Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - A Year in Books

49. Down from 53. But there were some tomes 'Mein Kampf', 'An Autobiography of Malcolm X', 'Emma', 'Story', 'Good to Great', 'A Clutch of Indian Masterpieces'.
Some of the books before going to the 'read shelf' from the 'to read shelf'.
Here's the list.

1) Gung Ho - Ken Blanchard
2) High five - Ken Blanchard
3) Good Strategy, Bad Strategy - Richard Rumelt
4) Mrs. Funny Bones - Twinkle Khanna
5) The Gate of Hundred Sorrows - Rudyard Kipling
6) Fall of Icarus - Ovid
7) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark twain
8) Sindbad the Sailor
9) Serious Men - Manu Joseph
10) Everyone Loves a Good Drought - P. Sainath
11) Tell Tale Heart - Edgar Allan Poe
12) A Clutch of Indian Masterpieces - Edited by David Davidar
13) Women and Men in My Life - Khushwant Singh
14) How We Weep and Laugh at the Same Thing - Michel de Montagne
15) Tao of Motivation - Max Landsberg
16) Tomorrow - Joseph Conrad
17) The Game Changers - Kiran Kumar
18) The Great Winglebury Duel - Charles Dickens
19) Plato - A Graphic Novel
20) The Autobiography of Malcolm X - Alex Haley
21) Triggers - Marshall Goldsmith
22) Adultery - Paulo Coelho
23) Chicken Soup for the Soul - Victor Cansfield and Mark Hansen
24) Humour in Cricket - Manohar Sharma
25) Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler
26) Pyre - Perumal Murugan
27) Kim - Rudyard Kipling
28) 100 Simple Secrets of Happy Families - David Niven
29) Eye of the Needle - Ken Follett
30) Chain of Custody - Anita Nair
31) Emma - Jane Austen
32) From Man to Maneater - Sumanth
33) The Decision Book - Mikael Krogeros
34) Driven - Vijay Lokapally
35) Hindutva or Hind Swaraj - U.R. Anantamurthy
36) My Father Balaiah - Y.B. Satyanarayana
37) I Never Danced at the Whitehouse - Art Buchwald
38) Good to Great - Jim Collins
39) The World of Hrishikesh Mukherjee - Jai Arjun Singh
40) Matilda - Roald Dahl
41) I Too Had a Love Story - Ravinder Singh
42) An Exile - Madison James
43) Story - Robert McKee
44) One Part Woman - Perumal Murugan
45) Work Rules - Laszlo Block
46) Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhyss
47) So, You Think You're Clever - John Farndon
48) Jest in Time - Jug Suraiya, Ajit Ninan and Neelabh Banerjee
49) The Atheist's Mask - Honore de Balzac
50) The Best of Arabian Nights
51) Saki - The Complete Short Stories

'Story', 'Good to Great' were exceptional. It was great reading the classics like 'Emma', 'Kim', Adventures of Tom Sawyer', 'Mein Kampf', 'An Exile'. Sainath's 'Everyone Loves a Good Drought' is a must read just as 'My Father Balaiah' is. 'Work Rules was an interesting read.
Looking forward to some nice ones in 2017. I have my eyes set on a few books authors.

2016 - A Year in Movies

78. Up from 70 last year.

And some wonderful ones - the old classics stand out for their story telling. The Wizard of Oz, African Queen, Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Brazil, Charlie Chaplin. Among the new ones Trumbo, Grand Budapest Hotel, 2 Days 1 Night, Apollo 13. Dangal was fantastic. I discovered a bunch of brilliant Marathi movies - Elizabeth Ekadashi stood out among those just as Katiyar Kaljhat Ghusli. And Sairat was an experience.

1) Boys in the Hood
2) Narrow Margin
3) Talwar
4) Singing in the Rain
5) Neerja
6) Diana
7) Kabhie Kabhie
8) Selma
9) Dhoom3
10) Ratatouille
11) The Good Dinosaur
12) Asterix and the Mansion of Gods
13) Prisoners
14) Grand Budapest Hotel
15) Gulaal
16) 2 Days 1 Night
17) Malcolm X
18) Citylights
19) Fly Away Home
20) Elysium
21) Spolight
22) Atonement
23) Adaptation
24) Jungle Book
25) Court
26) Unforgiven
27) Kshanam
28) Laws of Attraction
29) 12 O Clock High
30) Frenzy
31) Sairat
32) Finding Dory
33) African Queen
34) Red Cliff
35) Kapoor and Sons
36) Bombay Talkies
37) The Secrert Life of Pets
38) In Custody
39) A..aa
40) Traffic
41) Dhanak
42) Hullaballoo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures
43) Pelli Choopulu
44) Natrang
45) Jyo Achyutananda
46) Tingya
47) Dyasparva
48) L7
49) Bicycle Thief
50) Cedar Rapids
51) Born Free
52) Eight Below
53) MS Dhoni - The Untold Story
54) Pink
55) Apollo 13
56) Dear Zindagi
57) A Series of Unfortunate Events
58) Balgandhava
59) Natsamrat
60) Trolls
61) My Fair Lady
62) Katyar Kaljhat Ghusli
63) Kaksparsh
64) Elizabeth Ekadashi
65) Charlie Chaplin
66) Waiting
67) Birdman
68) The Wizard of Oz
69) Danish Girl
70) The Fault in Our Stars
71) City Lights
72) The Serious Man
73) Brazil
74) Drunken Angel
75) Trumbo
76) Dangal
77) Pittagoda
78) Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Friday, December 30, 2016

Jest in Time - Jug Suraiya, Neelabh Banerjee, Ajit Ninan

Brought out to celebrate 175 years of Times of India, 'Jest in Time' is a compilation of some of the greatest cartoons, by eight of India's greatest cartoonists, over  a long period of time. RK Laxman's cartoons occupy centre stage, Ninan's Jug Suraiya's and Neelabh Banerjee's.

Politics, sports, poverty, common man, elections, votes, foreign policy, bureaucracy, office politics, Mumbai...you name it, you have it. It's a fantastic collection of cartoons and I finally savored them over a three month period.

Some of the cartoons are so dark and so hard hitting that you wonder how they got away. In fact there is a cartoon where a politician and a cartoonist are both heading to jail - one for the crime and another for lampooning it in his cartoon. One of a corrupt politician in jail and he is accompanied by the anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare. So many on black money, Pakistan, USA.

