Below note from my JNTU batch mate who had touched down in Hyderabad, to co-anchor, and participate in JNTUH Class of 1988 reunion events, summarizes pretty much overwhelming emotions felt by anyone who attended the event on Aug 3rd of 2013.
“We met after 25 years, we laughed, talked, cracked jokes, sometimes sat in silence (mainly at Secunderabad club), ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together, roamed the campus, noted the significantly improved infrastructure on campus, sat in our class rooms, drank copious amounts of chai, met old friends, connected instantly, time had not formed a barrier, missed the ones who could not travel, could not spend sufficient time with all who came, was saddened by the passing of classmates, professors and parents; was uplifted on meeting families and kids – the next generation, sat chatting through the night, burning away smooth and flavorful Cubans, got the inside scoop on college elections from the candidates, walked the corridors of what was the only building we had when we were on campus, sat in the only lecture hall we had, visited our workshops, met professors old and new, had some good laughs, learned about all the good things that our friends are doing in life, recalled all the good things that those four years gave me………and I was on the bridge boarding my flight back and it was then that the tears came. I had a profoundly emotional experience, thank you all” – Alumni from Class of 1988 JNTUH
I have used this blog to document some of the scenes behind the wildly successful reunion event, archive the video / photo collages that I had prepared to keep everyone updated on the reunion planning and keep the momentum sustained since the planning begun around March of 2013
If you do not have time or patience to read further, below 130 visuals from the event on the D-Day provides few glimpses (and few emotions) of what happened on our reunion day and evening in just about 3 minutes, rest can read on further dig into the blog
Some of us envisioned idea of celebrating 25-year reunion for the first time, when about a dozen of us, JNTUians, met at the campus in Oct 2008. It was exactly “bees saal baad” (20 years later) after graduating from JNTUH in 1988. We flirted few ideas, on when / which month / how / where to celebrate the event, and pledged to conduct a global conference call to plan the finer details. It was a great moment for all us to roam around the campus 20 years after we had graduated. Most overwhelming moment was when went to college workshop and sat in our original classrooms. Below 2-minute photo collage of our 20 year mini reunion provides few glimpses
Planning for 25-year reunion kicked off with a conference call (some time during March of this year) with about dozen representatives from Civil, Computer, Electrical, Electronics, and Mechanical departments (2 to 3 folks for each department). It took about half a dozen calls (formal/informal) to arrive a high level agenda, freeze tentative dates, and forming a core team. Overall core team included Hiren, Prakash, Venky, Dakshina, Dayakar, Konda, Nakirikanti, Ramesh, Varati, Srikanthan, Ram Jayam, etc. Hyderabad based core team included me, Safir, Srikanth T, Srikanth Konda, Venky, Dakshina, Dayakar.
First task was to get contact information of over 200 folks who graduated from our batch. It took about a month to trace 90% of the folks. It was fun reaching out of classmates and surprising them with phone calls (specially few folks who weren’t in touch for 20 years or more). We created a online google doc, to ensure / track timely update of contact info of all 200 folks, and get a poll on who is likely to attend the event. One of my classmates, who are based in Sikkim, was not traceable for 20 years now. When I called him, I found that he is back in Sikkim and is now into full time farming. It was quite fun talking to him though I wasn’t sure if he remembered my face. I wished he joins the reunion, thought I knew it is not likely.
Some of us at Hyderabad made few dozen visits to the campus, to meet the faculty, registrar, principal, admin staff, to get their calendar locked, get the buy-in for using college auditorium, seek inputs on agenda for event in the campus. Most critical task was to get the contact information of professors, who taught us during 1984 to 1988. Core team went to most of the professors’ houses and extended personal invitation for the event.
Here is the video that shows some of us going to meet current faculty and Principal
We explored multiple event management organisations to get them to host our reunion. Originally event was planned for duration of two days, with day 1 being dedicated for meeting professors in the campus, and felicitating them along with hosting a luncheon AND day 2 being dedicated for Alumni dinner along with the respective families. However later entire agenda was revised to keep all events to a single day on Aug 3rd, Saturday, to keep it short and simple.
