Blast from the past – reunion part 3

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Short clip done by Jeri

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The logo created by Satish,our brand and ad guru

I am still raving and ranting, as my son put it, even after two days, resurrected and feeling forever young after our TSM reunion.

For those who missed out on the run ups, you can still get the background here and of course part 2 is posted here .

The reconnect just happened with no precursors or heralds, but a meagre 100 messages on the Whats app and the grand homecoming had begun with a bang and like the big bang theory, the genesis can never be explained in plain simple terms!

I rehearsed and rehearsed on how to talk, smile, laugh, shake and hold hands, hug and act civilized, cultured and well mannered when I would meet them but despite all the dry runs to tweak the expressions and habits, all the practice sessions went for a toss and the reactions were all spontaneous, instinctive, uncontrolled and unsophisticated  and I realized that the ‘antiques’, in the form of old friends are the best collections that are priceless and immortal and the biggest blessing is when you shed all your inhibitions and still be stupid with them all.

And when did meet after 25 glorious years at Madurai last weekend, at the fancied Taj Gateway at Pasumalai , an exotic hotel, atop a hillock, overlooking the temple town, with the magnificent gopurams, an affair that I expected to be one of fine dining with refined folks and mellowed conversations , turned out to be uproarious and downright boisterous , a cacophony of excited voices with expressions to match that brought the house down !

Mind you this sound effect was created with just 12 out of a class of 24 making it to the mega bash , hey, that is 50%, well I just realized that!

Everything about the town, and the campus had changed, a metamorphosis of sorts, except for the dry Vaigai, the magnificent Meenakshi temple  and the class of 1992, back together after quarter of a century with the very same looks, the labelled  characteristic smile and the trademark walk, the cohesiveness and the bonhomie and the friendly banter intact, the informal gang dressed in casuals, pulling each others’ legs with no holds barred action!

I was buzzing with excitement from the time the tickets were booked for my journey towards nostalgia, in fact the elation was two -fold as I was visiting my paternal uncle and aunt after the same gap of time.

The virtual chats veered on this subject and the readers will have the joy to partake in some of the snapshots recalled at the end of the post from them!

On the previous day to my date of departure, as I packed my clothes, I was engulfed with emotions and hullabaloo and the mind was a potpourri of reflections and ruminations!

I boarded the Tuticorin express and travelling alongside, was a train load of memories revisited, to keep me company and when the train chugged into the beautiful station at Madurai, my patience of Job had virtually vanished! The joy and happiness were writ large on my uncle, aunt, cousin and nephew’s faces as they beckoned me into the new look home, yes that too had transformed bearing no resemblance to the house that I called home for two long years.

But my fairy God parents were the same albeit older and frailer, armed with the goodies that took me back in time and I quickly wiped away a tear! You would love to go back to that post which will give you a glimpse of my benefactor. A homely breakfast of idli and rasam brought back the aromatic essence of yesterday!

The clock too ticked at the same frenzied pitch and soon it was time to hop into an Ola cab to Taj gateway, the venue for the luncheon get together. I sighted Alfred, Srinivasan, Joseph and Ruben at the balcony of the enchanting lobby, and they looked exactly the same as I left them in the summer of 1992 with warm farewell hugs and handshakes and umpteen au revoirs and good luck greetings. Beneath the thick glasses, heavy rears, greying and balding hair, all of us were quintessentially the same, with the spark and twinkle of 20 year olds!

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Ruben, Joseph, Alfred and Srinivasan with Sunita

The thawing of ice happened in a jiffy with the congeniality and the warmth of the meeting along with a cup of tea brewed by Alfy with all affection. The conversation started with the present – fortunes, fame and family, and the miracle that brought our dear friend Alfy back from the jaws of death much to the relief of his lovely family and friends, but soon it was yesterday once again by which time Uma and her husband joined the repartee. More pleasant banters followed with sentiments of hearts and flowers!