Thanks Sagar.  

So, You Think You're Clever - John Farndon

The books compiles some 60 interview questions from Oxford and Cambridge - which means you need to think a bit. Questions come from Biological Sciences, History. Physics Maths, Theology, Literature, Medicine etc.

A sample.
Why do human beings have two eyes? How would you poison someone without the police finding out? (Do it in small doses so he or she doesn't die is one answer) How do you organise a successful revolution? (I did a fairly good job on that.) What makes a strong woman? Would Mussolini have been interested in archaeology? (Apparently, yes) Will this bag be ever empty? (Difficult.) Was Shakespeare a rebel? (Absolutely) If there were three beautiful naked women standing in front of you, which one would you pick? And does this have any relevance to economics? (A matter of choice so yes) Why do you think Charlotte Bronte detested Jane Austen? How many molecules are there in a glass of water? Which was is the earth spinning?

The questions themselves are interesting but Farndon's responses are even more so. Overall you learn a bit, entertain yourselves a bit - like how many revolutions Federer and Nadal put on the tennis ball (F puts 2600 and N puts over 5000).

Nice book to read, bit by bit by bit. Thanks Satish.

Dangal - Movie Review

Aamir Khan is back to doing what he does best - the sports drama. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar had that wonderful bike race, Ghulam and boxing, Lagaan and cricket, Dangal and wrestling. The ageing wrestler who wants his daughters to win an international gold medal for India that he could not achieve (based on true life story of Mahavir Singh Singh Phogat and his daughters Geeta and Babita Phogat), Dangal is among the best sports dramas we have seen on the Indian screen. Honest, simple and straightforward story telling.


Aamir Khan is as good as he gets. But the movie's highlight was the way the wrestling matches were shown - its wrestling of the highest level. The girls especially Fatima Sana Shaikh who gets more action in the ring, and Sanya Malhotra were brilliant in their preparation and there are no tricks - they prepared and showed what they prepared for. Incredible. For that matter even Aamir Khan looks every inch a pahelwan all through.

If anything works in creative work, honesty does. Dangal works for its honesty.

The Paradoxes of Our Lives - What We Really Want, We Live

What we truly want, we live.

We live that life without explanations. without justifications. Without feeling its lack. It just is.



Beyond that is stuff we aren't living - but want. More money, more success, more love, more fun, more happiness. That 'more' is the stuff we aren't sure about.

Should we want that stuff? Why is not part of our lives already if we want it? Are we to force it?

Or just be.

We are. We are not trying to be.

For a reason.

But when we see the more, we are aware of the lack. It changes things.

More is not merely about growth. It's about how we want to achieve the growth. Do we do it by feeling small and less than or by seeing the magnificent possibilities out there?


Anjali - I Don't Know What I'll Be Nanna, I Have Time to Figure It Out

We were driving home when I asked Anjali what she wanted to be when she grew up.

She thought about it for a while and then replied.
'I don't know what I'll be when I grow up Nanna. But I have time to figure it out.'

Ah, that's true. You have time to figure out whatever you want to be. But you will be you surely and the idea is to be the best you that you can be.

Anjali - Interview With A Seven and a Half Year Old

(I found this in the drafts - looks good enough)
And finally after much dilly dallying we got to this one rather late. The idea was to do interviews every six months but this time its been close to nine months since the last. My fault entirely.

Q. Anjali, now you're 7 and a half, almost 8 years. How do you feel?
A. Happy. Maybe not that happy because 7 is my favorite number.

Q. What happened last year?
A. I saw Imagica. We went to Goa. We got a cycle for me. My school group expanded.

Q. How?
A. Every year we go one class higher.

Q. What are your favorite books now?
A. Encyclopedias. Princess stories. Tinkle. Amelia Jane.

Q. Your favorite movies?
A. ABCD 2, Inside Out, Dil Dhadakne Do.

Q. Favorite food?
A. Liver. In school we eat palak dal with papad. Chocolate cake. Mango. Guava. Chicken biryani.

Q. What were the interesting things you did last year?
A. -

Q. What makes you happy?
A. Mansi

Q. What makes you sad?
A. I don't know what makes me sad.

Q. When do you become sad?
A. When I get hurt. If I fall down.

Q. What do you want to do this year?
A. I want to go to Ooty, Hampi. I want to participate in the Olympiad. Win the gold medal. Want to learn singing.

Q. Who are the people who make you happy?
A. Nanna. Mamma. Mansi. Harsh. Satish mama. Baba. Mythily atta. Vihaan.

Q. Do you get any dreams?
A. Once I saw a dream. I was holding a cup. On it was written 'Best S in the world'. Pink dress. Long hair. Not that long.

Q. You like school?
A. Obviously.

Q. Why?
A. Aerobics. Skating. Teaching. Music. Assembly. Friends.

Q. What do you like doing the most?
A. Singing. Dancing.

Q. What is life?
A. Life is life.

Q. How to be happy?
A. Have fun. Be with your friends. Do whatever you like to do.

Q. What's your favorite cartoon?
A. Mickey Mouse.

Q. What makes you laugh the most?
A. Baba. You. Mansi. Mamma. Once she told me a funny joke. Kaikeyi slapped the king.

Q. What is the funniest joke you heard?
A. One joke happened. Masni was doing a practice test. 1000 + 1000. But the answer was less than 100. She didn't laugh that much. I did.

Q. What scares you?
A. Harsh scared me. Little. Funny kind of scare. Haunted House. Rats. Lizards on the floor. When they are up on the wall its ok.

Q. Do you tell everything to Mamma and Nanna?
A. Really. I tell everything.

Q. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A. Archeologist. Popular. Everyone should take my name.

Q. Why?
A. For money.

Q. What will you do with that money?
A. Buy a TV. House. Villa. Aquarium. Table. Chair. Big book shelf. Lots of books. Fridge. I want everything in Gauri maushi's house.

Q. Do you want to be popular or just rich?
A. Just rich.

Q. You'll become popular by being an archeologist?
A. Yes.

Q. Who's your favorite star?
A. Shraddha Kapoor. Ranbir Kapoor. In cartoon characters - Daisy.

Q. What do you think of adults?
A. Adults are good. But they don't let you do somethings. Like sleeping late. Making a mess. Not doing homework.

