Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Reunion -- First Day

I've been going over notes that I took on the trip, and I find we actually went to Trichy a few days before the big reunion. The day before, we had a mini reunion with some of Rajan's friends from the mechanical engineering class -- a nice opportunity for old friends to chat before the huge gathering, and time for me to meet more of his friends and another of the wives as well.

The planning committee for the overall reunion did a super job of organizing the three-day reunion.

On the first day, everyone met at Hotel Le Royal Meridien at 3:00 p.m. for a program that went on until 10:00 p.m. Tea was served, and in India, that means tiffin and delicious treats to go with the tea! Each attendee received a gift bags containing photograph books with family news updates, photos, and contact addresses for each graduate, a program of events, a memorial plaque, an artisan handcrafted multi-purpose basket, a calendar/diary with daily quotes from a famous Tamil poet, and several other goodies.

Photos of "then and now" were flashed on a screen over a stage, and several people got up to share anecdotes of their days at the engineering college. Lakshmi Devi Jagadeesan, wife of the President of the organising committee, shared two of her poems in Tamil and I read a translation of them in English. Several people sang. And then to top off the evening, a professional group, the Avigna Dance Troupe, gave an hour-long performance of dances ranging from classical, to South Indian folk, to Bollywood musical. The picture above shows one of the young dancers. Each dancer was presented with a flower to show appreciation. (Again, part of the wonderful planning of the organizers of the whole affair.)

Throughout the evening, people circulated, and I made many new friends that I hope to keep in touch with now that I'm back home. A fantastic dinner topped off the evening. If the reunion had stopped with this one day, it still would have been a wonderful affair indeed. But the wonders kept on coming over the next two days, and I'll blog more about them tomorrow.

1 comment:

jaya ramanathan said...

What a beautiful, detailed account of the alumni meet. It is strange what you find so unique is what we as Indians in India take for granted; for instance the hospitality that was shown to us everywhere, I admit, the university outdid all expectations, but this is not abnormal in this country, hosts do walk the extra mile(s) to make people feel special and welcome. Honouring old teachers again is very traditonal to India. Mata pita guru deivam, goes an edict, the father, the mother and the teacher are your gods.
The one major factor about this alumni golden jubilee meet, which you have certainly mentioned, but not particularly stressed on, is the "giving back" to the alma mater by the alumni. While this is a very common thing in the US, we had visited Stanford and seen some of the facilities built by famous alumnus, in India while some odd old students make donations in their individual capacity - it is seldom a planned, group activity. Only in August 2008 we (my husband and I) gazed in amazement at what Hewlitt and Packard had done for Stanford and wished there were Indians doing similer things in india. In just over a year, we saw our wish fulfilment! We are urging other groups (alumnis) to do something in a manner of thanks giving to their educational institutions. And Indian varsities can really do with some help.
This is just an observation, about what strikes us most on visiting another country, especially an event! Jaya