When you meet people from your past and not-so-recent past, more often than not, these are emotional moments. The good old times are remembered, friendships and acquaintances are renewed, the memories – good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, hilarious and somber are relived, and there is a general feeling of good cheer all around. Sure, there might have been differences in the past and rough edges which might have been awkward, but time smoothes them out and what one remembers is generally the qualities of the people which appealed at the time.
Especially if one is meeting these people after a gap of 25 years!! One doesn’t consciously make friends most of the times, friends are made when minds click and people connect. It doesn’t really matter then, if all those years ago one did not really know certain people that well, but spent all the waking hours with a few people from the same group. It now no more matters how different people were from each other. Someone was nice and helpful, while someone else was intelligent, someone was well-to-do, someone else was generous, someone was effervescent and gregarious, while someone was content to be on the sidelines and yet be part of the group. Someone had money, someone had a cushy life, someone’s parents had to cut down on things to fund their childrens’ education, while someone else earned and learned. Different strokes, after all!
And these different strokes were what we witnessed these last couple of days at the reunion of the MBA batch of 1989-1991 of the Institute of Management Studies (IMS), Indore. This was to mark the 25th anniversary of their post-graduation. A grand two-day affair, which included, most importantly, spending an evening at the alma mater with professors and the current students. We spouses witnessed these proud moments when the professors ( most of whom still teach there) very emotionally interacted with all these pupils, enquired about their well being and families and invited them to share their experiences with the current students. What a beautiful feeling it is to witness an emotional reunion of this kind! As a teacher, especially, the director’s wise words really appealed to me. ” A real teacher puts mentoring his/her students before his/her personal achievements!” And true to his words, inspite of his many personal achievements around the globe, he is still mentoring students in this college which is one of the oldest management institutes in Central India! His humility and his obvious attachment to and pride in his students – these past ones as well, ALL of whom he remembered by their names – left me stupefied!
The bonding continued over the next couple of days, over a chilled-out bash, a picnic and a theme party. These 45-year-olds, now with grown up children of their own, among other things, set the dance floor on fire, haunted their old joints with the same fervour as before, showed their talent on stage at the theme party, chatted well into the wee hours of the mornings and also kept pulling each other’s legs just like they used to in college. And made sure that the special guests, we spouses, were not left out of any of these celebrations, in fact, were an integral part of it! And the whole show was managed beautifully, all the arrangements taken care of by a core group in Indore with inputs from the others spread out all over the country and out of it, most of them flying in especially for this event. To be with each other, the out-of-towners and the locals, all checked in into the hotel for two days. Nobody wanted to miss out on any part of the celebrations! Hats off to you, all IMSians, for doing this and giving yourselves a break and pausing to reconnect with the most memorable times of your youth!
Sparkling Moments: the Bajirao-Mastani couple and the Big B in different avatars at the theme party; the group kitted out in matching tees for the picnic; and a special cake to celebrate the blooming reconnect.
My special thanks to you all, IMSians for giving us spouses a chance to put faces to till-now-only-heard-of names (well, most of them!) I was, frankly, a little apprehensive initially when this idea of a “with spouses” get-together was floated; but really enjoyed this time with my counterparts and you all! The mementos of the event will be my mantelpieces and the memories, in my heart…till we add some more at the next one!
While on the topic of emotional reunions, my husband and I also experienced one more in this trip. My husband was practically raised by his grandparents who very lovingly took up the role of parents and mentors to him because his own parents had to move a lot due to work. The grandparents had a set of their contemporaries as neighbours, who also became another set of loving grandparents to my husband. The grand old man of that set of grandparents is now 101 years old. He is in complete charge of all his senses and faculties as of now, physical and mental. So when we went to meet him, he regaled us with memories of my husband’s boyhood, literally taking us almost half a century back in time. An intensely emotional journey for him as well as for us – he has outlived most of his contemporaries, his wife, his son and daughter-in-law; and so talking to somebody who knew all of them was a very emotional experience for him! That, coupled with the joy of feeling loved and wanted enough by us to go and visit him made him so happy, it brought tears to our eyes! When we bowed down to touch his feet while leaving, he said something which I will never forget! – ” The power of these blessings will sprout somewhere in totally unexpected ways and be with you always!” I am not a great believer in things godly, spiritual or supernatural, but these words, which came straight from the heart, touched a chord and I actually do feel blessed! Some things are just priceless, to be felt, not tangible or visible, but powerful! They can never be quantified or counted, just cherished and treasured! This was surely one of those rare, beautiful moments!
So it is back to my own classes from tomorrow… Emotionally recharged and refreshed… as I write this I get a message from one of my own older students – “Maam, visiting in the next few days, hoping to meet you” – what more can I wish for as a teacher?