Q. What do you think of yourself?
A. I think I'm perfect. Being me. Even on my shirt its written.

Q. What are you god at?
A. Maybe dance. Or singing. Maybe drawing.

Q. Are you funny?
A. Yes.

Q. If God gave you three boons what would you ask?
A. That no one is not happy. I don't want to see people cry.
Fly - like I have wings
I want a fourth boon - that's my third wish.
Big house

Q. What will you do in your big house?
A.Sleep in the ac bedroom. Get up late.

Q. How long will you sleep?
A. Till someone wakes me up.

Q. Then?
A. Breakfast.

Q. What work would you like to do?
A. Archaeology. I will go and get a Nobel Prize.

Q. What do you think of the world?
A. Happy place. Good. Exciting.

Q. What about the bad things?
A. Not good. Not exciting.

Q. What should children do?
A. Have fun? Play. When they become old they cannot play. Also study.

Q. Why study?
A. I'll be smart. I can speak to other people.

Q. Who do you want to meet?
A. Shraddha Kapoor. My favorite. I want to become like her.

Q. What will you do when you meet her?
A. That I'll think that time.

Q. Do you think there's god?
A. Yes.

Q. Why?
A. What do I know? Because if god is not there we won't be here na.

Q. What's your favorite game?
A. Any game. Board games.

Q. Who's your favorite sportsman?
A. Djokovich.

Q. Anything else you want to say?
A. Nothing. I've said everything.


The Connection Between Courage, Flexibility and Going With the Flow

Courage is about being flexible enough to change one's position when one sees a new truth and a new possibility.

When one can find the courage to change one's position when needed, one finds that one is in the flow.

Charlie Chaplin - Movie Review

It was fun watching the old Charlie Chaplin with Anjali who has a full throated laughter at things she finds really funny. So there were things that Chaplin did that made me laugh and then watching Anjali's laugh made me laugh again.

How did Chaplin figure out the importance of humour and drama in keeping audiences engaged and involved and while doing that, forget about reality for a while. He uses elaborate gigs, some of which look quite tough to execute, falling, hitting, running - it's a lot of physical action that Charlie puts in. And of course a dash of romance without any unwanted sexual innuendos. Not to mention drama and a political statement of the times he lived in filled with emotion, vulnerability and human frailty and goodness.

These 12 short pieces belong to an era long before his full fledged movies came by. Glad that Satish gifted me this DVD - thanks Doctor Seven. Looking forward to catch City Lights next.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Feedback on Training Sessions - Gap Miners

Every Tuesday evening I go to Gap Miners, my friend Ramaraju's company, to conduct a training session. Ram believes in training like no one else I know - and indulges me with an hour of productive time from his team. I do all I can - book reviews, concepts, movies, TED talks - you name it, we do it. We end the hour with a nice hot samosa and chai from the nearby Balaji Mithai House.

There are times when I wonder what my effort is getting for Ram and his team. My talks are generally centred around the mindset, the approach, the big picture. Sometimes, actual tools and techniques as well but generally big picture and context. I am aware that organisations prefer training that's more useful on the job but someone has to give them the big picture right. So I stick to my approach.

Today, being the last training program for the year, I indulged myself and asked the team to tell me any three things from my sessions that impacted them and they carried to their job. I needed to know if I am making any impact at all.

Siddharth told me that the session on the Mindset (Mindset - Carol Dweck) changed his life (it changed mine too). He told me how he used the concept to start running 10 km, get better from an 80 mts timing to the current 45 mts. How he uses the concepts to get better at his sales job - he's a star performer who thinks through and works carefully building up momentum - so there is something to it. He told me that relationship building was another thing he learned from the sessions, how he learned to listen and be patient and how it helped get many orders.

Tej has attended many training programs and he has the mindset and work ethic of a winner. He said the three important things he learned from the sessions are to-do-lists, doing the top 6 everyday in the order of importance (the Bethlehem Steels story) and Ownership with a capital O.

Venkat is a new recruit but he picked up the right things. He said he understood what 100% responsibility means and how important it was to close all loops to get the job done. He said he analysed offers and tried to better the same (John Girard, greatest salesman in the world) - thanks to Siddharth pushing him to get better value from the offers instead of blindly taking them as they come.

Kamesh said he loved the session on financial planning for individuals (from the Richest Man on Babylon), the Stockdale paradox (Good to Great) and the Mindset (Carol Dweck)

Raju said he found the To-Do list very helpful, the 80-20 rule (Pareto's principle) and that he learned much from the culture setting meetings about professionalism. Tej stepped in an spoke for Raju and said Raju had improved his communications skills by leaps and bounds and was serious about his growth as a professional and an individual.

Ravi, who has come back into the company after a brief hiatus said he found the sessions on believing in oneself, the ones on goal setting and planning to achieve the goal highly impactful. he said he uses those techniques everywhere.

Dayakar said he became more  punctual and has taken up more responsibility at work.

Sharmila said the session on leadership, about the quality and quantity of work and delivering work on time impacted her. In other words, ownership for work.

Santosh Baba said that he understood the word responsibility in its true meaning, the to-do lists and mostly from the session on Secret (Rhonda Byrne). He said he was deeply impacted by the process of Ask, Believe and Receive. He said he would earlier only believe but now he understood that to ask is 50%, to believe it 40% and to receive is 10% of the process.

Harsha said he understood concepts of ownership, quality of work and completing work on time. He also said that the session on financial planning really helped and told us how he put away money after that and saved every month. Fantastic.

Pavan said he remembered leadership qualities, patience and improved his communication skills.

Aravind said he has become a much better professional thanks to the experience here and he was increasing his skill set and area of responsibility. He was now planning to buy a bike and then a car. He said the session on financial planning helped to plan ahead.

Siva said he learned about patience and being punctual.

Overall glad that they got most of the important concepts. I am happy they could pick the concepts clearly and tell me how they applied it in life or at work. That's very encouraging.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 - A Year in Books

49 books. Down from 53 last year.

