirements of money are met.

Then the discussion what can be done to Profs and institute.  It was decided to provide mementos customized for the occasion to the Profs. I proposed the idea of scholarship to needy students. I was too glad to see an acceptance to the proposal. Scholarship to needy student is too close to my heart. I would not have were I am without the help of generous people and interestingly a most of them my friends. My friends helped me without expecting anything in return throughout my life.

There are few people like Shukla, Deepak, Anshuman, Prema and few others played a key role in increasing the number of attendees. The entire journey of preparation was an experience. The management of contradictions and conflicting interests had to be tackled. Thakur and Shukla was my bouncing board on many occasion.

Suddenly an idea of t-shirts emerged. The t-shirts were made the colour was chosen based on most popular choice.

Over all it was learning experience for me. It was also enjoyable experience as I was suddenly speaking to and meeting several of my batch mates. That was the real excitement.

Reunion

Day 1

My reunion started on 28th morning, when I picked up Subramanian (Suby) of mech on the way to airport. I met him first time though we have been speaking over phone for more than 2-3 years. Mohan Gupta joined at airport. We all were traveling to Varanasi by same flight. We had a good cup of coffee. After a changeover (of flight) at Kolkata, we landed at Varanasi airport. I had been to Varanasi airport on couple of occasions around 9-10 years back. I thought our flight has landed in a wrong airport. The airport was a new one and probably the only positive change that we could notice.

The car was there to pick us up. We decided to eat something before reaching hostel. The driver was keen to take us to a hotel which was multi-cuisine. But we decided to give it a miss. We came to a small fast food joint. That happened to be a good decision. I had Roti stuffed with Sattu. It is such a great thing to have. I was having it after a long time.  I almost over ate. We reached guest house near Limbdi Hostel. The students of Reunion Cell were there to receive us. They did a good job of arranging various things for us. Particularly Karan did a good job.

The guest house was good. We got a feel of staying in hostel. Rooms were spacious. The bath was decent and the rooms had hot water facility.

I moved to hotel as I had few things to organize. We made an identity tags for all and that became a big hit. Everyone wanted it. It also helps us in connecting name to face.

It was great to see the cheers and joy of meeting folks after such a long gap. The kick of meeting was more than what the best of whiskey or Tharra can give. While all of us busy with individual talking, RK took the centre stage in his typical style. He made the evening by making each one of us introduce and have fun with current and past. The dance floor arranged actually was not used as the “musti” generated by RK was far superior to anything else. I had Rabri for the dinner. One cannot beat the Rabri of Varanasi. I have not tasted a substitute for this so far.

We had to return to guest house. But we continued our party at Guest House till about 12.30 AM.  The photos of day 1 can be found here

Day 2

Day began with a visit to the Chemical Engineering Department. Met Prof A K Verma, who is currently HOD. We met several others. We also faced an ugly situation of protest by some professors. I felt bad that senior professors (who are expected to be matured) were using our visit as occasion to raise their voice in protest to the HOD. There was some issue relating to some disciplinary action taken by HOD and the Institute. I did not want to get into merits and demerits of the case, but I knew that some of the professors who should have attended our formal reunion function would not attend.

The labs have not changed. They actually looked older. I did not get impression of any new addition. Many of the laboratories have been expanded to accommodate larger batch sizes. The library size has also increased. The maintenance of the lobby and the surrounding has definitely deteriorated.

After the visit to Department, I went to Rajputana where I spent 2 years. I was surprised to see that there were 3 in a room. The entire hostel is full of 1st year students only.  There are 110-125 students in each branch. The good part was that hostel lawn and open space was well maintained. I could also see the internet cables all over. The rooms had fans and internet access. The mess has gone through positive change. The eating space is bigger, the kitchen has become better. The cutleries are now better.

Now when I wanted to have a break, I decided to go to our popular joint Rajputana Corner. These corners have changed a lot. Now there are no benches. There are juice stalls. I had a samosa and cup of tea at Rajputana corner tea shop. Pape (Sumit) joined for the tea. He just arrived. I went to Vishveshwarayya along with him. In our time we had Momo (Mohan Gupta) who had a moped. Now many of the students have motor-bikes. We saw some of them having car as well (They are today’s Momo). The hostel now has a third floor. There are 2 students in one room in all the years. The mess has not changed much here.

It was now time for visiting Morvi. This was my first year hostel. The students had arranged a ROBOTICS show exclusively for us. The lunch was arranged at Morvi. The lunch was prepared by Maharajs of mess. Since we had this large lunch over there, we had invited all the students of Morvi hostel for the lunch. It was time for me to move to G-11 for the formal function.

It was a good exercise of getting through the red tape at BHU for getting an audio system for G-11 program.  I was shocked to see the status of the room. The chairs were dirty; the stage was in huge mess. It took some time and few hundred rupees to get the entire thing cleaned.

