Lessons from nostalgic meet

Humility, contentment, simplicity and hard work are important values.

Ninety-eight percent of the graduates of IIM bag lucrative jobs in foreign multi-national companies with packages of crores of rupees per annum;’ ‘Eight out of 10 IIT graduates get admitted to prestigious universities of North America and Europe;’  Such reports are common these days.

The few students who do not get into a foreign university or grab a job outside India feel miserable! But after attending the reunion of 22 out of 26 Metallurgy graduates of the 1973 batch of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, recently, I realised how misplaced our values are these days!

“I am very happy to say that all the 26 of us are alive and enjoying reasonably good health today and very proud to say that except a couple of us, all of us have served and some of us are still serving our motherland. We are happy and contented,” said one of them, who opened the meet at the serene campus of IISc, Bangalore. It was a very nostalgic meet, where six Professors, who taught this batch were honoured. A few of the professors are still leading very active lives, contributing their knowledge to the country in various ways.

Most of us have retired from coveted posts in central government organisations or public sector undertakings, while a few of them are running their own industries successfully, employing hundreds of Indians. Many of these graduates have continued their education at IITs and even foreign universities after passing out of IISc. but have come back to India proudly. All of them looked so simple, humble, down-to-earth and unassuming despite their great achievements in various fields. It was a pleasure listening to each one of them recollect their golden past in the IISc and list out their personal achievements during the past forty years in a matter-of-fact manner, as if they were so simple! One of them has risen to become the director of an IIT, while another holds so many patents in the field of space research.  One professor runs a very hi-tech industry, supplying chips for airplanes. However, all of them are grounded. No airs, no artificiality, no halo and definitely no farcical attitude.

“We had never heard of jam until we entered this campus and hence we hogged at the mess, emptying two bottles of jam every meal,” said one, while another said, “most of us were from lower middle class families and did not even own a pair of footwear when we came here.” “I could not converse in English and the atmosphere in this huge campus created a fear in me,” said one. All of them were united in accepting that the professors and the Institute had the greatest role in shaping their successful lives and recollected many golden moments spent in the campus with nostalgia and pride. In fact, some of them are still in touch with the Institute and the Department, contributing their mite in various ways.

This meet reconfirmed my strong view that humility, contentment, simplicity and hard work are very important values that each one of us should possess and pass on to the next generation!

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