Class of 1951 relives good times

MEMORABLE: The first batch of students of Thiruvananthapuram medical college, with their families, at a get-together organised at the college in the city on Sunday. Photo: S. Mahinsha   | Photo Credit: S_MAHINSHA

On Sunday, when the first and oldest medical school in the State, the Thiruvananthapuram medical college, turned 60 years old, it was no mere chance that the first batch of students that passed out of its portals was there to celebrate the occasion.

Sadly, not all of those 63 students were there to remember the good old days. Twenty-four of them are not around any more. But for 27 of the remaining 39 from the class of 1951, years just fell away as they met at their alma mater.

The lessons in organic chemistry were palatable only because their professor of biochemistry Yagnanarayana Iyer was there to guide them.

As Dr. Iyer held on to the hands of one of the most illustrious students that he had taught in the first batch, M.S. Valiathan, he was overcome with joy and sadness too that so many of his other students were not there. “We were a family. And we grew together on this campus, learning from each other,” Dr. Iyer said.

For Dr. Valiathan, it was a day of mixed emotions. “We never had any get-togethers, and it is amazing to be here with everyone. But I miss some of my closest friends who are no more, Kuttikrishnan and K.P. Chandrasekhar who was so looking forward to this reunion (who passed away recently),” he said.

K. Parameswaran, professor of medicine, in his nineties, who came from Chennai, declared that of all the medical students that he had taught, the 1951 batch was the most outstanding, not just in academics, but also in discipline. “A teacher is the happiest when his students outshine him. And looking at all of them, I am the happiest person here,” he said.

The reunion was an overwhelming occasion not just for the ‘students,' but also for their children who were meeting their parents' teachers and classmates. Mini Rajan, daughter of the late V.K. Rajan, could not explain why she became teary eyed when she went over to Dr. Parameswaran and held his hands. “My dad and mom are no more. I feel so honoured to meet his teacher,” she said.

There were moments of cheer too. Lakshmi, the granddaughter of one of the batchmates N.S. Ramaswamy, gave a scintillating Bharatanatyam performance on roller skates. Lakshmi's performance was an immediate reminder to many of the graceful dancer that used to be in the class, Indira Kartha.

Dr. Kartha, who is settled in New York, was joyous that she could make it to the reunion. “One day is too short a time for us to get together,” she said.

Her classmate, Mathew Zachariah, said. “I still remember one of your dance performances in which you rose like a goddess from a lotus. Two of my friends, who always talked about a reunion, Mohammed Ilias and C.K Ramakrishnan, are sadly not with us,” he said.

Dr. Ramaswamy recalled how much they had enjoyed their time at the college because there was none to rag them.

The reunion would not have been possible but for the idle curiosity of K. Kishore Kumar, a Kayamkulam-based physician who launched a search some six months ago for the very first, home-grown doctors of the State. Initially, Dr. Kishore did not have even the full list of the batch members. But once he got in touch with Balaraman Nair, who was the first from the 1951 batch to become the Principal of his alma mater and the first Director of Medical Education, things became easier. An old photograph of the entire batch was displayed prominently at the venue. As they lined up for their reunion photo, along with five of their teachers, a fleeting memory of the class that was must have crossed their minds.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 12:26:46 PM |

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