As I am just called up to do the treasure hunt at school, I realized that it has been 25 years since have known that magical land…
and obviously, it is hard to not remember the trolls and elves and other mythical creatures that I met there…
It reminded me that some where on my hard disk, there is a bit of data that can be brought out for getting back to those days..
here is what I wrote while we all reunioned and did all those dramatic things.. just in case some of you want to forget it all..
The start :
A letter to the grown ups…._________________________________________________________________________
Before you jump to any conclusion about me monopolizing this reunion document, please note that this page (and following five pages) is perforated along its side. This means that they do not form the main body of the document and can be removed regardless of any method of binding that we adopt.
I have been watching this reunion process unfolding in front of me with mixed feelings. At times it seems like a lot of fun and yet again it turns into something I simply can’t associate with. But the bond is still strong and I stay along keeping my escape route open using means like this perforation you see.
As I am most involved with this reunion document, making of it has made me understand my apprehension. And as I secretly feel (and hope) that most of us are just the same, I write these pages to reach out across twenty years since we met each other.
I know you and you know me since we all could still read Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and understand the notion of “grown ups” as different kind of people (and not one of us.). In that world it was clearly understood that wise and correct talk was Amy giving those ones. And professors and authorities were on the other side of the fence. This was an implicit understanding between all of us.
The process of reunion started with the organized end, which was a must in a way. But initially I had hoped that it would end up the right way and all we will have will be a lot of tea, pointless arguments and informal jamming by KK and Prashant. I turned a blind eye towards meeting the school authorities and roping in guest speakers etc. I still had faith in not being a grown up.
First shock was the idea of these presentations, and that too of architectural work. Next to arrive was the notion of getting a prof to write a preface to all this. Then I saw a poster about lectures and stuff being organized. And then it got progressively beyond my comprehension. In the end I received a preface that I simply could not understand and final nail came in form of Shoummo’s two pages that tell me that he is a member of council of architecture and habitat center and some other god-forsaken place. In my life I had never expected that we will ever be sending such stuff to each other. And yet, when I shared my agitation with others, they just find it to be ridiculous. They wonder why I bother so much about all these small things.
Damn it guys. I am bothered. You are asking me to give up being a kid. All along this reunion stuff, I had assumed that we are getting together as kids who are forced to act as grown ups, but amongst us we are still simple kids. We don’t care about who has become who in the proper ways of the world. Yes, we would like to know what twenty years of living has done to each other. It would be fun to envy those who have made it and there would surely be a sympathetic pang of pain to find someone’s unhappiness. But obviously it isn’t some serious stuff where we “exchange ideas” and have “thought provoking discussions” (Sorry, Malini. I read your mail about twelve on twelve after writing this.) about “prevailing trends of some stupid twelve letter word”.
I am sorry. I refuse to grow or get out of my comfortable feeling of not considering anything in this world serious. Some of you may not like it. It looks like an escapism that a middle-aged person conjures up to not face the reality of getting old. But, I am very very sure that there are still some people who connect here.
Deep inside most of us, that kid lives on; who really needs a reunion. I still feel that Eighty Four batch was different as it had enough kids to hold it together in an Era where you have grown ups joining first year.
So I hope that Alea jacta is not est yet. (But Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes). And I had to write this because (most obviously!!) Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae !!!
You will now realize that using a Latin-English dictionary is not the best way to understand what I say.
It is always better to ask me first.
Before you rope me into doing anything.
SO CALLED INTRODUCTION
Though I don’t wish to be the Andrew Eliot from “The Class”, three things
have prompted me to take up the task of writing “Introduction” for the motley lot we call “the Class of ’84”.
First is that I intercepted a private communication
from Shalini to Malini that suggested about requesting a professor from our
glorious past to write a few lines. (I am amazed by the very thought that our
professors may have known us!) Second was my realization that I
didn’t do anything all this while (my contribution is blank front and back
page) which obviously means that I am best qualified to do this. And third, I am the guy getting this printed. Period.
So, whether you have sent a contribution or not, you are going to get introduced if
you have a code number. Tough luck, but you chose to be in my batch, didn’t you?
On the other hand, this obviously is a tough task. My initial dabbling with this reunion stuff had been full of misgivings, as I had felt that this could easily cause more pain than joy. I feel that all of us have spent a period of life together, where each of us was a vulnerable kid. Our bonding is purely because we have seen each other look stupid, weak, happy, hurting in a way that we are no longer seeing people we interact with now (as grown ups).
This wonderful option of being able to share feelings without much inhibition (or option, may be) has been left far behind. And it is may be worse as we are now approaching the phase of life where it is needed the most. Let us hope that with this reunion we can feel close enough to be able to get old with a comforting feeling of having friends.
The following text is a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance of it with a person (living or dead) or event (having happened or not happened) is entirely coincidental. The views expressed here are entirely baseless and thus must be treated with utmost respect and consideration.
