The grand reunion: Those who made it extra special





There were a few who made the grand reunion extra special. Saurabh Varma, with his boundless energy, recounted old tales and quipped about this, that and the other and generally had many of us in splits. The typical bindaas Mumbaikar was so involved, he postponed his return by more than half a day despite planned engagements at home. When Saurabh eventually left on 7th evening, we could feel a vacuum. And no wonder he received a grand ‘farewell’! Hope to see you soon, mate…

Then, of course, the other Saurabh – Saurabh Singh, who too has made Mumbai his home the past few years, but whose heart beats for Delhi (for that’s where he’s from). As sprightly as he was in 1985, not an ounce of extra weight, it was sometimes hard to think that he, too, was our age. Except for a greying moustache, which gives him more of a military look, he could well pass off for a boy of 25. Well, keeping Saurabh company this time was his Nikon camera. I wonder how many pictures he must have taken – more than 500, I would think. Photography has become his passion; it was quite evident. During our training, Saurabh’s pet subject was aircraft and aeronautics, and he would show us all some stunning pictures. If he was not an insurance specialist, he might have been a pilot or an aeronautical engineer. All the best with your Nikon, friend…

The real surprise was Ramalakshmi, who made it all the way from the US of A. She, too, had changed little, having lost none of her verve and ability for repartee. But this Ramalakshmi was different – a good example for today’s young journalists. Canon video recorder in hand, she was all over the place, asking questions, eliciting responses and recording for posterity. Not only that, she had brought tapes to show all of us – of her life in the US, her family, her office and how employees exercised there… So committed was she that she had her camera ready at various alighting and boarding points – for example, she was at hand to record Vijay as we bid him goodbye at Salem Junction. They talk about citizen journalists, but I think Ramalakshmi can give many professional journalists a run for their money. Keep it going, young mother…

Finally, a word about my roommate at Lake Forest – Mohanty. For a couple of years now, Mohanty has been taking in his stride a challenge on the health front. And he has shown remarkable resilience in getting through a very difficult period in his life. Not only did he make it to Chennai and Yercaud, he took part in the celebrations just like anybody else, laughed and cracked jokes, although it was not quite the Mohanty of old. But here was somebody who showed how adversities can be met and overcome. I still remember vividly the days I had accompanied him to hospital in the Madras of old, walked down the streets near Elgin Road in Calcutta, the times he had come to Howrah Station to see me or my mother off, and the times he would drop by at my sister’s in Calcutta. Those were the good old days… And here in Yercaud, during the three days, the clock rewound… and images from the salad days flipped by…

Pictures show Saurabh Varma waving goodbye after his extended stay; Saurabh Singh showing his latest ‘take’ to his wife, Parvathy; Ramalakshmi who is on the other side of the camera for a change; and Mohanty in his “preferred” attire – kurta-pyjamas – making a point.

Comments

Susan Deborah said…
Sounds like great fun and frolic. The happiness in your post is so very contagious that I find myself smiling at your descriptions of Saurabh (2), Mohanty and Ramalakshmi.

I wonder about us in your age! Flash forwarding life!

It was nice to partake in your joy.

Best wishes,
Susan

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