1) Gung Ho - Ken Blanchard
2) High Five - Ken Blanchard
3) Good Strategy, Bad Strategy - Richard Rumelt
4) Mrs. Funny Bones - Twinkle Khanna
5) The Atheist's Mask - Honores de Balzac
6) The Gate of Hundred Sorrows - Rudyard Kipling
7) The Fall of Icarus - Ovid
8) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
9) Sindbad the Sailor
10) Serious Men - Manu Joseph
11) Everyone Loves a Good Drought - P. Sainath
12) Tell tale heart - Edgar Allen Poe
13) A Clutch of Indian Masterpieces
14) Women and Men in My Life - Khushwant Singh
15) How We Weep and Laugh at the Same Thing - Michel de Montagne
16) Tao of Motivation - Max Landsberg
17) Tomorrow- Joseph Conrad
18) The Game Changers - Kiran Kumar
19) The Great Winglebury Duel - Charles Dickens
20) Plato - A Graphic Novel
21) Pyre- Perumal Murugan
22) Dhammapada
23) Kim - Rudyard Kipling
24) 100 Simple Secrets of Happy Families - David Niven
25) Eye of the Needle - Ken Follett
26) Chain of Custody - Anita Nair
27) Emma - Jane Austen
28) From Man to Maneater  Sumanth
29) The Decision Book - Mikhael Kogerus
30) Hindutva or Hind Swaraj - U.R. Anantamurthy
31) My Father Balaiah - Y.B. Satyanarayana
32) I Never Danced at the Whitehouse - Art Buchwald
33) Good to Great - Jim Collins
34) The World of Hrishikesh Mukherjee - Jai Arjun Singh
35) Matilda - Roald Dahl
36) An Exile - Madison James
37) Story - Robert McKee
38) One Part Woman - Perumal Murugan
39) Work Rules - Laszlo Block
40) Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhyss
41) Driven - Virat Kohli
42) The Autobiography of Malcolm X - Alex Haley
43) Triggers - Marshall Goldsmith
44) Adultery - Paulo Coelho
45) Chicken Soup for the Soul - Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen
46) Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler
47) Humour in Cricket - Capt. Manohar Sharma
48) So, You Think You're Clever - John Farndon
49) Jest in Time - Ajit Ninan, Jug Suraiya, Neelabh Banerjee

Story' and 'Good to Great' were exceptional reads. 'My Father Balaiah', 'Pyre', 'Everyone Loves a Good Drought', 'Work Rules' stood out. Classics like 'Wide Sargasso Sea', 'Tom Sawyer', 'Kim', 'Emma' were good to read. Knocked off 'Mein Kampf', 'Malcolm X' off the must-read list. 'The World of Hrishikesh Mukherjee' and 'Driven' were two interesting stories of interesting people. Two books by debut writers - 'The Game Changers' and 'From Man to Maneater' by Kiran and Sumanth were interesting.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Anjali - The Overacting School

Mansi stayed over for her first sleepover over the weekend - a kind of a quick return after Anjali did her first sleepover at her house last week. The two friends had great fun, sleeping late on their own, playing, pulling each others legs. It's a time when the mischief in Anjali comes fully to the fore.

At breakfast Anjali was making an elaborate song and dance about eating something. An act specially put on for Mansi in good humour.

I asked Mansi - 'Does she do this at school as well?'
Mansi smiled.
Anjali continued her elaborate production.

'I should send her to an acting school,' I told Mansi. 'In fact I think she can become the Principal of one right now.'
Mansi laughed.

Anjali corrected me after a bite.
'Not an acting school. An overacting school.'

The repartee is sharpening. The kid is growing up.

Friday, December 23, 2016

OUCCBM - 25th Year Reunion on December 17, 2016

Sometime in August, 1989
In August 1989, a group of 60 students joined the Osmania University College of Commerce and Business Management (OUCCBM) with all sorts of motives and objectives.
Roll Call - Not all 60 present (courtesy Shrini)
The OUCCBM had recently moved from being one of the many departments in the majestic Arts College building on the Osmania University campus, to a separate building created next to the Law College.
New Beginnings - OUCCBM in 1990-91 (Pic Sunnie)
With a new identity and fresh ideas, the OUCCBM burst with energy. The MBA, as a professional course, was catching on those days. Everyone thought the MBA was the route to corporate success (money) and other accompaniments like pin striped suits, flights, cars, money and the good life (not to mention good looking women secretaries etc) which was in sharp contrast to the dowdy government job as an option. (All who had the US option had left or were packing to leave.)
Pretty much all of us 25 years ago
Not many of us knew what business was (except a couple) nor about management, but we hoped to get it right in two years, if not master it. I did not want a Civil Engineering job. The MBA offered me a lifeline, an escape. I thought I could join the corporate world and end up with a life like they show in the ads - a car, house, wife, kids, dog. Somehow I thought that life would pan out that way. I decided to put my heart and soul into this course - something I had not done ever - hoping that all the rest would follow.
The whole lot
The Osmania University campus had been home to me for the past four years. During that period I studied Civil Engineering and played first class cricket apart form doing many things that need not be mentioned here. From my Engineering College class, Sanjay and I joined the class of OUCCBM 91 together.

At the OUCCBM we discovered familiar faces. Sridhar Neelam (now Commissioner Customs, Pune, then keen cricketer and philosopher), was my batch mate from OUCE, from EEE. I met Shobha,  introduced to me by Rithu, my junior from the Engineering College who instructed me to take care of her and I have been dutifully doing so ever since (I hope Rithu is listening). I knew Vijay, who played cricket along with me since school days, me representing All Saints and he, Little Flower.

Others from OUCE included Pankaj, Ramana, Arvind, Nishikant and Esther - I knew them all well. Over time I came to know the rest - Sunnie, Bijju, Ramanand, Satish, PV, Sudheer, Sudhir, Sudha, Vinay Soni, Sharath, Vijay Lakshmi, Visa, Hema, Saritha, Annie, Chandra, Kashinath, Sreeramulu, Vinod, Radhakrishna, Radhakishan, Madhu, Ravinder, Sridhar, Devender, Pragati, Prasanna, Ramesh, Venkateshwarlu, Veeraprakash, Venkataswamy, Venkataramana, and the others. Some abandoned ship midway but the rest of us continued till the two years made something of us.