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Warm bear hug from Uma

Amidst the animated conversation, our thoughts travelled to and fro from the past to the present and vice versa and we woefully missed our sidekicks Ahmed, Sujee, Preetha, and others who could not make it due to geographical distances and personal commitments and the ones that were untraceable despite the help rendered by Larry PageSergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg!

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The animated gang at Taj Gateway

The manicured lawns with colourful peacocks, well groomed attenders and the wonderful ambience of the Taj was a perfect setting to let our hair down in style and Ruben’s arrangements were splendid and impeccable to perfection! Girish and Satish were the next to join the gilded clique, and we all soon became the photographer’s delight with our unconventional, off the cuff disposition. The countless clicks of the lenses in candid, free spirited and unpretentious poses as well as the unreal arranged photo ops were happening in tandem and these photographs are treasures to cherish for a lifetime.

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The photographer’s delight ..the class of ’92!

Then we had the unassuming Rengarajan blending into the mix and the teasing, bashing and joshing made our tummies to growl and we headed to the magnificent spread. However, feasting at the banquet hall did not call for any table etiquette and the chatter only grew louder and happier. The selfies and the groupfies accompanied the banter and suddenly there was a roar of jubilation – Our friend Ahmed had messaged that he was at the Madurai airport and would soon join us, Uma fell hook, line and sinker and influenced us to believe that he was capable of these surprises and we started making plans to outwit him only to realize that he had pulled a fast one on us!

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Ready for the big meal at the Taj!

The next hour or two was spent in taking a stroll down memory lane in the lawns, alongside the swimming pool or rather a blast from the past replete with anecdotes that were churned up by the minute. Ganesh, the quietest in the class tagged on but I was truly taken aback by the transformation in his disposition – he was no longer the quiet guy but a talkative and articulate person, the surprise package of the day! Srini was in his elements, evoking the laughter quotient in all of us and the good old days was back again with Satish’s one lined punched dialogues and Ruben’s rhetoric!

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Girish calling me “maami” much to the amusement of others!

The next agenda was the much awaited meeting with the Director, Principal and students of our Alma Mater which was planned very meticulously by our director madam Uma!

Squeezed in Ruben’s abominable Benz and Uma’s grand I10, the drive to our Alma Mater, TSM  in an all new alluring sprawling campus spread over 17 acres of greenery at Thirupparamkundram and home to exotic birds nesting in 9000 varieties of trees was a virtual treat to our eyes!

Mageshwar and Gerald came aboard the TSM reconnect caravan, with the former jetlagged and tired after his father’s grand 80th birthday celebration held earlier in the day but that did not deter his spirits and the smiles in the photographs are ample proof of that. Jeri in his true inimitable style appeared with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile that was reminiscent of the nineties! The man we called Elvis Presley with his flaming orange and luminescent green trousers and the R’s rolled in his English!

Further photograph sessions followed with the full house flaunting their prosperity and the facial muscles working overnight to try and reach the ears on either side. The jaws were working full steam but never exhausted and tired!

TSM got relocated to this new lush green environ in 1998 with a grandiose and imposing building that is easily one of the best in B school categories. Our minds briefly went back to our very own ramshackle campus that was once a mill, where as young eager- to- be management graduates, on the threshold of success and achievements, spent two lovely years blowing away our cobwebs and had the time of our lives!

5PM and time for the interaction session with the director Prof. Gautam Ghosh , the Principal  Dr. M. Selvalakshmi, Prof Sathyamurthy and some handpicked students in the seminar hall. The self introduction round made me to swell with pride, as TSM stood before us in a new avatar, now as an autonomous institution and we were back as self made entrepreneurs, business men and women, corporate honchos, directors and professors of educational institutions, bankers and financial experts, marathon and long distance runners, advertising and media gurus, farm owners, writers and nature enthusiasts! The photographer was making merry with shots of awe inspired students, who without any doubt would have transformed themselves into our chairs and gloated in the glory of success and felt inspired to make their dreams to realities!

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At TSM campus with Director, Principal and Professor
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Dr.Uma with Prof. Gautam Ghosh and Dr. Selvalakshmi

We were served high tea with great warmth and after an hour of tete a tete, went on a guided tour around the campus that was replete with hostels, in house quarters for teachers, tennis and badminton courts, recreational hubs, food courts (run by students also), library and class rooms.

