Friday, December 26, 2014

School Reunion Again


Reunion time again! P.Suresh, Subroto and Anand had organized the reunion at Alankrita Resorts in Hyderabad, with the backing of Suchitra Ella (Naidu, that was). Suchitra, who with her husband had founded Bharat Biotch,  had negotiated the resort and made all the travel arrangements in Hyderabad.

The reunion had started in the train for the eight of us who traveled together to Hyderabad by the Charminar Express. Gautam, Subhadra, B. Ramesh, G.Lakshmi and her husband, Selvam, Devashis Ghosh and I were together, giggling and shrieking like school kids. Luckily no-one from the compartment came and complained about fifty-year-olds creating a ruckus. Luckily for them, that is, or who knows we may have put a thumb to our noses, waggled our fingers and stuck a tongue out at them. Except Ramesh that is (the Canadian dentist NOT the one who runs up mountains for light relief, who featured in the Mustang trek series) - but that was because he was too busy running in his mind all the arrangements for the video conference that had to be set up to allow all those batchmates in far-flung areas who had failed to turn up for the meet.

The first program of day one was a visit to Bharat Biotech and to a temple thereafter. I, unfortunately, was too sleepy to make the trip (AND, as anyone who knows me knows, the sight of any office puts me to sleep), so I had dropped off when the group was all set to leave. That part of the reunion, therefore, is a secret from me as was the gift that Suchitra Ella gave each member of the visiting delegation!

The evening was spent along with Ramesh, fiddling around to find the absentee classmates from the USA. We did manage to snag Kumaraguru - but then, considering that HE was the most enthusiastic of the whole lot of us, that was no miracle.

After a sumptuous breakfast,we departed the next day to the Golconda fort. Bus trips, as everyone knows, is a bane particularly for people whose lower backs send frequent SMSes about their age - but not this time. Time had reversed itself for us and it was as much fun as any school trip had ever been - more, in fact, because there was no school teacher to call out "Silence, Children". Pratibha's mom was around, representing THAT age group but, as we all knew, she loved her bit of fun as much as everyone of us did. P. Suresh showed an unexpected talent for dance, possibly inspired by the presence and company of Suchitra Sarede (Narain, that was) and, also possibly by the apt choice of the song by S. Nalini. (OR, maybe, I mistook their writhing in pain - by my rendering of the song - for a dance?)

The group photographs were all at the Golconda fort. We went in with a guide, who spoke so much like one of our school teachers that it reminded us of school all over again. Any time now, we were expecting him to say, "If you talk, I will kneel down" as one of our teachers was wont to say. He, luckily, escaped that mishap since, now that we did remember every now and then that we were adults, we may probably have insisted on his keeping that promise! We did go around the lower ramparts but neatly avoided climbing to the top citing a lack of time. THAT part of our childhood has come in handy all our lives - giving reasonable excuses for not doing what we did not want to do.

After lunch, it was time to relax and catch up on each others' lives. Not that much catching up was needed for most of them, since they seem to have updated each other daily, from the time they brushed their teeth to the time they started snoring. The camaraderie of the last time was still there and everyone relaxed and rejoiced in those rare times when letting your hair down (ONLY metaphorically in my case, as with a few others of the balder sex) was not merely safe - it was de rigeur!

The evening was the time of the video conference. Kumaraguru, B.S. Murali, M.S.Lakshmi and Radha joined in first followed later by Balakumar and, I hear, by Amarnath too. Then followed a session of 'Guess who I am?' with the US guys (Radha, in particular). We, in India, were lucky, since Radha appeared in a window by herself with her name else none of us would have guessed who she was, except those who had seen her recently. So, we could have our fun with our own inabilities nicely hidden away.

After a brief spell of Antakshari across the seas, Balakumar - our Hind Ratna awardee of this year - joined in. For a while, there was some conversation between us here and them there. Suddenly, though, the video conference had turned into a reality show with the US lot holding a meet of their own with us guys watching the show on TV. (Nice of us, wasn't it, to arrange a meet between them?) Being no aficionado of reality shows and finding that the bottle of single malt was beckoning us from the room, M.K. Bala, Murali and I skedaddled. Gautam joined us later and, then, we came to know that Amarnath had been woken up - with the hangover of last night's movie - and had joined the reality show.

