The Home Coming Journey
IITB Class of 1990
It is twenty five years since we stepped out of our comfort zone to find our fortunes in the world, and it is extra-special to be coming back to campus to relive old memories and to create new ones. We used to play the Simon & Garfunkel number Homeward Bound in our heads as end sems came close, this time around we will be playing it to go back home to IITB.
The Silver Jubilee Reunion is about journeys and reflections. It’s like hitting the pause button and stopping and thinking. It is also about hitting the rewind button and going back in time to a time when there was not a care in the world. It’s going back to a place that to us was about new experiences, growing up and above all friendships. It’s about sharing our life’s journeys knowing that the others are genuinely interested in listening and imbibing.
It is credit to the Class of 1990 that close to 170 of us turned up for the silver jubilee reunion – am told it is by far the highest – that’s how much the HomeComing to IITB meant to us.
Run Up to Insti Wapsi
Insti Wapsi itself has been a short and sweet journey starting May 2015 – digital, virtual, social, online – we can use any of these words to describe our connectedness but it has always felt real and has been loaded with emotion. We set for ourselves the target of 300 connections and 150 registrations out of an undergraduate batch of around 310, and we outdid those numbers. We have a Facebook group with a 180 members, we operate three WhatsApp groups with close to 240 of us connected in real time , and what we are incredibly proud of and happy about is the Mini Reunions or Mini RU’s that have frequently dotted our homecoming journey . Over 210 of us have met with at least one other batchmate, often someone we hadn’t known in our IIT days and our Mini-RU’s have been at Sydney, Jakarta, Dubai, Denver, Nashik, Ahmedabad, Seattle, London etc. in addition to multiple RU’s in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi , Singapore !
The Reunion Celebrations
Hotel Meluha Banquet Hall, Gulmohar Lawns , H16
We couldn’t have asked for better parties – When the music at the Meluha party got louder and more Bollywood, we hit the glitzy dance floor in hordes J. And the cacking set found the terrace outside. Someone looked at the pix and said ‘OMG. You guys had a ‘social’ without the awkwardness’. It was awesome to have the families hit the dance floor too, and the Gulmohar party belonged entirely to Junior IITians !
High spirits, deep conversations, shaking a leg and more, Oh Gawd- you are so-and-so and more Oh Gawd - Where-did-all-the-hair-go kept going on in a do loop.
H16 and the gaddas on the floor – cack sessions on BEC and hostel memories merging into spirituality and parenting – seamless conversations that transcended space and time.
The Gulmohar Lawns and the Guest House – so gorgeous, so welcoming – invited us to sit down and reignite old friendships. The icing on the cake – new BFFs – who would have thought folks who are 46 could find new friends – WE DID !
The wonderful thing about journeys is that they are different – by definition. And so have ours been. Some have been on the straight and the narrow. Others have been on long, winding journeys. Some journeys have been cut short rudely. Some have had tough journeys and have dusted themselves up and smiled. Some have been outrageously brave and set off on pioneering journeys. All of us have had fun and found happiness and fulfilment along the various paths. The silver jubilee is our opportunity to listen to many of our batchmates relive their journeys.
And we did that – in the formal panel discussions at the VMCC , in catching up with each other one-on-one and in small groups.
What we will treasure most perhaps is our yearbook titled Journeys - close to two-thirds of the class of 1990 wrote up their journeys and memories. We will all savour leafing through the pages and finding kindred souls we perhaps hadn’t even met earlier whose journeys seem similar to ours. Am sure we will find journeys that inspire, journeys that resonate, and journeys that just make us feel good.
Reliving the IIT life
What to say when a bunch of 47 year olds tries to behave like they are 17 ! All the old haunts and memories came to the fore , and here’s a sampling on what all we did:
Went back to our hostels, stood outside our rooms and checked out if the current occupant was worthy :) Took the customary selfie #roomnumber.
Found new rituals at hostels – 50th year celebrations !
Walked around campus in the wee hours of morning in reflective mode
Woke up early to do a morning run – why waste a minute that one is at IIT
Played cricket with current students – and graciously lost to them – so they keep their morale high .