Prof Govardhan Reddy was the Head of the Department, an imposing figure with a deep voice and a strict demeanour. He meant well  and was a good sport. He was assisted by a worthy lot of Professors - CS Shyamsunder, Trivikram, Balaji, Hanumantha Rao, Narendranath Menon, Maruthi Ram, Madhusudhan Rao, Shekhar and others. Our academics were in safe hands. It was up to us to make the most of it.
Intense stuff - PV holding fort
Apart from the sports room and the dingy bars on the outskirts of the campus, the insufferable Liaquat, puny and whiney, provided entertainment and refreshments by establishing a small tea stall - a prescribed 100 yard distance from the college. He stood on the hillock like Samba guarding Gabbar's hideout. His main aim in life was to violate the 100 m line of control and get closer to his market but he was kept in check by the watchful BGR.
Last day at NAARM
CSS's class would begin as early as 830 in the morning which was a fine time to start classes. Daily routines included attending classes and staggering off to Liaquat's territory at first break like addicts. From the tea stall many vanished without a backward glance while others returned to class. Lunch was at Arts College canteen or in homemade dabbas, a visit to the library and sleep (or read), or go off to a movie. Sometimes we indulged in co curricular activities. Once in a while there were exams.
Shobha lecturing away

Apart from poisoning ourselves in small doses over Liaquat’s tea and  bribing Akbar to let us drink on the terrace we protested against the management's decision to unilaterally stipulate a Rs. 300 charges for computer use. We indulged in some activism, and we all came to an early compromise at 150 in the interests of the nation.
Cultural festival - Concept 90 (our senior batch did this)
We organised a cultural festival.  We reached the finals of the Inter collegiate tournament which was a first for our college. We did some pre placement activity and were surprised that one very interesting gentleman from JL Morrison came to our college. We organised an inhouse presentations series on business to help our growth, wrote newsletters. We released a copy of the Memories which we find is invaluable today to identify our colleagues and ourselves.

We wasted a lot of time.
Shobha (partly), Satish, PV, Bijju, Me and Pankaj
Some of my memories of those days are - Sunnie arriving on his TVS clad in a longish raincoat looking like a Scotland Yard detective. Satish and PV gravitating towards each other like long lost souls and engaging in drinking and singing binges. Satish shouting expletives loudly and corrupting low flying innocent birds which fell off the skies in shock, Esther dazzling us with her American accent that reached her before she reached America. Sharath and his intense ways. Bijju, Ramana, Arvind, Saritha, Hema conspiring over lunch, Hema's focus and dedication to the course. Saritha's easy humour and grace. Shobha, Sanjay, Sudheer, Sudhir and company at tea - they were a more civilised lot, the A section people.
The A Section - A Civilised Lot
Top - Prasanna, Sudha Swaroop, Ravinder, Madhu
2nd row: Krishna, Sharath, Vijay, Veeraprakash, Vishwa, Venkateshwarlu, Radhakrsihna, K Shastry
3rd row: Sudhir, Sudheer, Shrini, Sanjay, Chary, Radhakishan V
Upfront: Shobha, Vijayalakshmi, Aravind, Ramesh
Vinay Soni slamming the sports room door and catching Shobha's head in what could have been the first murder at OUCCBM. Pankaj dragging us all to some small bootlegging like unit to bring back bottles of Julep. Bijju gracefully letting the crucial boundary go under his legs and walking off nonchalantly. Sunnie's terrific return catch off Vernon Paul and his fabulous last over against Engineering college. Winning the tennis ball tournament in the Engineering college. Listening to Vijay belt out Dil Dekhe Dekho and his Whateethere. PV's stylish TT play.
Vijaylakshmi's chicken and rice. Daddu's elegant speeches as Master of Ceremonies - 'Yesterday was a vision, tomorrow a dream.'. Sudha Swaroop's intense philosophy about karelas and cigarettes. Dev's rendition of Aashiqui songs - Nazar ke saamne comes to mind. Sridhar, for some reason picking up the title of Drrr. Ramanand's irrepressible energy that was hard to contain, both in class and on the cricket field. Shrini's nickname of Chandni in spite of his volatile ways. Ramana's incessant jokes. Some philosophical discussions with Sridhar N. Annie's mysterious entries and exits and her wholehearted laugh. Shobha and I bumping into Prof. Arvind Korba at Skyline while we watched a movie festival - he was an avid fan too. Arvind studying his chess and carroms with great concentration - and humour. PV's great love for rock music and his perfect score at OR. Sreeramulu's solo performance at NAARM. Venkateshwarlu officiating a volley ball game with an iron fist. Venkataswamy's carefree gait. Vinay Soni's voice booming along the corridors. Vishwa's TT games.

So many more.
Heading off to NAARM from OUCCBM
There was this unforgettable 3 day residential outing at NAARM, Rajendranagar at the very end of our course. Presumably by then the college management discovered that we lacked employable skills or even plain survival skills. Credit to the management for the pre placement course or whatever they called it  – which opened many unexplored areas and ideas for us. It was lovely to have the three musketeers BTV, Balaji and HR show us many tricks that we could use later.
Activities at NAARM
The topics dealt were - an intense look at ourselves first, at the people around us, perceptions, communication, sales and negotiation, public speaking and so on. Late night walks, bonfires, early morning chais. The unforgettable sight of BTV in his track suit remains etched in our memory. My big takeaway from that outing – play on your strengths and not your weaknesses. HR reminded me of another exercise the other day - of writing our epitaph on our tombstone. Wonder what I wrote.
Sunnie meditating - default state
While in OUCCBM we won the Inter varsity tournament after a gap of ten years under Vijay's captaincy - a campaign I can never forget. I learned the art of winning, tasted the sweet taste of a well fought and planned victory. Just before the Inter varsity cricket tournament I hit a purple patch - I got a job in the Bharath Petroleum which was as good a job as you can get.

The placement activity brought jobs to Sunnie, Ramanand, Visa (PCL), Sudha, Ramana (BPL), Satish, Pankaj (Signode), Shobha, Saritha (Gandhi Consultants), Shrini, Sudheer and Sanjay (Onida). The rest found jobs on their own or found something else to do.

There was a farewell party for us on the first floor - a fine affair. We were told to come in formals and ties and we did. Satish Singh landed up in jeans and chappals, smiling sweetly like an angel with a mouthful of the chicest Hyderabad gaalis.

If we all thought we'd become CEOs after that (actually PV did become one) we did not. But none of us have ended up in jails either – as far as I know. Some of us used time and energy wisely while some (like me) showed suicidal tendencies in chucking everything up and picking up careers not trained for. But we survived. I wonder if the college had greater expectations of us. If it did, it never showed.

Most of us made it through these 25 years.

Two much loved friends Sharath and Vijayalakshmi left us a tad early. Both succumbed to ill health - Sharath battled diabetes and kidney issues heroically for two decades with amazing grace and the sweet and beautiful Vijayalakshmi to cancer. But they lived well and left us with fine memories and indelible impressions of being fabulous souls. We carry a part of them within us. 

