IIT, Kharagpur: 1961 Batch Alumni Meet in Bangalore

I had not attended any alumni meet after the one in Calcutta many years ago. It was due to an initiative of Mr. P Parthsarthy. My batch mate RK Agrawal who worked in Heavy Engineering division was also there. I could talk with Prof SR Sengupta, director at our time. It was a different Sengupta. I could never dare to talk with him during the four years of IIT. He was in accessible.

I got invitation from the Delhi Chapter and then from the institute to attend the golden jubilee of our batch in IIT, Kharagpur in last January. I could never make it. But there was so much of a pull in O P Khanna’s plea for joining the meet in Bangalore that I could not resist it. Yamuna also agreed. I added a sideline visit to Hampi to make it more attractive. I did never dream of meeting so many of the batchmates, many for the first time after passing out.

I could see the first glimpse of the warmth of meeting of the batch mates at the stag party itself on Nov 3. OP Kanna and Shridhar Subramanian had arranged it in a hotel room in Diamond District itself. Russi, Anil, and M Sikka joined it beside OP and Shridhar. M Sikka was in Calcutta after IIT, Kharagpur when I was working in Hindustan Motors. It was he who had invited me to speak in a meeting of Institute of Production Engineers. It was the first time that I spoke on my subject in a gathering. GL Makhija joined the stag party after sometime just to meet me. Makhija was with me in RP Hall and in my group of Machine Design in the fourth year. We used to meet on airports. Once he had come with his mother, wife and son also in Hind Motors in 1980s. Makhija was leaving for attending a family marriage next day in Pune. Makhija has gone really religious with close relation with Radha Swami Sect. He even appeared to be an ardent supporter of Guru Ramdev. At end of the stag party, I could realize how the group was worried about the political bankruptcy and critical issues such as corruption of the country.

The Golden Jubilee Reunion for the 1961 batch came on Nov 4, 2011 in Bangalore Club. One by one some 29 of our batch mates joined most of them with their wives. N Sankar was with us for sometime in HM and then left for his M.Tech to IIT, Kharagpur. He had taken a book from me; he still remembers that and has kept that with him. CP Raman was in Calcutta when in Union Carbide. We had attended his son’s marriage with an American girl. S Ramanathan was in Calcutta as General Manager Eastern Railways and had attened the reception of Rajesh’s marriage in Salt Lake. I had met Krishan Khanna and his two daughters at the residence of BD Singh Bir who was then in Voltas.

I didn’t know many of them who were in different departments and halls but it didn’t reduce the warmth of the meeting. I was never very social any time.

Though most of them are having a retired life like me, some are still active. Ramanathan is assisting his relation in a manufacturing business of investment castings near Chennai. OP Khanna is busy with his NGO that helps arranging heart operations for needy rural poor. He keeps himself busy with active participation in the programmes of Institute of Engineers and Rotary Club. Krishan Khanna is busy in ‘Transforming India’ by empowerment of Indians through relevant education. N Mahalingam has created IDEK that produces innovative design educational kits for making learning for the kids in school easy. It’s all exhilarating. Most of them in 70s are still fit and appear to enjoy their life. It was very much clear when I heard the melodious songs from DP SenGupta, who had been in teaching in IISc, Bangalore.

Surpringly, neither Dr. Damodar Acharya nor Dr. Amit Patra though promised attend the meeting. I had few questions and suggestions for them. Though I spoke about at least one, I think the initiative would have come from them. I wish alumni of each batch who may be around 400 in number can create a fund for various purposes including the scholarships for the needy and meritorious through donations. With just 200 of them that is just 50% joining the group, the fund could be Rs 20 crore. BK Syngal has created one in memory of his parents by donating Rs 50 lakh that provides scholarships. That shows the great giving spirit.

And I could hardly realize how five hours of the session came to an end. We said ‘Bye Bye’ and parted with heavy heart and a hope for meeting again, but who knows if it will happen again.

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