Walked to the pipeline road like it was a ritual. And hey this time around we weren’t shooed away from the Guest house .
A visit to Techfest – to check if the grey cells still exist.
An all nighter with a pitstop at every hostel canteen.
Staff-C breakfast , Laxmi Tomato Fry
Cacking. Cacking. Cacking.
From Sir with Love...
Gratitude, Pride, an Immense sense of Joy.
The Director’s Felicitation Ceremony at the Guest House Lawns is the kind of event dreams are made of . Meeting the faculty who have taught us , knowing that many of them had made this trip to IITB just to be with us at our silver jubilee – I don’t think there are words enough to say Thank You. We feel blessed.
Prof Devang Khakhar evoked in us such pride about IITB and made us feel special in so many ways – he called us his silver jubilee batch. He spoke to us about the current achievements of IITB. 65 of the top 100 AIR’s join IITB – Wow ! The focus on Research, and a strengthening of faculty and curriculum. The awards and accolades for IITB. We sat in rapt attention with our hands coming together in applause with almost every line the Director spoke.
We thank the Director and all of IITB for the gracious acknowledgement of batch leaders in a heart-felt Uttariya Ceremony.
A magical evening indeed.. .
Giving Back to IITB
IIT Bombay was a playground for all of us as we learned how to become adults. We were fortunate enough to be picked and benefited greatly from our experiences and relationships. It is impossible to put a price tag on these experiences but they were worth at least as much as the education we received in our respective departments. We owe IIT and India, and we would like to give back as much as we got. It is time to start paying our debts.
The SJRU is not just a homecoming, but also an opportunity to participate in the timeless Indian tradition of Guru Dakshina. Every year each Silver Jubilee Batch takes on a set of "Legacy Projects" that IITB needs and thereby seeks to leave a lasting impact.
The Class of 1990 set itself a target of 1 MN USD as contribution, and it was with great pride that a pledge of Rs 6.5 crores was presented to the Director, the Deputy Director and Dean ACR at the hallmark Annual Day celebrations of IITB.
The projects that we are committed to supporting are :
1) Retired Faculty Wellness Fund
2) Young Faculty Awards
3) Innovation & Research Fund
4) Clean, Green Campus
While the first two are ongoing projects, the Innovation Fund and the Clean, Green Campus are new projects we are instituting and we have committed not just financial resources but our time and energies to ensure set up, guidance and governance for the same.
Our Heartfelt Thank You’s
We have a whole Insti to thank.
• The Director and his Office
• The Dean ACR and his Office
• Our Faculty who taught us
• The SARC student volunteers
• Current Faculty who took us around the departments and made us marvel
• Our partners and sponsors
• H16 and all the staff there
• Staff at hostels, at the gym and at our events who made our trip memorable
And above all,
The IITB Alumni Association
- We Owe You our Insti Wapsi !
What Insti Wapsi Meant to Us
"I forgot that I was married, forgot that I am a father, forgot that I work, and only remembered that I was an IITian."
"I am simply high on the SJRU. Met many old friends as well as other old friends I didn’t know I had. This High is going to last for a long time…"
"The atmosphere was so positively charged my head is still spinning . Don’t think it was the maal, either – it was unadulterated happiness. My wife said she had never seen such a large bunch of such happy people. "
"I felt half my age and will try and keep that spirit alive."
"I leave with a heavy heart but with soaring spirits."
"Found out that people are funnier after 25 years !"
"I don’t think I spoke to so many batchmates when I was on campus. And yet there is such comfort in opening up now that I can."
"So many cack sessions, so much Gyan, and so little time. Familiar yet novel experiences . Felt rejuvenated and I feel I can go back and take over the world now. 2016 and beyond, here I come, a force from IIT Bombay."
"Insti Wapsi was near perfect – catching up with friends, cacking, walking through the infinite corridor, playing in the new courts…"
"I came to the RU not knowing what to expect. It was fascinating to see how old friendships were reignited and new ones were created, we picked up from where we left off, a testament to the deep and lasting experience IIT has had for many of us."
- Class of 1990
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