The 1974 Batch Silver Jubilee reunion at IIT Kanpur on Jan 3-4, 1999, was a great success. It was a nostalgia trip par excellence. I describe the occasion here for the benefit of those who were unable to attend.
Janauary 2 was a little disappointing as Bhadresh Shah and Bhupendra Shah could not come to Delhi from Ahmedabad due to heavy fog. In the evening, on New Delhi station, it was great to see old faces, some after a gap of 25 yrs. Everyone was awake at least till 1 am. Avadhesh Sanghi and group were playing cards while others were enjoying a long bull session. The train, in this case fortunately, got delayed by two hours and we reached kanpur at 5:30 am on January 3 to a warm reception by IITK students volunteers. We reached Visitor's Hostel (VH) by two IITK buses and hot tea was awaiting us there. Most of the people ware provided accommodation at VH while the rest in vacant faculty houses.
Breakfast time was the real reunion, with the Bombay gang also joined by then. Some batch mates were relatively unchanged and easy to recognise, while others had receding hair lines, greying hair, pot bellies - or all of the above! In many instances, it was necessary to introduce oneself in order to be recognised. all in all, there were 13+33=46 batchmates, or 20% of the batch strength. Not bad for a 25 year reunion!
After breakfast we were shown around the building under construction of the Pioneer Batch Continuing Education Centre adjacent to VH. there was registration, and some reunion souvenirs were given (including a T-shirt with the slogan 'Har ek ka apna apna hai...- old IITK saying'(Adhiraj's creation). Then we visited the new building of the Auditorium, the computer Centre (which has changed quite a bit since our times), and the new wind tunnel facility. We then witnessed the inauguration of the Alumni Association office at the Student Activities Centre (SAC). The general impression of the campus was that trees had grown taller, several new buildings had come up, the academic area had been encloed with a boundary wall - and most buildings and hostels had begun to show their age. Nonetheleass, the same informal IITK atmosphere we remembered from olden days still prevails on the campus.
The Director's lunch at VH was a grand affair. The Kelkar Alumni Lecture was cancelled due to the speaker Dr C Rangarajan's illness. Distinguished Alumnus Awards were presented.
At the same time, many batch mates and their families enjoyed glider joy rides at the air strip. After tea a cultural program was organised in L-7, where on a challenge from the current students, on whether our batch could sing as well as them, Suprotik das sang old favorites like "Bye Bye Miss American Pie", and "Shame and scandal in the family" while Adhiraj Sarin sang the humarous "Meri bhains ko danda kyon mara" in his inimitable Indian classical style. Tambawala mimicked Dilip Kumar, Devanand, K N Singh, etc. Mrs Shreekant Gupte sang an English song, Rajiv Vaidya's daughter sang an Israeli song and Arvind Kaul's daughter sang a Rajasthani Song.
The reunion dinner was hosted by Yadupati Singhania (BT/CE/1975) at Kamla Retreat and it lasted till 1:30 am on January 4, with everyone dancing memorably late into the night. The ladies cut the anniversary cake.
The next day, after a good breakfast, including parathas, visits were organised to the Central library and our respective departments. In EE Department, Prof V Sinha dug out '74 Batch EE421 (Communication Theory) attendance records and marks sheet. Prof K R Srivathsan (Head, and himself a '74 Batch alumnus) hosted tea ans circulated a write-up about his plans for the EE Department. In the afternoon, the gathering was in Hall III where everyone, like an absentee landlord, wanted to see how the tenant has kept "his" old room. Lunch was organised in Hall III after which each batch mate was invited to say a few words and reminisce. Each of us received a Life Membership card of the Alumni Association and an IITK tie from the Director. There was very good interaction with students regarding career opportunities, life beyond IITK and a host of other topics. The students were eager to share and learn from our experiences. A reunion photograph was arranged in the stadium grounds. Anil Agarwal offered colourful bangles to all present. After a cup of tea the ladies and children were escorted to Bithoor to enjoy boat rides, while some of the alumni went shopping in the city.
We attended the AGBM of the Alumni Association (AA) at which Ashok Kamal, President, told us about an MoU with IITK under which 25% of the amount collected through AA for the IITK Endowment Fund would be available to AA for its activities. The '73 Batch has collected about Rs 17 lakhs and had specified that this amount be spent to develop a strong alumni network. This will benefit the alumni directly and will further help in collecting larger amounts for IITK.
After the AGBM, the '74 Batch met to decide how contributed sums of the batch should be used. One opinion was that the entire amount should be spent on AA activities, while the other opinion was that the contribution should go to causes more relevant to IITK needs at large and only 25% as decided under MoU should go to AA. There were heated discussion and 2 rounds of voting. however, later it was decided to let each donor choose the disposition of his contribution between these two options. Now after considering several ideas and after some consultation, the other cause has been chosen as "creating a central computing facility in Hall III". This is estimated to cost Rs. 10 lakhs, which is within reach. it was also decided to let it be known that this facility had been created through contributions of the '74 Batch. arvind Kaul, Anil Malhotra, Varunesh Kumar, Rajiva Kumar, Ramakrishan Aiyer, P K Mundle, Sharad Waghle, Brij Mathur, Yogesh Garg, Jyoti Swaroop and R K Marwah made spot donations totaling Rs. 2.36 lakhs. besided this, Amar Gupta had sent US$1500 and Mukul Kumar has committed US $2000 (including his company's contribution). Almost every one else also promised later to send his contribution. Let us see how close we reach to our goal of Rs. 25 lakhs!
In the evening everyone enjoyed "chaat" with dinner. the time to say Goodbye had come only too soon. the occasion was great fun for the '74 Batch alumni and their families.
- Yogesh Garg (BT/EE/1974)