This is the third reunion of our batch in the last couple of years. I missed the first two and wanted to make it this time. A lot of my old friends were coming. Chiefly my old pal Kamran Ali Mirza, my benchmate for the last three years at school and co-sufferer of the rowdy pranks of Sanjay Gabriel and other last benchers. Kamran and I shared some fabulous times and competed for the most polite boy award in class (read as quietest). Kamran pipped me to the award always. We shared a love for cricket, books, he was better at academics than I was, but mostly we bonded over our tiffins - he loved the dosas (which I hated, after a lifetime of eating them) and I loved the kheema parathas he would get (he obviously shared the same sentiments I had for dosas). The quiet walks to the library, to the school grounds where we walked serenely while the rest of the non-contenders for the most-polite-boy award played, to Ashok's canteen to celebrate with a ragda samosa, our conspiracy to attend cricket selections in our tenth class. In fact, a whole chapter of 'The Misfit' my first book (unpublished) was about this secret exchange of our tiffins and how there's a gold mine right next to you if you stay patient and keep your eyes open.
I have not seen Kamran since 1982, all of 36 years now, though we somehow made contact through Facebook. He told me that he saw me play a Ranji match - my last one as it turned out - where I got whacked by Abdul Jabbar in a suicidal last spell. I wish he'd seen my better spells.
Farrukh Azam was another whom I met once after school and was keen to meet. Arif, Nirmal Singh Bagga, Vinay (our basketball champ), Meiraj, Ashok, Charles, Archie, Ramana, Sultan, Shyam, Joel, Ammar, Ghanshyam, Jalal, Mohammed Ali, Farees, Ram (he owned a leather shop in Abids), Sanjay Das (owns Karma, a pub in Banjara Hills where we met), Nusrat, Haji, and others are local and we meet sometimes. Arif, Vinay and Jamshed had actually made it to the book launch of 50 Not Out! Kamran, Zaki, Azharuddin, Naser, Viquar, are from Dubai and Saudi while Farrukh and Dr. Faiz are from the US. That's about 28. Not a bad number for a reunion.
The ones I am in touch with and who did not make it are Abhijit who is in the US, Pradeep (US), Ved (Australia), Rajshekhar (US), Narender (US), Deepak (Brazil). Rudra is in Bangalore and I am in touch over FB. Chandu is in Kolkata. Narayan and Suresh are in Hyderabad but both could not make it. Vasu and Choudary are in constant touch. So are Ehtesham and D. Suresh. I met Farrukh Ali Khan at D's home a year ago. I believe Dr. Chakradhar is a busy ortho now.
Anyway, the party was to start at 7 pm and Ramana was the only one there. I walked in at 710. Ramana is an architect now but he told me he had composed some seriously good music for the Telugu industry including Gulabi, a huge musical hit. We entertained each other until Arif, Mohammed Ali and Charles arrived. Ammar came next and went to attend a wedding. And then came Ashok Sugandhi, who owns a dairy, a farm, an age-old agarbatti brand and a jewellery shop. Jalal is a lawyer. Ammar now a CEO of a school after a long career in finance - Stanchart mostly.
Nirmal has this hugely popular Bagga Wines. Arif runs Crown Opticals and always has. Vinay is back from the US and runs a successful pest control and facility management company. Farrukh works for the US Federal government. Faiz is a doctor and writes wonderful poetry as I could see on the messages on phone - and also wrote a book on Internal Medicine for the Medical Council. Very accomplished and he looks it too. Zaki is General Secretary of the Saudi Indian Business Network and gets felicitated and featured in the news for some great work. Azhar, Nasir, Viquar are also from the Saudi and work. Kamran works in Dubai in operations.nothing. Charles does a marketing job and Archie is with Yatra at the airport. I think that's as much as I could gather.
Shyam and Ghanshyam run their leather businesses. Sanjay Das has a franchise for veterinary products and this beautiful pub overlooking KBR -'Karma'. Nusrat said he was doing nothing or was that Meiraj - both seem to be leading retired lives.
Lots of talk about the teachers - Sastry sir, Naidu sir, Dixit sir, Bro. Thomas, Kusuma teacher, Jugta teacher, Mrs Luthra, Rafat Muneer, Martina teacher, Dhruvaraj sir, and others, mischief makers and some memorable events.
The place served some great food and we took lots of pictures. A cake was cut late in the evening, we posed for some more pictures and then I came away. I caught up with as many as I could, spent lots of time with Kamran. Wonderful.
Missed Abhijit, Deepak Uttam Singh, Rudra, Deepak Dhanani, Jamshed, Ved Vyas Dhar, Farrukh, Sanjay Gabriel (now no more), Abdul Rub (Madina), Maqsood, Satpal (who was an ace at Maths and now runs a family business in the old city says Nirmal), Venkat (cricketer), Rajesh Chetty (cricketer), Nayeem (football champ), Suresh, Chandu, Narayan, Narender, Pradeep and so many others from the C section. Fill me up if you guys remember others.
Wonderful meeting. Azhar did a great job of organising it and pulling it off very well. Nirmal seems to have played some part in it too and much thanks is owed to Sanjay for his hospitality and the lovely place. A bunch of old men, onlookers would have thought. It was a bunch of schoolboys really. You should have heard some of the conversations that floated about. Enough to make a sailor blush. But we always prided ourselves in being the rowdiest bunch around anyway! Until the next then.
|Standing: Vinay, Shyam, Ghanshyam, Farrukh, Charles, Jala, Archie, Ramana, Ashok, Me, Viquar, Ammar, Nasir, Arif, Ra, Nusrat, Haji, Nirmal, Meiraj|
Sitting: Mohd Ali, Farees, Azhar, Sultan, Joel, Sanjay Das, Kamran, Zaki, Dr. Faiz
|Kamran and I catching up after 36 years - he remembers the dosas and I remember the parathas - thanks Moms|
|Arif, Archie, Charles Kamran and Me|
|Arif, Ramana and Me|
|Iconic pic - sums it up - Farrukh and Nirmal|
|Lovely setting - Md. Ali, Charles, Nasir, Vinay and Faiz|
|The cake being cut by Sanjay and Azhar - Host and organiser|
|Sanjay Das at the Karma love sign|
|Vinay doing a nifty step or two watched by Azhar and Nirmal|
|Sanjay, Arif, Ashok, Nirmal, Nusrat, Mohd Ali|