(And thank you for the fish…)
0184 Agarwal Poonam
We had to start with Poonam. It obviously allowed us to get worse till the very end. (If you doubt this, it is a good incentive to read this till the very end.)
She is based in Bombay where she practices architecture. Has a daughter.
0284 Aruna Govindan
Aruna allowed us all to look Big, worldly and mean, didn’t she?
Carrying on with the same gentle self, she is now settled in Bangalore with a husband and a daughter born last Shivratri. Busy with kid – not working right now.
0384 Bafna Sonit
Sonit had to do everything right. Starting from helping most of us to clear Structures to ensuring that some of us stay sane, he did it all. With globalization, he decided to offer similar services to MIT. Now having shifted to Georgia Tech, he continues the task of teaching the needy and growing a beard.
It is no surprise that he has married an anthropologist and has a Microchip and a Son to ensure continuation of his name.
It seems that he STILL keeps himself in the company of smart and intelligent people, who describe him as:
To marriage said, na! na!
Till ofcourse the bright smile of Sudha he espied
I want, he shouted, her, and just her, as my bride.
(As it is connected to Sonit, lesser souls such as us will need an explanatory footnote. This damn thing is called Clerihew. It is a bit of rhyming doggerel invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956). Traditionally, it’s a four-line verse made up of two rhyming couplets, with meter intentionally (often ridiculously) irregular. Wake up, as there is KK after this break.)
0484 Balsavar Durganand
It is a typical craziness of our batch that we had to name someone with natural talent and individualistic persona with someone else’s name.
KK has a wife and he, according to my undependable sources, has developed deep interest in “occult”. (Above sentence is constructed so, only for saving space.) We are yet to hear from the Wife about her interests.
It is recently discovered that he is actually a dignitary and thus he is called over to lecture poor architects from Ahmedabad. (Anyone doing a research on poverty amongst architects may take note.)
0584 Ballaney Shirley
Meeting Shirley tells us that there is Life after School. She was the only one well-informed about local Discotheques while we were deliberating a possible outing that would stimulate our tired souls/feet during the reunion.
Shirley works for EPC which is involved in mammoth urban Design Projects such as Sabarmati River-front Development. Currently at MIT on a Fulbright scholarship, she is hopefully getting latest information on critical urban infrastructural elements (similar to those stated in above paragraph) in and around Cambridge. (As our previous emissary to this cause was Sonit Bafna, findings till date have been poor and unintelligible. We sincerely hope for improvement.)
Shirley, from all of us here in Ahmedabad;.. It was a pleasant surprise.
0684 Balasaria Lokendra
If I copy the line sent from Malini (oh.. Malini supplied these “facts” for me twist. So you know who to kill on arrival.) It says “has 2 sons born on the same date, 4 years apart!!!” All three exclamation marks are from her.
Loki has a planner wife and is based in Ahmedabad. He has developed a specialization in Landscape design.
0784 Chaudhary Uttara
Contextual issues connected to urban experiences that are juxtaposed with the help of conscious questioning, leads one to experientially engage in a quintessential process that may culminate in a quasi-natural translocation of Uttara to Canadian socio-polito-eco-cultural environ. (Most unfortunately I have left out the word “gender” here, but I mean no offence.)
Uttara has moved to Canada. (And I know little about it, as you can see.)
Married to Muktiraj Chauhan, she has one Son. She is currently working for the Canadian Government. She holds a double Master’s degree now and has published a book called “A Model House”.
0884 Chadha Hardip
Hardip needs no new introduction. (And those poor souls who already know him obviously have had enough.) Surd is about to provide eighty percent of conversation and drink ninety percent of booze in the party, so I will leave him to his own de’vices. (de’vices is a newly discovered French word. By Me.)
Surd is married and has a daughter. He pretends to work for Zydus Cadilla while partying on some tea-estate down south right now.
0984 Dasgupta Shoummo
Shoummo has defied natural course of things and has settled himself down to do extremely intense work. In short, he is doing all unlikely things like being married, having kids and doing a lot of work while various drivers of his car continuously try to get prosecuted under section 322 of IPC.
For further trivia you may look under the entry of 3084.
1084 Dave Ashish
Ashish worked with National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gandhinagar till he was made Director of accessory design. Now he has left NIFT and does some necessary design while waiting to move to US of A.
Married to an Architect, he has two very colorful daughters named Azure and Sapphire. Though I suspect he was stoned while naming them. (But then, “everybody just gets stoned”:-Bob Dylan from Dylan and Dad!?)
1184 Desai Monika
Based in Mumbai, Monika has two daughters. She is presently keeping herself occupied with a part time job with an architectural firm while bringing up her daughters.
1284 Doctor Mona
Apart from many other things, Mona also works on the Sun. She does this from Auroville though. She is involved with something called Baubiology that deals with buildings and various natural energy sources.
