Confessions before a college reunion
Sepia-tinted memories and unsettling realities
So, before I realized, it’s time for the 25th year college reunion of my engineering school class, where some 150 of us will spend three days reliving the golden years.
A college reunion is all about meeting old friends and making new connections. But it’s also a magnet for deep judgement – who achieved what, who didn’t, whose marriage disintegrated, who died and how, and the most profound one, who still looks good.
Ever since I signed up to attend the event, like a Bharatanatyam dancer enacting the Nava Rasas, I have been experiencing my own largely terrible Rasas all fuelled by the impending reunion. And this is despite having lived on my own terms, pursuing a career while enjoying a fulfilling family life, and giving back to society in my own little ways.
Through careful introspection aided by fine red wine, I’ve been able to identify the reasons I’ve reacted this way to my impending college reunion and I’m letting you in on these now. So when you are faced with an event like this, you are prepared.
Confession 1: (at the cost of ripping apart my self-image of an evolved woman): I had spent three out of four years dating a college senior, who went on to become my husband. Since I was wearing rose-coloured glasses then, I barely attended class, much less hung out with people from my own batch. The result – frequent nightmares of being in a room full of people at my college reunion who I didn’t recognise in their best of days, now expecting me to know of their existence.
Confession 2: Back then, I had my share of admirers. Admittedly, this is not saying much since the ratio of men to women in our college was 4: 1. And the fact that the guys had nicknamed the girls ‘non-males’.
But two kids, countless gourmet meals and 15 kilos later, I find myself working against the clock to nudge my complacent metabolism into overdrive to shed a few layers before the reunion. Eating chillies, drinking hot water, swallowing ayurvedic choorans… everything has been incorporated into this futile initiative.
To make things worse, thanks to my years of classical dance training, I have been elected to the organizing committee for a flash mob to be performed at the college reunion. On one side, there is the embarrassing reality that my wobbly bits will be dancing to their own tune.
On the other, there is fear. That my erstwhile ‘aashiqs’ will now judge me as an ‘aunty’ when they have transitioned into ‘uncles’ themselves.
Confession 3: My undergrad school was home to some of the brightest minds in the country. While many have gone on to have exceptional corporate careers, a few have broken the mould and are doing meaningful work in the fields of research, philanthropy and innovation. Comparing careers and life paths with the calibre of players in this round is intimidating, to say the least.
Confession 4 : I will meet my undergrad sisterhood, the ladies I spent four of my best years away from home with – my ‘wingies’. These are girls who have loved me for myself, taken care of me when I was sick, lent me their best clothes for special occasions, listened to and counselled me through boyfriend fights, and appreciatively eaten the dense cakes I’ve baked on their birthdays.
I know that the joy of meeting them will dwarf any anxiety, fear and intimidation this reunion has caused me. Husbands, kids, careers all cast aside for three glorious days under our college sun. When the worries and annoyances of our lives will dissolve into hysterical and healing laughter. This alone, despite my trepidation and misgivings, makes this reunion one I wouldn’t miss for the world.
Stylist: Divya Gursahani, HMU: Mausam Gandhi, Models: Chandni (left) and Sumaya Hazarika (right)