 

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Interaction in our TSM
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The students following us in a trance
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Sipping Chai at TSM
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Gyan to students

My eventful day ended quick as lightning that super charged me with a torrent of memories flooding as a deluge that followed thereafter! A quick farewell with an oath to meet more often and my Cindrella time was over even before it began! Uma, Srini and Joseph were magnanimous to drop me back home and we caught up with more insights on the life and times that whizzed by, and I was in time to spend couple of hours with my folks with the latest add on in the form of my cousin! A round up of the day was presented like in the olden times to my uncle and aunt and then it was time to bid adieu until of course the next time.

The others had the good fortune to carry on with the partying and the next day, ventured to Ruben’s farms laden with banana and coconut trees and Uma invited them over for a lip smacking lunch and the coterie made merry as her twin daughters sat bemused!

I journeyed back home, enriched with the flashback of the nineties, reflecting and in silent retrospection and recollecting the gigantic volume of conversations, with frequent notification buzzes on the phone from the friends who missed out but partook in the fun and frolic through snaps and chats!  

 

I have copied below some of the reactions of my friends here after the reunion wing- ding (without their permission of course!)

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From the archives dug out ….the album of the nineties…courtesy Mageshwar …as Ruben rightly put it …the Bharatiraja era unfolded

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At old TSM campus with Shilpa Dalvi ma’am
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The old TSM campus
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Famed Pandi’s tea shop..stone benches where many a brain storming session took place
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At Kodaikanal
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More from Kodai
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Bike stand at TSM
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Reading room at TSM
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Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree!
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Campus tour once more
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All weather friend!
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Smiles that are miles long!
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Bottled memories
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39 thoughts on “Blast from the past – reunion part 3

  1. Wow, that must have been so nostalgic. I am already imagining the feeling of meeting my people this way after a few years from now. That was a nice video too.

    A suggestion if I may: I see you pasting the full URL of links in the post (ex. Meenakshi temple and older posts). Instead you can link a particular word to the URL. It doesn’t make much difference, yet it’s kind of the usual norm of blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Obliged to you Nandhini for the shower of encomiums. And thanks indeed for bringing to my attention regarding the links to be highlighted with words rather the URL itself. In fact, I was doing that on my other posts but sometimes, I tend to be carried away too much forgetting on these guidelines and I hardly do any proof reading. I have edited the URLs now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds like you had a great time meeting each other again. It must have been interesting to see how people had changed and how they had stayed the same. I was particularly interested to read how Ganesh had changed. It made me wonder what it would be like if I met some of my old classmates again after twenty-five years. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, we did have lot of fun pulling everyone’s legs. Though the surprise package was Ganesh, most of us were unchanged, well I wouldn’t say that for myself, at least the 11 others were just the same and for me, the feeling was of meeting them after a semester break and not after 25 years!!!

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    • Ha ha,,if you had been there, you would have a seen a starry eyed 20 year old once again!!!
      Feel honoured that I have a certificate from you …makes me to remember the days of essay writing after picnics and my articles would often have “then” “after that” in each para which were sternly struck down by you!
      I was keeping that in mind when I wrote this!

      Like

    • You all made this to happen and remembering this was a cake walk and thanks so much for appreciating this. Welcome you to share the lovely anecdotes that would make this monologue more interesting!

      Like

  4. This just make my heart warm Sunita… Enjoyed the photos & your writing:)
    “Beneath the thick glasses, heavy rears, greying and balding hair, all of us were quintessentially the same, with the spark and twinkle of 20 year olds!”… Just love this line!!
    Keep enthralling us with your posts:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made my day sparkle with the generous dose of praises and the words typed were from the bottom of my heart..and I felt that I was meeting them after a semester break and not after a quarter of a century!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is great that we made this happen albeit with just 50% strike rate but I am sure in the days to come, the numbers are going to increase. So nice of you to appreciate this post but please do add your share of the fun even if it meant being at the butt of the jokes!

