Exactly about a year ago, I read an e mail in my inbox which announced the reunion of batch 96 of KMC, Mangalore.
Reunions have a tendency to make me feel old and gossipy. Somewhat like sixtieth birthday celebrations or golden jubilee wedding anniversary celebrations! Where a whole bunch of people meet up to discuss their lives and those juicy tidbits about others’, regaling antics of their precocious children and humble bragging about their career milestones.
I was happy enough seeing face book posts of my batch mates and knowing what they are doing in their lives. Did I actually need to meet them ?? I was mostly too shy in college to develop deep friendships with a lot of my class mates. So, would I be really missed? This made me skeptical about attending the reunion. Maybe I would not gel with most of my old college mates, I felt. We have moved on.
Fifteen years. A lot of water under the bridge. Old memories, some good ones and some others not so much. Friendships –some tended to, some long forgotten. Lives which have moved on, treated and helped many a patients, formed new relationships, forged new bonds and trudged ahead.Hmm..
But somehow, Satwik’s emails did the trick. Over the year, slowly, silently, memories which were buried under a mountain of work and family responsibilities started creeping up on me, startling and giving me fuzzy feelings of warmth in an otherwise dreary day.
I still remember the day when I was a bespectacled gawky teenager coming out of the CET cell, a little frazzled, a little victorious and a little bit nervous. Finally, one and a half years of hard back breaking work had borne fruit and I was in! Kasturba Medical College was my destiny for the future.
It was my first time away from home, leaving behind my huge joint family, and this in itself, was unnerving. The rumors of ragging in college were scary. There was this huge cauldron of emotions boiling within me, a delicious mix of apprehension, fear, elation, the excitement of getting into medical school, and sadness about leaving behind my friends and family.
Expectedly, the memories of five years that I spent in college are irreplaceable. The formalin reeking dissection halls, the old lecture halls, muggy mornings spent in the huge, sweltering, crowded wards of Wenlock and Lady Goshen hospitals whose old ceiling fans with painfully slow moving blades seemed to mock our sweating discomfort, maggi in the canteen, getting screwed during the clinical postings and giving a treat at the end of it, the waterless bathrooms in Nandagiri hostel, late night study sessions liberally dosed with popcorn and maggi for sustenance, the phone booth, which was our life line to the family back home (this was a time before cell phones invaded us),the interclass competitions, the library at reader’s delight, and the horrible mess food (remember the yum yum cutlet, which was anything but!!) are literally etched into my subconscious.
KMC accepted me, idiosyncrasies and all. And added a few more to my person. Like talking about KMC and how great it was, all the time, to my better half, till he knew all my anecdotes by heart! The sense of belonging with my college is something which I cannot not get rid of. This was after all, my world away from home for five long years. Maybe I am partial to my college or probably this is the way people feel about their alma mater, but I, unflinchingly believe that KMC, Mangalore was the best and the most learning experience of my life. Anyway, I’m digressing.
Back to the reunion. So, after discussions back and forth with my bestie, and some gentle prodding by my husband, I finally took the plunge. I was in. And did not know what to expect. Ours was a small class of 56, and almost all of them have reached places in life. Would they have changed, I wondered? After all, responsibilities, position, stature and money is known to cause a personality change in many!
And therefore in River Roost Resort, (the venue for our reunion), I landed with trepidation and doubt, both of which got kicked in the butt within the first fifteen minutes of my landing there. The next two days were spent laughing so much that my cheeks hurt, and forgetting to call back obsessively to check on my kids, which I am guilty of doing when I am not at home!
Getting to know my batch mates all over again was much more fun than what it was so many years ago. I felt we were more mature and knew ourselves better than we did before. There was a quiet confidence that each one of us had grown into. There were some of us who threw up unexpected surprises by reaching heights which no one had expected, some others who were consistently superb, and others who were multifaceted enough to juggle hobbies along with their profession. Even the ones with their own brand of quirks had found their comfy spot under the sun. The icing on the cake was that no one-not even one -had let go of their innate superb sense of humor and goofballness which made those two days the best ever.
The experience of getting two days sans responsibilities with my best and closest friends, laughing at inane jokes which no one else actually understood, and talking about everything under the sun and beyond it, waking up to wanting to continue talking and not bother about anything else, reminded me of my days in hostel.
I was back again into a group where I seemed to belong, where my weirdness was an accepted part, and I could let my hair down(whatever is left of it!) and be! Just transport myself to those days where hope and hard work were the things we lived by, garnished generously with parties, fun trips and mills and boon!
My opinions about reunions have changed now. If anything, they made me feel much younger and happier. I returned home with a smile plastered on my face, and stayed insanely happy for the next few days. Maybe, this happens at all reunions, and therefore they go on!
A grateful thanks to the organizers who slogged to make it happen. And a big thanks to all the rest for making those two days memorable. KMC 96, you are the best and please do stay that way!
Long live reunions !
PS: Leena, Im feeling blessed to post this on face book!!!:)) (sorry,an inside joke!).