During the two year stint at this college I found a process, and revisited the basics of hard work, of being honest, of backing your strengths and standing your ground. In retrospect this gave me much of the courage to take some of the decisions I did. I somehow knew I could back myself to get out of a hole.

After the farewell party we left on our own directions. Thankfully some of us stayed in touch - Sunnie, Shobha, Bijju, Pankaj, Satish, Shrini, Ramana, Vijay, Sanjay, Sudheer, Sharath, Visa are those I remember.  

25 years later - OUCCBM Class of 91 Reunion on December 17, 2016
In October 2016, the idea of a silver jubilee meeting germinated. Pankaj proposed the idea.
Roll Call
A Whatsapp group was started. enthusiastic supporters roped in. We met at Minerva Coffee Shop. I attended with Sudheer, Ramana, Bijju and Pankaj. The verdict was Yes - but with subtext.
Bizz, Bond, Pankaj, Shobhs, Me, Visa, Shrini, Satish, Sudheer, Vinod, Chandra, Ravinder
Sreeramulu, Vijay, Vijay T, Sunnie, Nishikant, 
One thing led to another and we finally got about 21 of us to attend the function on the 17th December. Radhakishan is missing in this iconic picture with the Vice Chancellor of Osmania University, Professor Ramchandram. He arrived late.

The 21 - and what they are up to now

Sunnie (Shankar Narayan), Atlanta, US - Philosopher, martial arts expert, cycling champ, thinker, writer, Super Dad, great sport
Visa (Visalakshi), California - Adventurer, traveller and global citizen,
Vijay T, Bahrain - Chief Risk Officer, Banking

Radhakishan Vootla, Nebraska, Omaha - Principal Engineer, Union Pacific Railroad


Madhu Shakelli, New Jersey - Software

Satish Singh, Owner - Tetrahedron Consulting, Dubai - Marketing research firm Tetrahedron Consulting
Sridhar Pulei, Chennai - Senior Manager, Highway Retailing, HPCL
Ravinder, Solapur - Senior Regional Manager Sales HPCL

Hyderabad

Shobha Nargundkar- Hypnotherapist, Radical Forgiveness coach, Counsellor

Nishikanth - Senior Engineer, ONGC
SV Ramana (Bond/Mirchi bajji) - Superintendent, Central Excise, Hyderabad
Bharadwaj (Bijju) - AGM, HDFC, Hyderabad
Pankaj - Boss, Nirmal Enterprises, Hyderabad
Prof. Sreeramulu - OUCCBM, Osmania University
Vijay (Malli) - Superintendent Central Excise, Hyderabad

 Chandra - Senior Manager Finance, BDL
Shrinivas A (Shrini) - Global Head, HR Shared Services
Sudheer- GM, Sales, SAARC Region, Great Sports Infra
Vishwa Prasad - Owner Software Company
Vinod - Superintendent, Central Excise,
Harimohan P - Writer, CEO Coach. Speaker, Full time escapist


Those who could/did not make it:
Anil Kumar - Not traced
Arvind Kumar, Hyderabad - Software
Annie, US - Homemaker
Dev, Delhi - Big shot in the Railways
Hema, Sydney - Homemaker
Kashinath, Maryland, USA - SAP Practitioner
Koteshwara Shasstri - Not traced
Krishna - Not traced
Narasimhachary - Not traced
PV, NY, USA - CEO, Open Source Solutions
Pragathi, Hyderabad - SBI
Prasanna Kumar - Not traced
Radhakrishna, Hyderabad - Professor, Marketing Management, NMIMS
Ramanand, Dubai -
Ramesh, Belfast, Ireland - Software
Sanjay, Hyderabad - Own business
Sarita, Hospet - Homemaker
Sridhar N, Pune - Commissioner, Service Tax
Sudha Swaroop, Cochin - Indianoil
Sudhir K, Hyderabad - Director, Learning and OD. GVK Bio
Venkateshwarlu, US
Venkataramana- Not traced
Venkataswamy, US
Vinay Soni, Nizamabad - Own business
(to the best of my knowledge which is not much - please correct me if I got it wrong)

D Day - December 17, 2016
On D Day Shobha, Sunnie and I went together at 1130. Nishikanth was there and so were Shrini and Ramana, Bijju came in next. Visa. Pankaj, a while later. Sudheer, Ravinder, Sridhar, Vinod, Vijay T, Chandra came in. Sreeramulu was busy organising many surprises for us, Satish came. Vijay came with the t shirts while we were at the chai joint.
Welcome to the jungle
Radhakishan said he would join us late. Sridhar Pulei came. Vishwa. We wore the reunion t shirts, changing into them right there (the more shameless ones among us) near the chai shop, sipped chai like in the old days (Liaquat is long dead, some smooth talking usurper has taken his place), took pictures and ended up inside the hall.
Old criminals
Shrini prepared a lovely AV of our old days with pictures etc and a power point that had the old Memories and the new reality - 25 years down. Most of our colleagues could be tracked down.

Shrini's AV and the Star Wars ppt were the highlights of the morning pretty much just as his energetic compering of the show was.
Registration
Favorite Prof HR
Intense discussions - I am not paying!
HR again - hasn't aged a bit
Vijay's found something interesting
Bizz and Visa find something funny at Najma's expense
Wishing Prof. Shekhar, Principa, OUCCBM
Shrini, MC par excellence, getting the show going

Chandra, Sreeramulu, Sridhar Pulei, Vinod walking in style
The students of the present day batch put up a show for us - music, dance. Our Professors were low in attendance - Shekhar, Hanumantha Rao, AVS, Narendranath Menon, Chandrika were present.
Guard of honor
Shrini and Sreeramulu got the show off to a rousing start.
Lamp lighting.
The Vice Chancellor Prof S. Ramachandram graced the occasion which was a pleasant surprise.
Meeting the Vice Chancellor Mr. Ramachandram
Pankaj spoke,
Pankaj holding forth
I spoke. On relevant themes - Cruelty and Survival,
Najma being felicitated by Satish - with too much gratitude for someone who never visited the library
HR being felicitated by Sridhar


Narendranath Menon in his inimitable style
Prof Narendranath Menon spoke in his inimitable manner and HR spoke warmly of the occasion.
HR speaking 

Vice Chancellor Mr. Ramchandram speaking
Chandrika madam told me happily that her son was a huge fan of Golconda High School. The felicitation program for the Professors got underway.
Giving Ms. Chandrika a copy of 'The Men Within'
I gifted the Profs a copy of my earlier books. One copy for the library to Najma, who used to be 25 years younger then (we were too).
Some more pictures and we went out to have a fine lunch. Most of us went inside the college once again to see the classrooms, the sports rooms. Finally it was time to say bye to the college and head to Leonia resort.