We checked out on day three. Half the lot had, in fact, either departed the day before or the morning of day three. The truncated group then visited Birla mandir (Gautam stoutly refused saying that he knew of Shiv Mandirs and Vishnu Mandirs, but had never heard of a deity called Birla) and, then the Husain Sagar. The speed-freaks - Gautam, Pratibha, her husband Raja and daughter Padmini took a speed boat trip around. The rest, including me, went by the ferry to the island to look at the immense Buddha statue from up close.

On our return, Subroto proved a real hero. There is this mono-track on which trolleys carrying people on a fun ride runs. This track, unfortunately, just cuts across the paths where people walk in and out with the only protection being a sentry who warns you when a trolley is on its way. When we were coming back, a child ran across just as her mother was looking for something in her bag. P. Suresh and I just managed warning cries as a trolley came rushing in. Before it could hit the child, Subroto had run forward and scooped up the child and managed to jump back with the trolley missing him by inches.

After a visit to Shilparamam - which Gautam, Devashis, Subroto and I converted to a Paradise Biryani visit - we got back to the Railway Station where Venkatesh joined us after a visit to his uncle. The journey back was fun enough but, needless to say, did not have the same excitement as the journey forth.

But then, we will meet again in 2017, so where is the need to pull long faces? Except, of course, for those guys who have missed it every time till now!

Pic: By S. Venkatesh, as far as I know

22 comments:

  1. Very nicely described with minute details and humour. We had lit of photo shoot with every one trying to have a photograph with the few girls( old women) as we are still boys at heart and sadly cameras were not that common in that era. Only after the dance we could realise suresh could inspire audience to dance with his singing and he conspired to make a video of the dance by moving out of the way. Very memorable Re union with less numbers but we did not miss any fun. RU 3 must be in 2016 .

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    1. Thanks! I presume it is one of the attendees of the reunion (the other Suresh, if I am guessing correctly) :)

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  2. Good that this school reunion thing works for you. Does not work for either me or my dad. Or is it that it works for only your age group and not for an older or younger set?

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    1. I do not think so - it is probably more a question of personalities as well as who your classmates were.

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  3. My dad has his school reunion last Sunday. Campion school reunion batch 1979. They just basically met for dinner and got drunk. :D

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  4. It must be fun-meeting old chums and seeing how they had aged.

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    1. We had already seen the ageing part in 2012, Indu, when we met first. This one was still fun though

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  5. Great recap for chaps like me being one of these lucky chaps who could join just for a peek from across the ponds through technology! To have that video conference elevated to be referenced as 'reality show' is the endoresement of its success! Thanks for this wonderful write up....Gives a much better insight into the fun missed out in the pictures...Glad we made it happen and continue to have the excitmtent to meet yet again in 2016!

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    1. Glad I could give a peek into all the fun you missed, Kumar! Hope that in 2016, it will not be a only a reality show from you guys :)

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  6. Thanks Suresh, this write-up conjures up images of the reunion-2. Both the events:The super-hero stunt of Subroto and the secret Suchitra Ella inadvertently missed giving-would have not come to the fore otherwise.Your sense of humour is amazing!. Agree that a picture speaks thousand words , but that the pen ( ? ) is mightier than sword is indisputable.Great writing! thoroughly enjoyed..Feel proud of having been your classmate. Manimala

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  7. Hi Suresh

    A great recap, my friend....I expected nothing less from the great blogger himself! Sorry, I missed all the fun. Hopefully, I will make it next time. We should hook up when I am in Bangalore next.

    Cheers
    Amar

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  8. I hadn't met my school friends for 20 years and after we met on facebook again, we had this get together at Nagpur...and it was amazing...! We turned into this gang of school girls once again, cantankerous, and giggly totally unmindful of the people around!!
    Can imagine the fun you must have had!!

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  9. sounds like you had a good time in my city,is reunion always in Hyderabad?? just curious,you don't have to answer that if you don't want to :)

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  10. Wow!!.. sounds great ..
    But then why am I not so enthused about school reunion ? Has Facebook totally ruined it for me ??

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    1. Maybe! I lways knew that FB would ruin something for someone :)

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  11. by the way did you like paradise biriyani ??
    I enjoyed it really..

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