While I am a fan of WhatsApp as it helps one to stay in touch almost everyday with friends and family, I also think there is no substitute for the good old “meeting in person”. Very often WhatsApp and other social media platforms lull you into believing that you are well connected, but when you actually meet in person, you may realise that your friend or family member may be happier or sadder than what they posted as their “status” and vice versa.
Also friendships over FB and Twitter cannot be termed friendships till you meet the person in flesh and blood. Sometimes the FB “talk” makes you think the person is fabulous, but reality may be different and the opposite can also be true. You may hate somebody’s views on FB but when you meet the person, you may find a lot in common.
I scanned all the pictures from 2019 and pulled together this blog so that I can relive some of those moments and also to track if Krishnan and I have recorded our reunions with friends and family … we are truly selfie and photo-challenged :):).
2019 started with a mini PGPMAX reunion in Jan. Kiran came to Gurgaon along with his son for a few days. Luckily at that time, Prabhu was also in Gurgaon. On 6th Jan, Kiran, Prabhu, Raman, Vandana and rarely-seen-Antony got together at my place for a meal.
Then in Feb 2019, we surprised Amma by celebrating her birthday in Tirunelveli. We got to meet Amma’s classmate Seshi Mami and her husband Rajamani Mama. I have to write about their love story too :). So Feb started with Amma’s mini reunion with her school friend.
We got back to Chennai and managed to meet Usha and Rangarajan besides meeting Nachi, Kousalya and Dhanush. Amma and I also went over to meet the newest entry to our family – Sri Varahan, my cousin Aravind’s son.
In March 2019, we we were in Pune and managed to meet up my closest friends from KVHV Shillong – Geetu and Javed. We also got the chance to meet Jyoti (Nishi’s daughter) along with one of her friends. This was the first time we were meeting her after she passed out of OTA, Chennai. We also met Seenu Chitappa, Usha Akka, Pavithra (my cousin) and her family, Hema and Yogesh, Kesho and his daughters, Amar, from my PGPMAX gang Mano, Kapil and Prasad and my KVAFA friend Sanjay…. but didn’t take pictures. I told you, we are photo-challenged !
In April 2019, I turned 50 and my cousin Danam’s daughter Jayashri got married. Coincidentally, my cousins Danam and Rajam got married in April 1990, the same year as Krishnan and I got married. Danam, Rajam and Mythili all came home as Amma is their favourite aunt. Particularly Danam is very attached to Amma and the feeling is mutual :).
May, June and July were relatively quieter months in terms of having reunions – guess the elections, the super hot weather, Amma’s cataract operation and our travels didn’t leave us much time to catch up.
In August we made up for the drought :). First up in August was going to see Athi Varadar at Kanchipuram. Also got to meet my Athai (bua) who lives there. Met Rajini and Latha at the hotel but didn’t click any pics.
Then on 16th of Aug, the KVAFA gang got together as Bhagya was visiting Delhi at that time, we all got together in Delhi NCR.
A week later, Sajive was in town so the PGPMAX NCR gang had a quick get together.
An added bonus was to meet Sunny at the same restaurant and discovering the fact that he has worked with Anir :).
September we met our dear friends Keshav and Anu in Munich.
In October when we went to pick up Amma from Hyderabad, we met Koka and his family, Nisha, Kishore and Aaliyah, my batchmate Narayanan and of course my mother’s most favourite Anu (my cousin) and her family. In late October, Venkatesh Narasimhan, MD Cooptex, did a presentation on the different motifs used in sarees at the TamilNadu bhavan. Met Meenu there but couldn’t get a picture with her. Managed to be in the same frame with Rachna and Venkatesh though.
In Oct we re-connected with Sachin, our fellow PedalYatri who has moved back to Gurgaon from Germany. We managed to do “ONE” ride with him before pollution took over our lives and we are yet to get back on the saddle after that one outing on Oct 26th.