At Leonia Resort
At Leonia we checked into the place, ate some snacks and tea, checked into our rooms and came in to the designated hall by 730 dressed in our party clothes.
Vijay, Sreeramulu and Sunnie at Leonia
There was a karaoke singer Richard, who sang well. fine drink and great company to catch up on.
Chandra, Me, Nishi, Ravinder and Sudheer
We hopped table to table, checking old pals and catching up. Chandra stole up to the mike and started singing.
Me, Vijay, Satish, Bijju and Sudheer
Then the usual suspects sang. I sang a song (I'd sung 'Aise na majhe tum dekho' at NAARM 25 years ago and sang the same one again).
Me singing helped along by the fabulously talented Richard
Satish sang one (he also sang the same song he had sung then 'Nadiya se Dariya').
Chandra singing
Sridhar sang beautifully (Hansini). Sudheeer did too. Biju and Visa also did. But Radhakishan stole the show with his thunderous renditions of Telugu, Hindi and even a Tamil song. Fantastic.
The singing sensation - Radhakishan Vootla belting em out
Selfie time - Bijju and Pankaj
Radha told me he could sing 200 songs off hand, that he had sung in a band and had learned the rudiments of classical singing from his father. We clapped and clapped. The party went on and on.
A sombre moment for Visa, Shobha and Sunnie - probably watching me singing  
At some point every one danced as as expected - thankfully I was away while this activity was going - and returned when it was almost done. Nishikanth was  revelation on the floor with his nifty moves, Vijay did an obscene number,
Sreeramulu, Radha, Sridhar and Vinod
Ramana shook a few body parts, some fat and flubber was in action on other bodies, and everyone shook a leg - almost. Satish seized the mike and started off with his old and familiar expletives - an act that seemed to have settled him - he was unusually quiet all morning with a cough.
Vijay and Radha
After addressing us all fondly with his choicest gaalis, he proceeded to sing a couple of songs, completing them heroically even though his voice was giving up and cough was interrupting his singing.But just the effort was beautiful. He is not the sort to give up.

By now the spirits were high.

For a full two hours or more after that, Vijay held centre stage and made us all laugh and laugh and laugh. We finally ended the party at 2 in the morning after a nice cup of coffee. By the time we hit the sack it was 3. My roomie was Vijay and he slept off in a jiffy after we discussed some selection related incidents which are always good to make you go comatose.
Breakfast in Leonia - Bijju, Satish, Pankaj, Me and Sunnie
In the morning we went for a walk - Pankaj, Sunnie, Biju, Ramana, me and Vijay - and later joined the others for breakfast. A couple of our pals had to leave early - Sreeramulu had to organise viva voce for 1000 students that day so he had to go. The rest of us were to congregate in one of the rooms for some beer before lunch. Meanwhile Shobha, Vijay and I snuck out and played a few games of table tennis where I found I was hopelessly short of reflexes.
Sridhar, Vijay, Visa, Ravinder, Shobha, Nishi, Vishwa, Vinod and Radha
As we sat with our beers, some 17 of us, the question - 'What was the best thing that happened to you in the past 25 ears after college?' was asked. Interestingly many of us spoke of the birth of our children as the best thing that happened in all 25 years - in fact the first 5 or 6 certainly - sons, daughters. S spoke about how he learned a lot from his sons and how he would one day write a book on all that they had taught him, I confessed that Anjali was the best thing that happened to me, P said his building up his business, being elected President of Round table, securing the Secunderabad Club membership were big, B said the joy of a daughter was his highlight and how she has him wrapped around her finger, V said the birth of his children was by far the best moment of his 25 years yet.
Roll call
And then, SD said he survived a near death incident and almost drowned last year and he was thankful to be alive. The mood got considerably intense from then on.
Morning walkers - Ravinder, Nishi, Vijay, Radha, Vishwa, Vinod, Sridhar 
N spoke honestly about overcoming a deep fear psychosis of heights, closed spaces, while working in a dangerous job and told a beautiful tale honestly and bravely. SP spoke of a horrific car accident he survived when his car flew off the highway and landed in a pond and he somehow survived that. M recalled how he tried to run away from muggers and was hit by  a car as he ran - a horrific scene witnessed by his one year old from the window, SK spoke nonchalantly about the horrific incident when his nursery going daughter was attacked by a knife wielding assailant. VT spoke of how he struggled to come to terms with his success. VP spoke about his tough time in being away from his family when he went to the US - he missed his little child mostly, VJ spoke about her children. Shobha spoke about how I was the biggest thing that happened in her life and and I chuffed to hear that - Wow. R spoke of how he understood money was not everything and how he realised there was more to life. SA spoke about his childhood when he felt no one took him seriously and how he got back with a vengeance for that with aggression and took the corporate ladder by storm, V who spoke of how he had a quiet life with little drama but how the ill health of his young daughter caused deep worry.

It was a surprisingly frank, deep and intense two hours where everyone pushed honesty to the edge of the line, showed how vulnerable they could be, shared life in all its glorious colours and uncertainties so easily. We listened, awestruck at the experiences our friends and colleagues had gone through, at their courage and their honesty, glad that they did find the strength to survive enemies on the inside and the outside. There were times when we could not handle the intensity and spoke garrulously, nervously, times when we listened with dropped jaws, times when we could hear a pin drop.
Shrini arrives - good sport
If there was one thing we understood, it was that there is something in life that balances out one thing or another and beneath the seemingly quiet surface there lies an explosive story in all us. And what stories - and how well told. If Nishikant had us with his terrific story telling, Ramana kept us spell bound in a silence that's rarely experienced in such a raucous group. For two hours the room rang true and honest and somehow connected us deeper than we could have imagined, When the spell broke, emotion, intensity, fun and leg pulling included, it was pretty simply the highlight of the two days for me. Superb stuff. We could have gone on for the rest of the day.

