I am having difficulty sleeping. Jet lag means at about 3 in the morning, I am still wide awake. Now I’m getting worried. I need to get some shut eye soon, otherwise I will have to go to my medical school reunion with bloodshot eyes. I raid my mum’s medicine cabinet and find a sedative. Soon I drift off to sleep.
Chitra A, Claramma and I did everything together in class during our medical school years. Claramma has since changed her name and is now known as Sheela. She was the sensible one and we the silly ones. She kept us grounded and made me see sense when I behaved in an irrational manner. She moved to Calicut after her marriage and we lost contact. The good news is that she is coming today and I can’t wait to see her. I pick Sheela up on my way to the venue. We chat continuously till we reach ‘Raviz’, our venue for the next two days.
The registration has already started and the place is buzzing. Everywhere I look, I see happy faces, most I recognise, some I don’t. Everyone I meet welcomes me warmly. The affection, the sincerity, the joy is overwhelming. After registration we move inside where the function begins.
Those of us infrequent attendees are asked to come to the stage and introduce ourselves. My turn comes around too quickly and the interrogation starts. ‘Where and when did you start writing?’ and so on and so forth. At least it wasn’t the 5 whys and root cause analysis. I can’t reveal all my secrets. Where is the fun in that. The morning passes with more introductions from those who have come from afar and those who have done us proud and reached the highest positions that their posts can offer.
Lunchtime,check in and change of clothes later it’s time for our photo shoot. Chitra is still not here yet. We start taking our positions and get ready. Just before the photographer starts clicking, there she arrives like a gust of wind. Some things never change. Everyone cheers her on as she takes up her place next to Sheela and me. The men in shades of purple and the women in green. It is as Beena pointed out this morning- Solidarity at its best.
Next on the agenda is the houseboat trip. An hour of singing and fun lead by Beena, Babuannan (her husband), Anuji, Pradeep etc etc.
Once back, the evening entertainment gets underway. A solid 4-5 hours of singing, dancing and entertainment all organised and carried out by my talented classmates. They were joined by their children and in one instance a 2 year old grandchild as well, a future singer in the making. Jose Kumar and Santosh used to sing during our college years. The surprises came from closer quarters. Friends, who kept their talents hidden and have finally come out of their shells. Rafia, Usha, Rajalekshmi, Padma, Rajani, Roshan, Jose Chacko, Lekha and the list goes on.
I knew Beena could dance, but this was something else. The mohiniyattam performance was mesmerising as she moved around the stage so gracefully, and brought the story to life with her expressions. It also brought back memories of a dance performance that Beena did in the hostel during our leaving party. She didn’t have the backing song track to the dance and made us (Rafia, Sreekumari and the tone deaf moi) sing this classical song and taped it. I was in charge of playing the cassette while she danced. As you can imagine the dance was a hit and the song was one of the worst renditions you’ve ever had the misfortune to listen to and yet there I was sitting there proudly playing the song as Beena danced away.
I must give a special mention to Sasidharan, who tried to teach us the ragams of classical music, ‘aahari’ and suchlike. Although everyone told you to just get on with it, you did blow us away with your singing.
Premlal has given me permission to share his wicked sense of humour and one of his many funny moments. He explained this as a reason for not following the dress code of mundu for the guys today. Apparently he and his family were returning from a function to which he had worn the mundu. The meal was heavy and he loosens his mundu to make space for all the extra chicken pieces he had eaten (this I added, after seeing his plate today- he has this thing for chicken). So he runs out of petrol on the way home and decides to fill up. As he tries to find his wallet to pay at the petrol pump, he realises that he can feel the chill a bit more than usual and realises that his mundu is in the car with his wallet. So when I stop laughing and get my act together, I will continue where I’ve left off.