She is married to architect Poppo Pingel.
1384 Doshi Manish
The most proper boy carries on. Still carries a clean handkerchief to wipe dust from any place he sits on and wears clothes with unbroken crease. He is too immaculate to be subjected to my kind of humour, but is thankfully married to Malini. So those wishing to see blood may move to entry no 2084.
Manish and Malini have a son.
1484 Haideri Abbas
Abbas has moved to USA with a wife and is working with a very large consultancy firm. He also looks after business interests of the firm in India.
1584 Hirani Ojas
Mr. Hirani works on super-large scale projects and in the international arena. He is a regular visitor of British and European Universities where he delivers informative lectures. When we visited him last, he was involved with a massive Science City project at Hyderabad and a huge University at Chitrakoot. He is also involved with glamorous projects like building a personal abode for a famous Hollywood actress on a Greek island.
He could not join us in one reunion party due to being occupied with some assignment in Zurich. We hope to be lucky this time.
Mr. Hirani is married and has a son.
Just another fictitious person, I know nothing about.
1784 Kapoor Ruchi
Ruchi is married and settled in Delhi. She has two daughters.
1884 Kaur Jaspreet
Jaspreet is based in Delhi with her son. She is one realistic soul who sincerely doubted the success of a geriatric dance party.
1984 Khandwala Sonal
Our batch surely has people who have never seen Sonal talk. Now, there won’t be any left. She is married to a landscape designer and has a son.
2084 Khubchandani Malini
When supplying “facts”, for herself Malini wrote: “you know”. While I am not all that sure if I can clearly decide which Malini we are talking about. Malini I know ranges from one walking near Victoria Memorial in Calcutta to one who looks after media relations of India’s top designated saint in the Kumbh mela.
I and (I am nearly sure) Malini are equally confused here.
2184 Kulkarni Prashant
Prashant is in Canada. We know this because we really tried hard. But, unfortunately he is trying even harder. So I will use Malini’s remarks verbatim. “in Canada & lost – married – no kids (unless Canada did something!)” (Please note this carefully as you will realize that if left alone Malini may have been worse than me.)
In retrospection, I realize that I would have actually liked Prashant to write this introduction so I could just sit back and laugh.
2284 Mawkhrow Aiban
The one and only brave man who worries about choosing between wife and girl-friend to bring to Ahmedabad for the reunion. Aiban is practising in Shillong. As per last official census, he has two kids. Due to shortage of time, we have not been able to inquire further.
Latest update tells us that Aiban is not going to join us. I suspect that up-north fortune does not favour brave. (Those wishing for a secure line of communication should have approached me prior to reaching this stage.)
2384 Narain Rajiv
Rajiv is in delhi. Rajiv is married. And Rajiv actually was one of the few people who very warmly wished to drop in for the reunion.
But now Rajiv is in Delhi and is likely to stay there during the reunion. (This meant a drastic last minute editing in this entry. Twenty lines of eulogy on responding to the spirit of reunion had to be removed. You don’t know what you are missing here, Max. (Oh, not the reunion, it is my twenty line of text.))
2484 Patel Susan
Suzan is based in Delhi. Unlike most people who help marriage by fire fighting, she helps fire-fighting by marriage. She has two kids.
2584 Patel Nanda
Nanda is traversing US of A, and climbing any stupid mountain that comes in the way. If US of A fails to supply adequate number of mountains during the year, the same fate awaits those in the Himalayas. Married to a professional climber and personally involved with ski-resort projects, more and more photographs from high altitudes will be streaming across the net from her end.
2684 Rai Ritu Raj
Ritu is based in his hometown, Kathmandu. Across very bad telephone lines, we have managed to decipher that he is married and has two kids. As he is married to an “Indian” girl from Darjeeling, he is a regular visitor of this side of the Himalayas.
2784 Rathod Milan
Milan is married and has three kids. The oldest is past teenage now. (For general information, at the reunion we will be having counters selling hair-dyes, medicines for arthritis and energy tablets used by Jitendra.)
Yet another fictitious person. Our batch seems to be having a good supply of them.
2984 Shah Setu
Setu Shah is in US of A. He worked with Peter Eisenman. He is married. He worked with Peter Eisenman.
3084 Shalini Kumar
It has taken me two hours of continuous writing to nearly complete this stupidity only to now reach the real dreg of this cesspool. At the very bottom, competition is too intense.
It was Shalini’s rotten idea that someone will compile and print this. (Malini insists to inserting the following.” By the way, the compiling & printing was Chhaya’s idea, seconded by Mona & me & thirded by Shalini! So don’t blame Shalini – blame Chhaya!!” This should show you that I worked in an extremely hostile environment with people commenting on every line that I write.(AND using more than one exclamation mark in every second line while doing it.)) It was also her idea that we ask someone to write an introduction.
