Snowversary !

The flight that got me to London for a year-long stay there in September 2008 from Mumbai was a historic flight. It was one of the first 10 flights to land in the (then) new Terminal 5 of London’s Heathrow International Airport. Once we had cleared immigration, we found a welcoming committee who were there to well, welcome the passengers, and answer any questions that we may have. So when one of the committee members beamed at me and asked if he could help me with any questions that I may have, I asked him very earnestly:

Do you think it will snow in London this season?

I don’t think the poor guy expected to be asked this question. He gaped at me and stammered out something about the fickle English weather, climate change and global warming in one confusing reply and sent me on my way.

I wasn’t about to give up so easily and in the first few weeks after my arrival, I badgered everyone with this question—from the cab driver who drove me to my hostel from the airport to the cleaning crew in my hostel to the canteen staff to the scholarships advisor to my teachers to the supermarket employees to my classmates to my flatmates to… You get the picture, na?

The reason I was so keen on getting an answer to my question was because I had never experienced snow before and my stay in London offered the best possible opportunity to experience it or so I thought. Since was I impatient to get a definite answer to fulfilling my experience, I didn’t spare anybody. What I didn’t know or understand then was the vagaries of the famous English weather, and that it was quite impossible to give an answer to my “simple” question.

Frost-covered grounds of the Regent's Park on Diwali Day in 2008

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Nostalgia time: The 2011 ISH alumni reunion in Mumbai

I have always wondered about alumni reunions, you know. Particularly since I have never attended one in spite of having studied in 8 schools, one college, and two universities. To be honest, I have never felt the need to as I have been in touch with special friends from school/college/university. Besides, I have found many of my batchmates over the years, courtesy Facebook.

At least that is what I told myself. Whenever I heard people talking about attending read accounts of alumni meets, I always felt a twinge of envy.

I no longer feel that twinge as I finally attended my first alumni reunion the day before yesterday. It was not an alumni reunion of any of the schools/college/universities I have studied in; rather, it was of a place I had stayed in — the International Students House (ISH), London. The alumni reunion is special as ISH is probably the only organisation in the world, outside of an educational institution, to have an alumni association.

When I received the email invite a few weeks back, I instantly went into a rewind mode to the year spent at ISH in London.

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