SIES 1969 Alumni

Growing Younger Together!

The First "Reunion Revisited"

This is a compilation made by Radha Ramaswamy ( A.Radha XI-D ) from the feedback sent in by many who attended the First Reunion Program held on 24.2.2008.

Also See "Jab We Met" a Newsletter on the first reunion

Jan 24, 2009

This is hopefully a tonic for all of you who are working hard for the second gathering of 1969 batch.

Additionally, if you like, you can use it to give a taste of this great experience for those who were unable to come last year.

As we gear up for the second annual gathering of the 1969 batch,let’s take a look at what the grand Reunion was like. Here’s how it all started : It took nearly 3 years (yes, meticulously traced by Mani) for the impulse to grow, from casual exchanges-

“It would be nice to meet”- between 2-3 people in Matunga, to the first phone call by Mani in August 2007.

And Mani who wondered, “ Is it really possible, after 39 years?”

Nevertheless persevered and managed to contact 10 people by 2nd October. When he was almost convinced he had bitten off more than he could chew, Selvaraj reached out to many because of his catering business and hope was revived. “Ganapathy from Rameswaram, Rajaram from Salem and Govind from Mumbai” also called Mani. Suddenly the impossible seemed possible!

“I decided to cast my net far and wide” (can you imagine Mani making this wicked, manipulative statement?)- not just “boys” from Tamil divisions, but girls, and Malayalam sections too. “ I was like those Amway reps- sleep, eat, walk, talk only reunion”!

What followed is nothing short of a miracle.

Almost everyone called someone else, and chatted, for long minutes, exchanging notes, catching up - and what a lot of catching up had to be done!- imagining what it would be like when everyone met after 39 years.

Magically, the voices changed, the smiles broadened, the walk became springier.

Families got used to loud guffaws, and excited laughter, and the strange new language littered with “boys” and “girls”, “Tamil section” and “Malayalam section”, “classroom”, “bench”, “Satyannasti”, “Muthuswami Iyer” , other teachers’ names etc.

Many families enjoyed this excitement vicariously, and some even had helpful suggestions - “they told me to shed my red shirt and wear some light dress”.

In the midst of all this overflowing happiness, some worked hard to prove the sceptics wrong. Meetings happened, and plans were made. On the day- have you ever seen so many smiling faces all in one place? Handshakes and controlled feelings, backslaps, warm embraces, tight hugs, excited voices, squeals of delight( yes, yes, “the girls” of course!), total chaos as voices floated over each other.

Everyone was “ looking for a familiar face”. Panic- “Oh my God, I can’t recognize anybody!” “Ah there’s Janaki!” .

“ I still can’t believe this is happening!”

"Oh my God, there’s Satyannasti! "

For many, there was a feeling of “homecoming”, “renewed energy”. And, all this right under “Muthuswamy Iyer’s stern face”!

And, what do people cherish most about that day’s experience?

“I became a 16 year old that day”

“It was a dream come true”

“Experience of a lifetime”

Realizing that these are “ friends with no baggage"

“It’s a nice feeling that this will happen every year”

“Meeting the teachers, KRK’s maths class, sitting in my old classroom,making new friends among the batchmates - these are things I never thought I would experience.”

“The whole show was wow!”

“I was watching the CD every day!”

“ the before and after photographs- when realization dawned on me that some strangers were in fact my friends- the feeling was terrific and cannot be expressed in words.”

“The spontaneity of interaction amongst us, whether boys or girls - unimaginable in our school days!”

Jan. 26, 2009

Do you want to know what people mostly talked about at the Reunion?

Would you believe it- the most talked about topic was "Teachers"!

Vying for second place are the following:

'Other classmates"

"Do you remember..." conversations

"What are you doing now?"

"This is wonderful/unbelievable!" type exclamations

"How to take this further. "

High on most people's agenda was also taking contact details- maybe we should have had a competition about who managed to get the most telephone numbers! ( Ravi, are you listening?:-) Hope you are organising some for this year's.)

Exchanging family details also happened. And a small percentage actually attempted matchmaking!!

Talk about multi-purpose highpowered meeting!

Jan. 27, 2009

Can the school help in locating retired teachers?

And, Ravi, i enjoyed going through people's responses. And compiling them brought back my own happiness of that time. So i am the one who should be thanking all the 15 who sent in responses.

Mani of course, the man who was instrumental in making it happen,is also the most meticulous in his recording- I'm trying to include all of his info and insights in instalments!

For example, look at this - all the quotes are from mani's response-

What happens when you try to contact someone after 39 years? R Balakrishnan asked Mani if he remembered him. Mani’s reply- "a tall. lanky boy who used to win English elocution competitions" - makes

Balakrishnan laugh loudly!

Vasudevan and Mani talked for 30 minutes. Time is just not enough!

Even when you don’t remember the person, the school bond works- Pushpa and Mani “communicated like long lost friends”. Similar instant bonding, with Ramesh Verma. Nalini recognized Mani as “ Oh you the studious ookworm!” and Mani laps up "the compliment coming after 40 years".

“Did you really remember me? ( Subbaraman) ”

My answer, “I have never forgotten you.”

G Krishnan impressed with his friendliness and “elephantine memory”.

Look out for my my next instalment which will be about people who came from outside Bombay!

Feb. 12, 2009

Time for another small glimpse into what last year's Reunion was like.

Mani's experience when he contacted outstation batchmates " G Krishnan impressed with his “elephantine memory”.

Surprise discoveries- Ragini and Shalini- “I have been their family doctor for years without realizing they were my batchmates!”

Contacts outside Mumbai- Anuradha, Bhanumathi, Radha, Mahadevan- showed much more enthusiasm than some ‘locals’- “maybe you don’t value what’s easily available”?

Does someone have the statistics for how many non- locals turned up last year? I wonder what it will be like this time?

Feb. 12, 2009

Here's another one- sorry, folks, but i thought i'd be smart and split it into two posts!

Also thematically, this one IS different!

What are some of the outcomes of the Reunion last year?

For one person- “ I learned to use the computer on a regular basis”

For another- "I saw myself as a new person- as I repeatedly tried to think of responses to either “ Who is this Subramanian?” or “How come this Subramanian?!”

Being a doctor in Matunga became useful as Mani “ (mis) used his patents’ contacts”! Met several “brothers and sisters” of classmates and planted the seed of reunion in their minds too!

For many, "Renewing contact with my Primary teachers Vasantha, Seetalakshmi, Mahalakshmi and Rajam."

And some of us made some wonderful new friends.And that's a beautiful thing to happen when you're in your mid fifties, right? Like a new lease of life.Like once again, "friends with no baggage".

Compiled from responses received- this is a very brief glimpse- just to show that these meetings are irreplaceable, and not to be missed!