Saturday, December 25, 2010

Twin Reunions

During a short holiday in Mumbai recently with my better half, I managed to have a re-union get-together with two sets of friends. The first one was with my five school friends who had passed out of South India Welfare Society School in 1958 – 58th batch as we are known now. The second one was with five friends from Clarion McCann Advertising where I started my advertising career in 1964. Though both the get-togethers were interesting – meeting old friends and catching up on the happenings over the years – the residual impact of the two on me were different.

The get-together with school friends was real fun. In spite of the presence of spouses, it was a `no holds barred` discussion. All of us were more or less of the same age group- 68 plus and had travelled a long way in life, since our school days. There was Krish, a retired Air Commodore from Indian Airforce, Raju and Sundaresh – who have done well in the Pharma industry and Mani, a Civil Engineer who had just retired from a top Construction company as a Senior Manager and of course me the `Ad man – Mad man` in the group.

What was interesting was how the discussion, after the preliminary enquiries about respective families, quickly veered around to our onesided love affairs in school days. Raju was shocked to realise from Mani that ‘so & so’ girl from ‘so & so’ class had a big crush on him about which Raju himself seemed to be unaware or may be he was acting innocent in front of his wife(!). When I was mentioning the name of a girl from my class for whom I had harboured calflove, Krish literally jumped from his seat and said,‘yes,yes, I remember the girl’s face …’ and went on to describe the girl with all the passion he could muster - giving me the feeling that may be even he had a crush on my girl! The discussion then went on to discuss the love affairs- real and imaginary- of other school friends, who were fortunately not present. Our spouses, cut short their own `girlie` discussions to listen to the juicy stories about their husbands. And they seemed to be enjoying the discussion, as mush as we were. It is another matter, that some of the friends got pulled up by their spouses later at home – wanting to know more about their love affairs!

I had no such problem as I had already laid bare my life story in my candid autobiography.

It was also interesting to know that none from our batch had kicked the bucket yet. On the whole it was a fun get-together and the small group took a decision that a serious effort will be made to have a grand re-union of the 58 batch in 2011. I promptly volunteered to steer the idea as I was looking forward to a project to keep me busy next year!

Compared to the school friends` get-together the old Clarion staff get-together was a bit of a dampener. The group consisted of two friends who were 80 plus, three friends who were 70 plus. I was the youngest at 69. While we did have some fun going down memory lane sharing some interesting anecdotes from our lives in Clarion, what was shocking was that many of our old colleagues are no more. Except one or two who had died of old age, many of them had died young due to stress related problems. Some of them had got `burnt out` and left the industry in pursuit of less stressful careers. One had been even murdered along with his wife by decoits when they came to burgle their home. Another colleague had to spend a couple of months in the Tihar Jail for some business related crime he had committed.

On the whole it was a depressing experience! Though at the end of the get-together we all agreed that we must have more such get-togethers, involving more old colleagues – I am not sure if I can go through another round of mind numbing stories!


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