In retrospect, that room was like a secure womb, and took us back to a period in time and space in our lives that felt so secure. Life today, is not, as we deal with the uncertainty of what the final lap will unveil for all our efforts. But for that special space to come out the way it did in those to hours was beautiful. It was great to hold hands, and feel the support.

I carry new memories of my mates.
Bijju still brings the calming presence as always, and you know that things will be taken care of when he is around, keeping the peace with his wisecracks and good humour, holding the fort with his long reach and impeccable personal equations with everyone. The twinkle never left his eye. Will always be a pleasure to know him and to count him on your group of friends.
Chandra doing a great job in BDL and enjoying himself with the mike while cracking many jokes in the sidelines, Eyes that were assured and confident. I was very impressed with what he had done with his career and his energy, his singing.
Madhu, in his elegant, diffident and measured manner, almost like he was trying to come to grips with this whole affair, with life. Eyes that were kind, wondrous. A seeker, a student of life and someone who has far more to him than he reveals one feels.
Nishi and his enthusiasm, his superb dancing but mostly his sharing of his story will always remain, his eyes honest, searching and open. I wold love to talk to him about his journey some more. Again a warmth that precedes his presence, lovely soul, probably the bravest of all.
Pankaj who ensured a good time was had by all - showed tremendous organising ability in bringing it all together and pulling it of despite little support - the Karaoke, booze, place and everything else - determined to have a good time and to make sure everyone else does too. 
Radha's singing cannot be forgotten ever and he tore the stage up, but there's that brooding light in his soul which I am sure he will wash away soon with his songs. Again a deep, intense persona and he simply expressed himself in a manner that was as much a revelation to us as an assurance to him. Keep that part going Radha. And thank you for a great time. I am now listening to that Tamil song you sang.
Ramana for baring his soul and sharing his innermost thoughts and vulnerabilities and trusting us with it, for finding his own truth and being comfortable with it. Again, a contentment of having made his peace shone in his eyes. He always walked to his own beat, still does and I love him for that. 
Ravinder, self assured, enthusiastic, smiling and mingling easily, came all the way from Solapur. He seemed to have made peace with the journey too. Again, impressed with his clarity -'I am coming' - he announced and there he was.
Satish, mellowed down but only by the slightest bit - by the years, his girth and experience surely - but hosts as fiery a soul as ever, with a kindlier light in his eyes this time. He seemed tinged with an awareness, wondering it seems, at how life eludes prediction.
Sunnie intrigued, observant and participative, swinging the narrative this way to that, again a quizzical look in his eyes at how life has unfolded and continues to perhaps, always the student. A look of having aged faster than he should have, he is the youngest of the lot, a look that makes him in some way more mysterious, like he knows more than he reveals, which he does.
Shobha, mellowed down too from that uncontrollable, energetic girl she was then, with the sharpest wit that just left the best in the business searching for a reply, a bemused look at the goings on, softened by life's vicissitudes. Again, one of those students, who stepped off the treadmill.
Shrini, professional to the core, delivered his show without a hitch before going off to the hospital - where Aparna was admitted - and I was so impressed with that. Superb presentation. That childlike enthusiasm, eagerness and competitiveness comes across in his eyes as much as it did then. Again, one of those you can rely on. If he says yes, its done. Not many do.
Sridhar Pulei, self assured, at ease with himself and the world, a kinder look in his eyes, revealing a sense of adventure in everything whether driving from Chandigarh to Chennai or eating gulab jamun with curds. Interesting is the word. He is the kind of a person who will surprise you I am sure - such is his groundedness, awareness and curiosity.
Sreeramulu and his focussed eyes and measured methods at putting the college first, its amazing what he did with his career, If there was an award for the most growth in the face of limitations he'd win it hands down in my book. What impressed me most was the way he handled the college front, taking the function to a new level all by himself - involving students, rangoli, dance, music, the big coup of inviting the Vice Chancellor, press, pictures, Professors. Keep an eye on him - he will go far.
Sudheer, again looking at peace with himself, calm and smiling as always, knows himself well. His eyes reflect an understanding of the world as it is. Again someone who did wonders with his career, always upping the game when he wants. Someone who is very grounded, knows exactly what he wants and how to get it. Those smiling eyes remain.
Vijay (Malli) for his fabulous two hour spell when he kept us laughing non stop, being almost exactly as he was then, mischief in his eyes, spring in his step. He loves a good time, is dependable, fills in the empty spaces so easily without anyone noticing and pushes the bus forward. Straightforward, forthright and paces himself beautifully, stepping up and down as the situation warrants. Incredible sensitivity. Again brings far more to the table than he shows - wonderful to have him on your side.
Vijay, coming down from Bahrain just for the reunion. Well done Vijay. Eyes that show a vulnerability easily, which needs courage. Again I felt there was so much that Vijay could have shared if we had more time. He was just getting started with some honest and powerful insights. Again someone who knows, not someone who indulges in mere talk.
Vinod who has changed little, with a trust in his eye, a confidence in his manner. Eyes that are open, present. An intelligent mind, sensitive and happy to be in his space.
Vishwa, quiet, with a quiet sadness in his eyes which I hope will go away soon, simply because he's such a fine guy. A sensitive soul, deep and intense - we sat for long at Sharath's funeral - and he told me how he remembered the time he spent with Sharath after the MBA days. Deeply loyal, good solid stuff. Glad you came V.
Visa, fiesty as ever and engaging in verbal duels with Satish as always. never one to back down now speak her mind. And most importantly, enjoys the moment. Time seemed to have stood still as far as Visa is concerned. Eyes that are confident, kind, that know their place in the world.
(An observation - only the last page in Memories made it fully - Vinod, Visa and Vishwa - good for you guys).

Annie was with all of us throughout with constant updates on Whatsapp.

That is the deal as I know it, understand it.

It was an intense experience that woke me up - not just for memories and fun - but for the insights, the intensity and honesty. Something deeper. Interesting. Someone proposed, maybe we could meet again in 5 years again. meanwhile we could stay connected. Vijay (Bahrain) has already connected with me on Linkedin and Facebook and I'd like to do the same with the rest.

I wonder how it would have been if all the others had come. It would have been a riot!

In the end, it's a lonely journey. But its easier to have someone who has no agenda to hold hands, to feel supported. For enabling just that, this reunion was a brilliant initiative. Well done all - and hoping to see you all share your thoughts in the comments.