This ends up with me writing this and me printing this and me doing a million things that I hate doing.
Yes, Shalini still carries on making you (and also all the Unclejies of this world) do something or the other that she wants.
She has made Bong work, get married and have kids. To say the least.
3184 Shukla Samir
I did nothing. Am doing nothing and hopefully (if not caught like this next time) will not be doing anything.
3284 Subramanya Ratnam
Subrat is the only one we have not been able to find. I wish from my heart that it is not the same with this, arguably ‘the best talent’ from ’84.
3384 Vamadevan Sunil
Aha! Sunil at last!!
Sunil is getting there just the right way. Has a huge practice of employing ONLY girl architects and bossing over them. Unconfirmed reports about the mother-in-law feeding grapes to him while he watches Arabian belly-dancers have been brought in. And confirmed reports about him prospering are also in.
Sunil is a regular visitor of Keralian resorts. You can join a free subscription list regarding the next visit if you will make a mistake of calling him on his cell.
At least seven juicy lines from this description are deleted because he has one very charming daughter. (This indicates that sending photographs of children can actually help you. Sometimes.)
9986 S. Muruganandan
I could not understand Murugs clearly and it is taken even further by his mails that arrive without content. Malini has taken a stand that he is married (As she actually reads mails, out of a sheer desire of seeing mass murder of English.) Murugs has preferred the southern hemisphere and has most probably reached down up to Australia by now.
From my experience in Shillong, I expect him to be asking Eskimos about the bus-timings out of South Pole very soon. (And after getting necessary information, telling you to ask Eskimos about bus-timings out of the South-Pole.)
This means the end.
Provided ALL are equally offended.
(Malini was trying hard so I had to. And she wants 50% of the credit! For THIS!!!)
A bit of post-script
The very telling mail-exchange that took place BEFORE we could have a reunion fitting to the style of 84ians
One. I am not stupid.
Two, as I claimed, I really do not like to do anything, and this is now getting very close to work.
And Three, I am surprised that my repeated effort to put it across that I AM NOT PRINTING IT and EVEN IF I DID YOU MAY RIP THE DAMN THING OUT is not noticed by readers.
So, now I must reply CLEARLY (and for the last time) with malice towards (n)one and all.
You are the only one I am sincerely apologizing to, but it is for the breech of trust only. I must also tell you that with someone as dear as you at the other end of the telephone sounding like what you did, a million such pages would surely get thrown into the fire, even if it has taken me a life-time to write them. I am stupid in a lot of ways, but I do care. A lot.
To you something that I really mean. Shalini, I didn’t make fences. Not in my heart. But if there are any, I know that even if you pretend the hardest, I know you are on my side. (Malini, in a way this is true for you too.)
I am sorry. I meant to be funny and yes, you may not realize this, we are ACTUALLY very very very happy to see you smile and be confident and enjoying life. We may have missed something when you were with us. Your mail was something that has prompted me to reply as it actually makes me understand how one CAN read what I write.
Do you relate to me as someone who really feels good to see you happy? If you do, go back and read what I wrote. If it still does not make sense, you choose the forum and I will put up a note of apology from the editor, just the kind that gets published in newspapers.
Dear Shirly, why the hell would we have DRAFTS FOR APPROVAL when we live on a speck of a planet for a whiff of a time doing nothing that has a meaning that can even be remotely deciphered? But, if you have a world where such things matter, I am not going to print stuff that I write in it, as I really don’t care that much about anything.
Dear uttara, we are as good as two aliens talking. So, I am not going to able to make sense. May be, ever. Still, if you feel that I was rude while trying out every cliché’ I knew, I surely say “I AM SORRY”.
But, you can’t go and blame me about forcing this on everyone. I never meant to do it and I repeatedly stated so. You need not “suggest about getting consulted before such decisions are taken” as you already ARE. I have communicated personally to you, over at least two mails that I AM NOT PRINTING THIS.
Now, unfortunately there will be a preface, but not by me; it will be by Miki. So you and all others who “choose to remain silent” may break the precious silence and rush back with return e-mails with-in two hours accepting/rejecting it or your silence can be expensive. (by about 5 IRS.)
So, for everyone’s general information that document gets printed WITHOUT an Introduction but with a preface that talks of many other things including a nubious ring. (shalini, your ppt file actually has nubious ring and not mobius ring, I don’t know if I can take liberty of correcting a work of Art; so there we are, printing it as it is.)
In addition to this, please note that the approximate present value of this document is about 180 IRS, excluding shipping charges. I am risking Thirty Copies right now, one each for people who get to Ahmedabad and some for the general public. People staying abroad or not coming due to personal reasons may ask me for a copy that I will get printed and sent. (which is a complete stupidity in the era of uploading but I still will.)
So long (and No, thank you. I will get my own fish.)