29 JUNE TO 4 JULY, 2018
We were a batch to watch. Us 88to92 batch. We were not about minting our own futures alone. We were heaving to mint so many futures together in these four years: 1988 to 1992. Ours. Our families’. Pusad’s. India’s. And of the world at large. We didn’t stop at effecting changes only but went on to engineer transformations. Subtly, and more often than not, covertly.
To begin with, in these four years, saala hum to engineer ban gaye! Remember, in 1988, papa kehte the…! But did he really believe it? We did it, nonetheless. Yes, in 1992, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman…as we all know and the world knows. We did stuff the world had never seen before. After so many years, 25 in total, it is finally safe to now bolo and purani secrets kholo.
For instance, it was 88t092 when Berlin-Wall’s fall was engineered. Recall the field between the hostels and the college buildings where presently the college auditorium and the administration buildings stand. One fine day during their survey period, our civil engineering peers felt that all engineering structures that separate and segregate peoples from each other, must go. The next day itself, Dham…went the Berlin Wall that had cruelly been keeping Germans away from Germans. Now, some food for thought. Who you think pushed out or weakened the communist regimes world over?
Another day during the 88to92 chauka. It was late in the evening when some of us were walking back from Mungasaji singing Ek Do Teen Char… and remembering the beautiful Mohini. Then the dealing started. We suddenly lost our cool thinking and discussing the pervasive Cold War around the world. We walked back to the hostel-2 and straight to its rooftop to look at the world long and hard. Result was that bechari Cold War disappeared. It had to because it was no more considered cool! Such was the result of global opionion re-engineering. Now guess who asked Rajiv Gandhi to visit Pusad? Why he met our batch CRs inside Udipi before he was given the go-ahead to address the public in the field close-by!
We loved dreaming, making plans and acting on them. But not always after eating and drinking. Many times while we were at it. This should help you get what I am implying here. It was in cooperative mess while we we were eating, where there was only mess and no cooperation, we all finally agreed to Sudhakar Rao Naik’s repeated requests over time for Maharastra’s chief-ministership. And hours later the same day itself then Maharashtra Governor C Subramaniam invited him to take oath.
I still remember the party in Sootgirni he hosted for us. Newly installed chief minister Sudhakar Rao Naik. To thank us. No wonder he was removed as CM once we were no longer in Pusad. It wasn’t only brain and brawn areas where we excelled. Such was the charm and charisma of 88to92 that the prettiest girls from Delhi and Kashmir and other parts of India came rushing to Pusad the next year. Well, surprise, but no surprise, aashiqui in the college laid its pitch before the Aashiqui hit the screens.
Just before we left the college, to go out in the world to work, we had sent Dipti’s Jain along with Dagdoo to tell Narsimha Rao and Manmohan Singh to open up the Indian economy through various economic reform measures we had listed on the back of a newspaper while watching not-very-social movie in Dipti. Many in India today enjoying MNC perks and pay-packets have a big reason to thank us for our that bold decision.
Regardless of where in the world we all are today, karoge yaad to har baat yad ayegi. Anna’s shop. Pedhas, cut-full, pav-samosa, bondas. What was so special about Anna? No matter where you sat, whether you looked at him or not; you were in Anna’s eyes. Everything you consumed was duly noted in his long and dirty register. Anna heralded the age of credit without credit-card. I bet you all remember his younger brother too, Raju. Yes, cycle wallah Raju! What an amazing memory he had. I can bet that he remembers each one of us even today.
No doubt we all had more than our share of struggles. While in the college and after that. Who can forget the water problem in the hostels. The heat and the stink and their symbiotic relationship. The invaluable plastic buckets especially when they were full of water. Those matchbox size rooms shared by three or more of us. Nevertheless, we survived. Oh no, wait a second, we, in fact, thrived!
Let us all raise a toast. A toast to each one of us. A toast to applaud and recognize each one’s struggle. To celebrate every batch-mate’s achievement. The glittering accomplishments. To the years and times we shared together. To the bonds between us. To the love and care among us and to the sensitivity we have towards the college and the town of Pusad. Let us say, and say it loud, and say it from the floor of the heart, and say it together. AMEN!
Now a rich round of Cheers! To many of you in India and to a good number of you here in North America, I have personally seen you, met you, and have enjoyed your generous hospitality. You all are awesome. I mean a-w-e-s-o-m-e. And, eh, you out there in Australia. And, oye-oye, the ones in the Middle East. Listen, you guys really rock. You wowed me. I admire you all. Keep uplifting yourself. In peace and love. Onwards and Upwards!