Hence we dumped the idea of event management, and took the ownership for the event on our own heads. Srikanth got a graduate student from BITS to assist us in routine errands, and specially calling alumni individual to get their contact info, and get them updated on the event happenings. Safir took the responsibility of designing the logo for the event, and also finalizing and printing the invitation cards. He was pretty much the program manager for the event and played critical role during 30 days preceding to the D-Day, and Konda keeping up the relationship channels with JNTU faculty, and hostel gang warm. Someone was commenting, like his name “Konda”, he was silently moving the mountains behind the scene to ensure that things are going as planned.
We all part of the core team met again (including those who landed from USA) on August 2nd, a day before D-Day to check out the hotel (which was finalzied and negotiated for a great price by Safir) where reunion dinner was planned, visited campus auditorium, met with the care taker, confirmed caterer (identiifed by Venky) readiness , called all the faculty (current and old) to confirm their participation, and more
Here is the full video of events from reunion meet in the campus. This video is completely shot by Revanth (my elder one) who coincidentally happens to be joining the campus this year, to pursue his undergrad in computer science
Event kicked off with beautiful rendition of invocation song by Narsiah, who is from Civil Engineering team.
Srikanth Konda from Class of 88 (Civil Dept.) is an active volunteer for YFS (Youth For Seva) while helping the chapter in the role of Vice President and is also part of their board. Thanks to Sri Konda, YFS supported kids (from economically weak sections, and few who are differently abled) performed during our Class of 1988 reunion event yesterday. It was considered one of the key highlights of the reunion dinner.
YFS started in April 2007 as a platform to provide opportunities for youth who wanted to take active part in community development despite time constraints. Through this platform, YFS aims to empower youth to become positive change makers who will enable organizations and institutions to work without a vested interest. The goal of YFS is to support schools; NGOs, government hospitals and other organizations in the social sector through volunteers who can help them mitigate some of their shortcomings and challenges. Volunteering is made easy and customized to the individual’s interests and time constraints. There are several YFS chapters around the country and they look forward to making volunteering a movement. Do check out their portal to see how you can contribute to the movement
Those who came to the event felt we have conducted the whole event in a classy style and did not compromise a bit. However, overall expenses of the event when tallied at the end of the event came to total of less than INR 400,000 ($8000) for both Luncheon at the campus, and the Dinner at Hotel Golconda. Safir did a phenomenal job in keeping the expenses low. We have collected around INR 240K from registrations during the day and evening events. We had kept the entry fee to event, as a minimal donation of INR 1000, to avoid entry not being deterrent to anyone out there. However, Thanks to some generous donations (ranging from 10K to 50K), we had collected additional funds which covered several expenses including DJ, Lunch, Dinner, Comedian, Event Organizer, Backdrops, Standees, Audio systems, furniture, Mementos, Photography, Professor Transport, sponsoring for YFS and CHERISH foundations. Srikanthan was the CFO for the event and helped optimizes the expense for the event.
We had approx. 180 lunch attendees including faculty, non-faculty, and students. We had around 175 Dinner Attendees, which includes Alumni and their families. Every alumni attendee was given a memento glass plaque and group picture. Over 25 professors were presented with Shawl and Mementos. We had around 8-10 volunteers at the registration desk, Emcee, evening event, purchasing, calling Professors to remind them of the event, coordinate pickups & drop off for professors. Some professors came from Vansthalipuram, Narayanguda and Mehdipatnam; they were picked up and dropped at a timing that was convenient for them.
The best part is after all these expenses we still were left with some funds, which we donated, to Youth for Seva foundation. This organization is coordinated and run under the guidance of our Srikanth Konda from Civil Engineering department
We have donated some funds to CHERISH, which caters to runaway kids and street/homeless kids in Hyderabad. Spouse of Ruby Simhadri, who belongs to Computer Science department, runs this organization. They have over 50 children between the ages of 2 through 15.
Several professors acknowledged that this reunion event was unique in many ways; especially the way they were being taken care (from pickups, drop offs, felicitation, visiting them for extending personal invitation, constant reminders, etc). It is no brainer to say that all of us (more than 75 students from Class of 88) were more than thrilled to meet each other, which you can see from below snaps.
Some of us already thinking of doing “thees saal baad” to commemorate 30 years of friendship, as we all met for the first time in 1984.