      Like

  5. Wonderfully penned! Lovely pics! Thanks for sharing such priceless moments Sunita. It is such a bliss to renew cherished memories! Some expressions go straight to my heart..‘spontaneous, instinctive, uncontrolled and unsophisticated reactions,’ ‘labelled characteristic smile and the trademark walk,’ ‘clock too ticked at the same frenzied pitch’ …many more!

    I can relate so much to your experience of this meeting after 25 years as we had similar celebrations a few years ago but we were invited with spouses and it was an inexplicable fun…you have described it so well!! One of my pictures is absolutely similar to yours, in which you are hugging your friend and laughing loudly, with open mouth…that shows going back in time!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • A profound thank you for the liberal dose of liking and for connecting with the emotions echoed here…the pics reflect the true spirit and the bonhomie and also the candidness and straight from the heart talks that happened. It was indeed a red letter day that will forever be etched in my memory.
      Glad that you had your fair share of fun and would love to read the essay on the colossal meeting:)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The pictures hold clear evidence to the fact that you and your friends had a blast! I can imagine the surge of nostalgia and emotions and memories when friends meet after 25 years 🙂 Cheers to your reunion and keep arranging such meetings at least once a year. It will rejuvenate your mind and body… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! That sounds fantastic…great that you guys had a mega time 🙂
    …”the ‘antiques’, in the form of old friends are the best collections that are priceless and immortal and the biggest blessing is when you shed all your inhibitions and still be stupid with them all.” Absolutely!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I specially liked the paragraph “I rehearsed and rehearsed . . . stupid with them all.”

    The second half of the article is in italics. If there is no special reason for this, you could consider making it normal. It would make reading more comfortable.

    Your narration is extremely good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Amit for bringing this to my notice and I just do not know how it happened…probably the font that I wrote on word first id not recognized and it went haywire…will make the entire script even.
      Thanks for the appreciation and much obliged.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Much thx 4 penning this, for the benefit of ALL TSM 92.

    I do know this: We left behind our gray balding hairs, overflowing tummies, saggy skins @ the door & walked in to the reunion as physically young adults. And we dud (pun intended) try to live up to those times.

    We borrowed the Delorean from Doc (Back to the Future) for the evening & stopped the clocks – just for us. And our conversations got off to the requisite 88mph to transport us. Good fun.

    We left our personal lives for the evening & rolled back thru’ time – with a bit of apprehension & rehearsed dialogs. But the moment we saw each other, those dialogs fell away & we picked our conversations exactly where we left them – 25 years back – @ Pandi’s tea shop.

    AW, I could go on & possibly reminisce several pages long – but that will not behoove the XLNT piece penned by you Sunita.

    Thank you once again Sunita. I’m grateful & humbled.

    M

    Liked by 1 person

    • Delighted and top of the world at the straight from the heart feelings on the reconnect…yes we left everything outside the door including the power, position, egos to go back in style to TSM!
      Thanks Maggi for being the prime mover for this bash, had it not been for your India visit, I doubt whether this would have happened at this time!
      Appreciate and deeply gratified by the encomiums..honestly these just gushed out like a torrent!

      Like

  10. Wow! It’s feels great reading this. I’m getting too nostalgic about my alma mater after reading this. The best part that you rejoiced the olden memories without being hesitant about being stupid. I love the way you recollect your old memories in many of your posts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sangeeta..the last two months have been really a walk down memory lane with the sudden interesting develoments and as you rightly said, there were no qualms of beeing that bubbling teenager once again, that too despite the advancement in age, power and position!!!

      Like

  11. Such a beautiful post Sunita, allowing us to peek into your beautiful memories!Those pictures of fun and laughter are a proof of all the fun, excitement and nostalgia all you buddies shared. So much to catch up and exchange, isn’t it? Last year my husband also had been to his 25 year college reunion and they hadn’t slept the entire night. Wishing you many more happy moments dear and a very happy new year.
    Wonder why your posts have stopped appearing on my reader?

    Liked by 1 person

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