It was about a year and half, or two years ago that I received an e-mail to join a WhatsApp group of L.D. College of Engineering, Ahmedabad, 1971 batch of Mechanical Engineering (LDCE71M) batch friends. That e-mail was from my LDCE friend, Ashok Thakkar, the only one of the 120 batchmates of LDCE71M batch, with who I had a modicum of e-mail relationship of exchanging New Year Greetings. The batch strength of LDCEM was 120 students. Out of which a half a dozen of us were quite close – to easily visit each other’s homes and enjoy the unscheduled snacks during each such visit – in those five years. And then, a dozen and a half were one ‘group’, of the several close-knit groups of the batchmates, who had easy sharing arrangements – of books, notes journals, tips to survive through the viva tests etc. But it was good fifty years that I had had absolutely no contact with anyone.
Naturally, the idea of getting connected with friends of that ‘golden’ phase of life was quite exciting. Soon, a couple of the more energetic and active friends took up the initiative to gather additional. basic, contact information of the group and put it in a very utilitarian spreadsheet. With that the mere phone numbers of WhatsApp group members now had names on my cell phone=book and my e-mail had an e-mail contact group. That spread sheet also presented us with recent photographs against each name. That helped to me recollect faces from the recesses of my memory and superimpose them with present faces visible in the spreadsheet.
Soon thereafter a couple of video call meetings were organized that further helped to connect the memory of voice to the name and photograph. It was one of those video call meetings that put the idea of collecting information of the 50-year journey of each one’s life and document it in the form of a memoir book to commemorate the reaching of a milestone of half a century of the graduation.
Once the formal idea was circulated in the WhatsApp / e-mails of around (the then) 32 members, a dozen responses came up in no time. That “small” number brought up the force of inertia of half-a-century’s distance and relative inactive life that each one now lived at this age came up with full glaring realization. But the spontaneity and vigour that was spilling out of those dozen responses helped us to resolve us to tighten up our belts and gear up for one-to-one follow-up phone calls to the other ones. A couple of months of joint efforts resulted in getting six more responses.
18 out of 38 presently connected members plus 7 who had left for the eternal journey was perhaps not a very great number to really celebrate the memory of golden jubilee of graduation of a batch of 120 students. However, the intimateness with which each of these eighteen members had put in their journey of 50 years was cause enough to push us to fructify that idea into a reality.
So, finally we, now, have a collection of life stories of (eighteen) batchmates of the class of Mechanical Engineering, 1971, of L.D. College of Engineering, Ahmedabad in the form of a book , which I proudly and happily share here @
Over and above the outcome it was the process of implementation that had its own moments of pleasures – pleasures of getting to talk the friends after a good 50+ years and finding that the informal warmth of friendship is as live now as it was then!
The proverbial Oliver Twist in me ‘wants some more’ – the process of going through the conceiving and implementing this project has germinated one more idea in my mind – to enliven the memories of those five years of 1966 to 1971 and share the joy of those memories of youthful foolhardiness, unspoiled fun and dreams that had started shaping in our totally inexperienced minds.
Some day soon I, or in all possibilities, we, may hit those lanes of fading memories and live them one again………