It was a journey down the memory lane for generations of ex-Cottonians living in the Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) comprising NOIDA, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad when alumni from 67 batches gathered in the heart of New Delhi on Sunday to recollect their golden memories of Cotton College and do some brainstorming on how they can give back something to their alma mater.
The alumni of Cotton College in the national capital had last met in 1999, just as the college was preparing to celebrate its centenary in 2001, but somehow after that they had never managed to gather together again.
But this year, thanks to the initiative taken by Delhi-based Cottonians mainly; Manoj Kr Das (jr), Mridul Bhuyan, Utpal barpujari, Bhargav Bhushan Bhuyan, Debanga Pallav Saikia, Subimal Bhattacharya, Kaushik Deka, Lachit Das, Bhagyajeet Bhuyan, Madhur Kankana Roy and Indrajit Das, who was the General secretary of the Cotton College Union Society in 1999, the ex-Cottonians came together in large number to meet, make merry and talk about their memories of days spent at the college at the Central Civil Secretariat Sports Ground at Chanakyapuri in the heart of Delhi.
The most touching moment for all those gathered for the occasion was the presence of 84-year-old Dr K P Chakravarty who had passed his Intermediate Science in 1947 just before Independence. With the energy that would put to shame many youngsters of today he mingled with juniors who were born even over half a century after he had passed out of Cotton College.
Dr Chakravarty, as also other senior alumni who had gathered, were felicited on the occasion. Among them were Supreme Court Judge Justice Dr Mukuda Kam Sharma, AIIMS Director Dr R C Deka, noted economist Dr Jayanta Madhab, artist Col (retd) J. N Hazarika, retired civil servant and singer Chida Das, N N Gogoi, Binay Brata Sarma, Reena Sarma, Malaya Khaund, veteran All India Radio newsreaders Lily Das Malik and Guna Baruah, and veteran journalist Nitish Chakravarty.
The daylong programme was kicked off by hoisting flag of the Cottonian Alumni Association of NCR/ Delhi by Justice Sharma and other senior-most Cottonians, followed by the singing of Assam’s national song “O Mor Aponar Dex”.
A chorus composed by Sarat Barkakati and set to music by his daughter Murchona was sung by a group of alumni setting the pace of the event, which was followed by an inaugural speech by Justice Sharma.
On behalf of the organizers of the event, alumni Manoj Kumar Das said from now onwards the event would be a regular, annual affair. “A formal structure would be given to the alumni association soon so that it can formally take up various activities for the benefit of our alma mater,” he said. Names of several alumni members who opened their purse strings to make the event a grand success were also announced to great appreciation.
A medley of cultural performances livened up the proceedings, which were made livelier by the host of the ceremony Siddhanta Mangal Kashyap. Nostalgia descended on the venue as many senior alumni shared their memories of days spent at the college and how that had shaped them as professionals and human beings.
Among the cultural performers were a Sattriya performance by Mridusmita Das, a student of Lady Sri Ram College, a chorus composed by Nava Kanta Barooah and sung by a group comprising Mayarani Majinder Baruah, Chida Das, Devanga Pallav Saikia and others.
A traditional Assamese gourmet lunch was a hit among all tired souls who participated in fun events like a game of football and two rounds tug-of-war – one with mixed participation and one exclusively for the fair sex among the alumni.
A heavy and unexpected downpour cut short the last few minutes of the formal programme in the afternoon but the younger one utilized the opportunity to have a round of Bihu dance under the rains for over an hour!
The first-ever meeting of the Cotton College Alumni in the National Capital thus left a sweet taste in the minds of all and they vowed to come together again with more people and larger programmes and take the level of relationship and bondage to next level by connecting with the family members of alumni.