‘93’s Homecoming: A Reminiscent Reunion
“For their hearts were softened by their return, and such a change had come to pass, that they felt like on who were toiling home barefoot from distant travel and whose wanderings had lasted many years,”
Such a euphoric trip to nostalgia was experienced by the batch of 1993 of the then Regional Engineering College, Rourkela as they gathered to commemorate the silver-jubilee year of their batch. A three-day celebration (25-27 December) comprising sightseeings, meetings and fun activities continued as the batch beamed with the glow of retrospect and re-explored events and relationships of the past. The event was coordinated by Ajit Kumar Dash, Prabir Behera, B.B Dash, A.V Pradeep, Biju Vasudevam, Nivedita Roy, Satyabrata Mishra, Asha Sachdev and Bhodru Lakra.
Day 1: The Icebreaker For Rengcolians
Amidst the brumous Rourkela, mist overlooked the NITR campus, waiting to welcome its children back into its arms, rekindling their minds and hearts with the memories cloaked under the struggles of life. Synonymous to the attendance during their student life, the attendees registered their presence, clocking in at a total of 170+ registrations out of a batch of 310 students which set the benchmark high.
All the attendees were given a red carpet welcome and were provided with a welcome kit and a T-shirt. Further proceedings were held at BBA, where the welcome speech was delivered by Ganesh Raghavan, CEO & MD, Tata Automobiles Limited. The audience were walked down the memory lane by Anil Jaladi, Chief Human Resource Officer at Capgemini. This was followed by a one-minute silent prayer for the departed souls of their batchmates. There were various performances by the batchmates, their better halves and their kids, all of which was coordinated by Abou Baker, Sunita Dash and Anil Jaladi. The reunion was immortalized by way of branch-wise group photo sessions. Preparations were made for Lunch in the SAC garden, following which the alumni set out on a campus tour, marvelling at the progress that had taken place on the campus since their departure. Even within all the changes they saw on the campus, they found their constant on the hem of her campus, the backpost.
It looks like even after all these years, backpost still remains the most popular gate
Director, in his speech addressing the batch of ‘93.
And this time it was alumni’s turn to give something back to the backpost. The whole of the ‘93 batch donated a sum of Rupees Ten thousand to two shops in backpost.
Arrangements were made for outdoor games at the stadium, and prizes were awarded to the victors. As the day dawned upon completion, the batch of ‘93 was dismissed for the day only to reconvene at Indo German Club, Sector-3 for Cocktail Dinner and a Musical Night, where the in-house talent displayed their musical prowess by way of musical performances.
Day 2: Rewinding the ‘93 saga
The second day was more of a formal affair as the meeting commenced with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp, accompanied by the chanting of solemn mantras. Among the galaxy of dignitaries were the Chief Guest, Dr Somnath Mishra (Former Principal, REC, ‘93 batch), Shantanu Behera (Associate Dean of Alumni Relations) and Dr Animesh Biswas (Director, NIt Rourkela). Kaushik Mohanty extended a formal welcome to all the alumni present and took everyone on an amusing present and took everyone on an amusing ride down the memory lane, sharing the anecdotes about the old gates which was used for escape and the inane privileges enjoyed by the female community, all thanks to the gender ratio of 1:20.
Besides this, he highlighted the aspects of anger management and dealing with ambiguity and praises this meet that served a perfect platform to amalgamate personalities across barriers.
Following it was the speech by our very own director who proudly enumerated the top rankings of NIT, as stated in NIRF and Times World rankings. Among the major announcements made was the introduction of the “Distinguished Alumni Award” which would mandatorily include two female alumni. Besides being delighted by the turnout, he focused on the need of alumni to climb up the ladder and increase the Alumni Corpus Fund to prosper and compete with IITs regarding brand value.
The most awaited moment came in the form of the release of the Souvenir of their batch, christened as #Rewind93, which was open to sale at the registration counter. Along with it were launched two books: ‘In the Whirlpools of the Koel River’, authored by Virinchi B Srinivasan and ‘Soar high into the sky’, a collection of short stories and poems by Nivedita Roy. In the meantime, the enthusiasm among the audience was impeccable as they cheered all along the course of events. Next in the line of events was a talk by Shantanu Behera who spoke about the progressive years of NIT back then, given that a remarkable thirty per cent of the students were doctorate research scholars. He continued:
I invite the alumni to have consistent engagement with it's Alma mater and contribute largely in the procurement of infrastructure and ensure holistic growth by way of funding scholarships, patronising classrooms and funding the education of bright students whose families are financially incompetent.
A rambling round of applause welcomed Dr Somnath Mishra, the Principal of the batch of ‘93 when he took to deliver his speech. He was reminiscent of his days with the batch of ‘93, and boasted of all his students who have spanned the globe and brought this institution laurels. He seconded Shantanu Behera in emphasising on the importance of alumni relations in the development of an institute with the repute of NIT Rourkela, saying that it helps in three aspects- creating a positive impression of the Institute for the employers, providing inroads to internships at organizations previously inaccessible to students and sponsoring research work.
Felicitation of the professors of that batch by the Chief Guest was conducted, and a roadmap for Golden Jubilee was laid down thereafter. The event concluded with a vote of thanks as the alumni clubbed for group photos with the professors. A veritable banquet was hosted by the institute which unfolded many tales and discussions.
An atmosphere of conviviality hanged about as the batch of ‘93 went on sightseeing to the banks of the Koel River; wherein lies embossed countless memories and emotions of their times. Last but not least, the revelry reached its zenith in the Grand Gala Musical Night followed by a sumptuous dinner at Indo-German Club. While a band from Bhubaneswar performed brilliantly, the evening was made resplendent by the moves and songs of the in-house talents.
The visitors were satisfied with the arrangements managed by the coordinators. As team MM went on taking comments from alumni, people made positive remarks and revealed their reminiscent attachments with the institute, still intact. Sanjay Roy Choudhary, alumni from the Department of Metallurgical and Material Sciences who is currently working in a private company in Saudi Arabia, expressed his feelings about revisiting the campus,
I am visiting the campus for the first time after I left the institute since my final year exam. The infrastructure is much developed, the surroundings look greener, and the hostel facilities have improved a lot compared to the old days of our time.
Applauding the efforts in the event-management, he added,
The events were extremely well-managed and coordinated. People are turning impatient to wait till the golden jubilee; rather they want it to be organised in every five years’ interval(grins).
Soma Sarkar, another alumnus of the same batch from the Department of Applied Electronics & Instrumentation Engineering, said,
The institute has changed and improved a lot since our times, especially the girls’ accommodations have comparatively more facilities now. Moreover, the number of branches have increased and the post-graduates have more options in comparison our time when it was more of an under-graduates’ college.
Dr Animesh Biswas made a light-hearted suggestion on this occasion,
Making history is a daunting task, and narrating it correctly after many years is even more difficult. So we can make a metallic Time Capsule, consisting of all the little things that are synonymous to NIT Rourkela and bury it deep down, so that it can be revisited after about a century or so(smiles).
Day 3: A Formal Departure
It was more of an informal affair, where the alumni met each other in personal capacities. People who hadn’t met ever since their college days indulged in reliving memories. As the day came to an end, it was time for the class of ‘93 to disperse.
The whole event was a telltale of mischiefs, dreams and triumph. While NITR parts ways with her alumni, the alumni take with them a piece of their REC in their hearts to be forever cherished.