In October my other cousin Rohini and Athimber came over. They live in Coimbatore and Rohini has never come home. We of course meet regularly and because Appa was posted in Sulur, Appa and Amma know Rohini’s in-laws’ family as well. Exactly during the two days that Rohini came over, Krishnan’s friend and ex-colleague Ganesh, came over. We managed to click a picture with him but not a single pic with Rohini and Athimber :).
The other person who came over in October was Ranjeet, along with Shalu and Ria. Just a day before they came over, Ranjeet and I were arguing about something on our WhatsApp group chat and he said, I will continue in person tomorrow. And he actually came over !
The month of November was dedicated to dealing with pollution ! It was quite bad with all of us taking turns in falling sick. We did meet with Rajesh, Seema, Manish and Swati but the entire month was mostly spent indoors. November is also the month when we have our Annual reunion of our Pgpmax batch.. This time the reunion was in Pune and I had booked my tickets to go on day one and return the next day afternoon as I wanted to meet with Geetu and Javed in Pune. I had planned on staying with Geetu and had informed her about it. As luck would have it, I fell sick the day I was to take the flight – bad cold, cough and fever that took nearly a week to let go. I missed my first reunion in 5 years.
November was also the month when we had the DellNuts reunion as Adi was in Delhi. I added the picture to the media gallery but forgot to add it to this post – have given the DellNuts gang a point to score over me for life :):). Prashant Bharadwaj was also in India but couldn’t make it to the reunion and Charu and Rohit couldn’t. We will have to try another time. We went to our favourite hangout since the Spectramind days – Eatopia, at the India Habitat centre.
We took this picture outside after we had our lunch. Adi took a few pictures inside as well but some body part of one of us was missing in each of them 🙂 and we kept trying to use the “gesture” option on my OPPO phone but it never worked. Charu and I did get to meet Peter just before he left for Australia.
The best month of 2019 was December. We met with Abhay in his office after almost a year and I decided to call Kapil Abrol to organise a get-together of the old Tuff Trak gang. Atleast Kapil hadn’t changed his number and he even managed to recognise my cold-altered voice. He is now in Gurgaon and we managed to meet him the same day in the evening. Thanks to him we managed to re-connect with our dear friends Harjit and Gurleen, after a gap of nearly 16 years. We still cannot figure out how we lost contact but we did. Thanks to Kapil for having their contact number and hearing Harjit’s voice on Dec 4th morning was something else.
We went over the same day to meet up and kept talking till late at night. Our circle of friends was complete. Not being in touch with Harjit and Gurleen was something we spoke of almost every other day. Finally we were back in touch.
Well, the above pic was taken exactly a month later on Jan 5th :):). We forgot to take one on Dec 4th. Hahaha.
When we came to Delhi in 1997, penniless and without knowing anyone, Uncle and Aunty adopted us as their own. Surabhi was working with Tuff Trak then and she took us home. Uncle spoke to a colleague of his and got us our first house on rent …. We stayed in Navkala Apartments for 5 years and Uncle and Aunty mean the world to us. Aunty and my mother-in-law had come to the Gurgaon house for the Grihapravesam. Their faith in us meant a great deal to us especially when we were struggling. They now live in Hyderabad with Gaurav. We kept missing them in Hyderabad because we never think of them and Hyderabad – for us they live in Navkala :). They had come for a wedding to Meerut and Aunty had told me that they will be at the Navkala place for a couple of days. We went over on Dec 14th and met them.
Just as the year was to complete, Vishal, Praty, Veer and Neel came over. We were meeting Praty after many years. For the first time I wanted to adopt a child – Neel just stole my heart. Can you imagine a little boy offering to take all the coffee cups and putting them in the sink ? He actually did it :):).
Beautiful memories …. the saddest memory of course is of meeting Anubha in November and then Krishnan meeting her in December… but she wouldn’t want us to be sad. So will remember her happily.
Am tracking all the reunions more closely in 2020. Just need to be disciplined about getting a picture together. Anyway, encourage children to meet in person and not just over ether, the feeling is so different and the relationships are so much stronger !!