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When the air was thick with memories

D. Madhavan
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Old friends shared old stories at Madras Medical College’s reunion of its 1964 batch

Snap, snap:The air was abuzz with clicks as over 100 alumni got together on Saturday on the premises of the college —Photo: K. Pichumani
Snap, snap:The air was abuzz with clicks as over 100 alumni got together on Saturday on the premises of the college —Photo: K. Pichumani

Once a year, R. Gopalakrishnan, an eminent cardiologist based in Pittsburgh, visits India for pilgrimages. This year too, he landed in the city, but for a different kind of pilgrimage — meeting his classmates and reminiscing about college days at the Madras Medical College’s Golden Jubilee Reunion of the 1964 batch of MBBS and BDS students on the college premises on Saturday.

More than 100 alumni belonging to the 1964 batch of MMC along with their relatives, gathered at the college for a reunion — sharing old memories and other developments since their previous get-together on the same premises in 2000.

“I find it difficult to recognise many of my classmates here, but the idea of meeting them alone made me enthusiastic to attend the event,” said well-built, grey-haired, K. Sadasivam, who flew in from Kuala Lumpur to participate in the meet.

The reunion had individual and group photo sessions of classmates for a commemorative mug, a thanksgiving session for teachers, and a lot of time spent in talking about days of yore.

But the most interesting part of the event was the four-hour-long slideshow where an old photograph of each student of the class was displayed, and they were introduced to the gathering, and asked to share memories as well as their current status.

When the emcee S. Nedunchezian, introduced T. Mangayarkarasi, a general practitioner, to the audience, she asked a question an answer to which had eluded her for 50 years: she wanted to know why her classmates used to shout ‘frog’ whenever she entered the classroom. Immediately, 67-year-old S. Subash, one of the organisers, a gastroenterologist, quipped that it was because they thought her voice was like that of a frog. The audience burst into laughter.

Sharing an incident from their college days, D. Yogam from Salem said that when a group of his classmates that included Rajan Santosham, one of the organisers of the meet, and professor of thoracic surgery, Cancer Institute (Adyar), went for a film during their second year, Dr. Santosham was stopped at the ticket counter by the staff who asked him how could they bring a high school student to a cinema theatre.

Likewise, when Dr. T. Rajamanickam, another participant, tried to convince his professor to allow him to write his examinations despite low attendance in pathology, he was told by his professor that he should try writing one paper each year, instead of all in a single year, as that would give him more time to prepare for the examinations.

Except for a few doctors such as Dr. Santosham and C.S. Vijayashankar, senior cardio-thoracic surgeon, most of MMC’s 1964 batch has settled abroad, mainly in the US and UK. However, after a year-long effort in which the internet played a key role, the organisers managed to contact the alumni and bring them together.

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