Finally the hall started getting filled. A good number of professors also came in. A lot of us were going to several photo sessions with their teachers. The formal function started with playing Kulgeet. Most of us sang the Kulgeet along with the lead from the recorded file. We paid respect to 2 our batch mates who passed away. Then it was time to pay respect to our teachers. I requested the kids to handover flowers to the teachers. One representative from each department came forward to share their experience. I requested to the better halves to give away mementoes to the teachers. While receiving mementoes, each of the teachers said a few words. The most satisfactory part of the event for me was presence of Shri R N Pandey. I cannot forget him and he is my model. I always use him as example in some of many training and mentoring session. Mementos were also given to the students who had played a key role in organizing the event.

On behalf of the Class of ’86, I also announced the Scholarship Scheme for needy students.

The focus shifted to the evening dinner. The professors were invited with family for the dinner. The student coordinators were also invited for the dinner. A classical dance performance was arranged for the evening. The troupe was led by Sri P.C. Hombal, who is Head of Department at BHU’s School of Performing Arts. He was supported by 2 dancers (one being his wife and the other was their student). It was a great performance. We had a few other interesting events.

  1. Sanjay Singh has made an Audio CD of his songs. The CD was released by the Director – Institute of Technology. He also sang a few lines from the CD.
  2. Fund was collected to support TECHNEX  2012.
  3. Kids performed on stage

The dinner on this day for me was primarily Litti Choka and Lavanglata. The Varanasi special.

RK has arranged a Bonfire with a music band from institute in the night at Guest House. The fun continued till late night about 1.00 AM. Many of our singer batch mates were in full form. It was very close to the experience at KP.

Photos of day 2 are  categorised as below:

  1. Lunch @ Morvi Hostel
  2. Formal Function at G-11
  3. Second Day of Reunion

Day 3

Day began with a trip to Sarnath. There were few confusions and delay in the bus, but it did not made any impact on the spirit of fun and joy. Breakfast was arranged in the lawns of main temple at Sarnath. The location was between Stupa and the Deer park. The breakfast had Varanasi touch (Puri, sabji and Jalebi). I wanted to a lot in the gap but was too tired to do anything further. Came to guesthouse and rested for some time before the evening program.

In the evening, I landed up at Assi Ghat (the starting point of our Boat ride). Six (6) boats left Assi Ghat with folks and their family members. Boats were anchored close to Dashashwamedh Ghat – the venue for the Evening Aarthy.

Seeing the aarthy was a joy of life. It is a blissful experience to see the way it is performed. We all left the place to reach Raja Ghat. The name of this ghat created enough confusion. Many drivers confused Raja Ghat with Raj Ghat. For those who might have forgotten, Raj Ghat is the last ghat in Varanasi. Raja Ghat had a Peshwa palace. We were welcome with a special aarthy. Ladies and children floated lamps in Ganges. Rajesh darak performed a ballet with a Bottle on his head on the ghat.

We went into the Palace. The welcome drink was a tea in Kulhar (the earthen cup) and a Flavoured Thandai.  Gazhal program was arranged for the evening. A local singer with a good voice has rendered several popular numbers. The ghazal was followed with dinner. A royal treat was ensured.

On way to Guest House, I landed up consuming Rabri and Milk at Pahalwan. How can the trip to BHU be over without having something at Pahalwan? At guest house our party continued till about 1.00 AM. We had fun with combinations of DIL and JAAN in hindi songs.

I had to close this party as I had to go to Vishwanath Temple at about 2.00 AM.

Day 3 photographs are at

  1. Boat Ride and Ganga Aarti
  2. Dinner at Palace

 

Day 4

I could not make any trips to temple till this day. I went to Vishwanath Temple at 2.00 AM along with Bhupesh Dinger and Family. We landed up at temple at about 2.30 AM. Security at temple was tight. Even pencils are not permitted inside the temple. We went inside temple at 3.00 AM. We were practically locked inside. The morning prayers and abhiskekam was being performed amidst chanting of Vedic mantras. I chanted as much as I could along with the Pundits in the temple. Many of those mantras were known to me by practice. What a divine sight and such peaceful darhsan of Bhole Baba. Of course there were active monkeys inside. One of them took something from Bhupesh’s tokdi of Prasad. We were let out at 4.00 AM. We went to Annapurni Temple opposite Vishwanath temple. From there we wanted to visit Durga Temple at Durga Kund and Sankat Mochan. It appeared we were too early there. So we went to Lanka and had a cup of tea and some bun jam for Bhupesh Dinger’s kids. We landed up at Sankat Mochan at about 5.00 AM. It was a great darshan as being Saturday there was special aarthy at the temple. From there we went to Durga temple at Durga Kund. After all these darshan, I got down at Vishwanath Temple in BHU campus. I spent some time inside temple. It was a longtime after which I had such a peaceful time.

After this I had  enough time to wind up the stay and plan to return. While Bhupesh and Sumit (with their families) were there with me till Kolkata, but I always had feeling of being surrounded by scores of batch mates and their family till I reached Chennai.

The memories of reunion will linger for long. I have now got into formalizing society/ trust. This would definitely keep the reunion memories alive as long as the scholarship continues.  I just wanted to put down my recollections of the reunion. I missed my room partner Dinesh (Civil). He was scheduled but he fell ill just in time. While it was a tough task for me balance between the attention that my business requires and managing reunion, but the love and affection of the bathmats and their family members made the task energetic.