Young and old, quickly and slowly, one by one, they trooped into the hall. There were greetings, cries of welcome, incessant chattering and expressions of joy. Though the attendance was poor in the beginning, subsequently the strength reached nearly 150. The women discussed various issues relating to the centenary celebrations of the college. The topic of discussion was about creating a website for the Old Students' Association (OSA).
Nirmala Thyagarajan suggested that a website should be developed for the OSA. “It can be managed by the present students,” she added.
Some of the members wanted it to be an interactive one where the students from all over the world could contribute to it liberally and exchange ideas. Ms. Nirmala also volunteered to design the website.
Dr. K. Ambujam, principal-in-charge, informed that a website — queenmarys.net — already existed for the college and a separate menu for the OSA could be added to that. “It could also be frequently updated and the contents improved periodically.”
Ms. Ambujam also suggested that some of the OSA members could take the responsibility of a particular city or place and all the OSA members in that region could contact them through email or phone. “This way, number of OSA members would also increase. If need be, one could contact the college at 2844 4995,” she said.
Shyamala Ranganathan, 1965-68 batch, (99401 40910) agreed to be in charge of the Chennai chapter. Addressing the audience she said, “I am coming to my college after 40 years. In my times, maths and Tamil departments were very popular. Teachers of the Tamil Department such as Sarada Nambi and Arasu Manimegalai brought glory to the college.”
Need for an auditorium
The principal expressed her desire to build a huge auditorium for the college to conduct convocation and other inter-collegiate functions. She said, “It should be able to accommodate about 1,500 students who graduate every year. It must have a separate arena for the graduating candidates and the parents who come to witness the function.”
The other proposal by her was the dire need for a students' hostel. At present, the hostel has only 30 rooms and she wanted it to expand to accommodate at least 100 students. “We have students from all over the State and parents are disappointed when we tell them that their wards cannot be accommodated in the college hostel due to lack of space.”
Saroja Gurusamy, (1949-51 batch), the first patron member, was sad that though there are a number of Queen Marians all over the world, not many are aware of the OSA. Being an honorary social worker, she has given scholarships and also spread awareness about the college and its activities.
Kumararani Meena Muthiah (1950-54 batch) was married when she entered college. Taking up economics as her major subject she was involved in a lot of social activities and even in those days she paid visits to a number of slums and hospitals and served the needy there.
“I was very popular in my times and I lost the elections by a meagre margin. But I was very happy still because, except the president and vice-president who were from the science stream, the rest of the committee members were from arts.”
During tough times
Mano Bhaktavatsalam (1944-46), vice-president, OSA, studied at the college when its strength was just 200. She said, “The college was opened in 1914 as Madras College for Women and later became QMC in 1917. The cream of society studied there. Students of our times were patriotic and Khadi clothes were preferred.
During Satyagraha and blackouts we would sit in the lawn to show our solidarity and our then principal, Myers, used to be very sympathetic and understanding.”
Sarada Nambi, State Information Commissioner, has served in the college for more than three decades. She joined here as a tutor in 1969 and after several short stints in various places she rejoined the college in 85 and went on up to 2005. “I loved every minute of my stay here and so did my students,” she asserted.
Need for an interactive website for the OSA was expressed at the Meet.