Graduates of 1959, all former students of the Government College of Women, get-together on Friday in Thiruvananthapuram

Twenty five graduates of 1959, all former students of the Government College of Women, celebrate 50 years of friendship with a special get-together on Friday.

Their sepia-tinted photographs have turned into precious mementos. But their memories of college and school remain mint fresh. Despite the absence of social networking sites and e-mails, the friends kept in touch with each other through snail mail and the telephone.

“Some of us were classmates in Cotton Girls' High School as well. We literally grew up together and now most of us are grandmothers. But every year, after we left college, we made it a point to get together. It has been 50 years since we graduated and so we decided to celebrate that with a special reunion,” says Sudha Thampy.

The excitement is palpable in their voices on the eve of their meet on Friday at Trivandrum Club. “Sudha and I have been classmates since class four in Cotton Girls' High School. It was the telephone that helped us keep in touch. Sudha ensured that the network was alive and kept us updated with the latest news about friends and their families,” recalls Elizabeth Leela George who is coming to the city from Kochi. Joining the duo would be friends from Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi and many of those who are settled in the city.

“All of us are grandmothers and Sudha is a great-grandmother but the years fall away when we meet. The celebrations have already begun and it is a day we have been keenly waiting for,” says Leela Kaimal.

Trailblazers

Many in the group are achievers and trailblazers in their own right. For instance, Jameela Beevi, former Principal of the Government College for Women, is the first Muslim postgraduate in chemistry in Kerala. She remembers her father, Aliyaru Kunju, who encouraged his daughter to study despite a lot of opposition from within the family. “I stayed for six years in the hostel and the friends we had then have become like family now,” she adds.

And what a family. Sudha is a well known playwright and top-grade speaker for AIR while Gomathy Muralidharan, another batch mate, is the first woman electrical engineer in Kerala. Dr. Elizabeth retired as deputy director of the Marine Products Exports Development Agency and Leela opted for voluntary retirement when she was deputy registrar of Kerala University. Bangalore-based Vijayalakshmi Nair was a senior scientist. The list goes on…

But on Friday, they plan turn the clock back and become precocious ‘girls' again.