Friday, May 13, 2011


It was a reunion get-together with a big difference.

A difference created by 53 years which separates the 1958 batch students of South Indian Welfare Society`s High School, Wadala, Mumbai, where I studied. Invariably the first reunion get-together of any school group is held to celebrate the Silver Jubilee when the batch mates are still young with school/ college going children. But this was a get-together of senior citizens with grey or no hair, and most of them with school going grandchildren!

What a memorable morning it was. Out of the 108 potential batch mates only 17` Thathas` & `Pattis` attended the event, most of them with their spouses. The absence of ten batch mates who were no more was noted with a silent prayer for their souls.

Though six of us had met at an informal get-together in November 2010, which actually triggered the idea of a bigger get-together, I could not recognize many of the batch mates. Still the joy and excitement was palpable. The spontaneous hugs & back slapping displayed by the participants showed their joy in meeting old classmates with whom they had spent 11 years in the classrooms and playground of the school.

Anecdotes and stories were exchanged fast and furiously. Enquiries regarding the families were inevitable. From the brief self-introduction session, it was evident that in spite of the enormous struggle some of them underwent in their early years, everyone had done well in life. Post retirement each one was financially independent and well settled. Most of them were NRI parents, making periodic journeys to USA or Singapore or the Middle East to spend time with children and grandchildren. With spouses providing the IAS (International Ayah Services!). All of them were involved in some activity, either religious or social to keep themselves and their souls busy. Most of them looked fit and healthy.

One vibrant batch mate, who described himself as a rebel in the school, with two sons and a sprinkling of grandchildren decided to shock the audience! He claimed that he is still trying to get a daughter much to the embarrassment of his young looking wife! He did not seem content with his two daughters-in-law. Cheers to his Libido!

This rebel had done well in life in spite of not entering the portals of a college, while there was another batch mate, a brilliant student even in school, with a gold medal in IIT Bombay who had gone on to acquire a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the same institute. He had spent 32 years with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai winning laurels for his outstanding work. There were many who had hopped jobs to prosper while there were some who had stayed with one company all through their life.

What made a big difference to the event was also the presence of four nonagerian and octogenarian teachers. Two of them were in their 90s, one was 85 and the other was 77. They were uniformly thrilled to see their old batch of students and learn about their achievements. To gladden the hearts of the batch mates one of the teachers, in his speech mentioned that 58 batch was one of the best batch of the school. He also added that In the 75 year history of the school this was the first time that such an old batch had conducted the reunion get-together in the school. The teachers were happy that they were remembered and honoured by the batch who had already entered the ‘vanaprastha’ stage in their lives!

The highlight of the programme was the comments of old teachers read out from a scrap book which a batch mate had managed to retrieve from his archives. There could not have been a better way of remembering all the old teachers who had taught the batch! Thank you K K Mani for that brilliant idea!

The audience also came to know about the hidden talents of some of the batch mates and their spouses. One of them, S Jayaraman has suddenly become a Tamil poet. At the age of 70 he has churned out 100 poems on a variety of subjects, all within two months.

Personally, it was a dream-come-true for me. After completing my autobiography which forced me to go down memory lane, I developed an urge to meet all my old friends – from school, college, and even the company where I had started my advertising career. Thanks to my friend Raju, a beginning was made with a few school friends in November 2010, leading to the memorable get-together on 24th April.

Buoyed by the success of the get-together, the chief organizer Sundaresan announced that it has been decided to form a SIWS 1958 Club which will meet once in three months. I am sure the 58 Club idea will do well because everyone present bonded well and was keen to know more about the 53 years journey undertaken by the other batch mates. Obviously one reunion get together is not adequate to share a life time of experiences! Cheers to the success of S.I.W.S. 58 Club!

1 comment:

  1. Dear R.V.Rajan,First of all ,i wish to congratulate you for thinking and organizing an innovative project of uniting 58 batch mates of your school & the Teachers,who had guided you in your studies.
    Celebrating Life:Title itself is very cache.I read the whole story of your" reunion get together with a big difference" Yes really it is a Big 58 years difference, from youth to geriatric in all walks of life.
    Really it would be a thrilling experience for you to share ones life experiences with other ones after a very long time. You had mentioned some naughty desires of one of your aged classmate. though it sounds otherwise,it was interesting &shows he is evergreen ,mind wise.
    I can understand that you with your wife would have enjoyed immensely over the reunion get together of the58 batch of classmates & good old teachers.
    I liked &enjoyed the vibrant article. Excellent!!!. Love Jayakrishnan